Cruelty Free International

Cruelty Free International concerned that number of UK animal experiments set to increase following Brexit

Press release   •   Jul 19, 2018 09:00 BST

Following the release of the Home Office animal testing stats for 2017, Cruelty Free International is concerned that any reduction in the number of animal experiments will be reversed after Brexit.

According to Home Office figures released today, a shocking 3.79 million experiments on animals were completed in the UK during 2017 [1]. Although this represents a decrease of 3.74% from the previous year, the animal protection organisation has highlighted that Brexit could mean an increase in chemical tests on animals, when it could instead be an opportunity to move the country away from animal testing.

Answering questions on the implications of Brexit on the future of chemicals registration at the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee of the UK House of Lords yesterday, Dr Therese Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, admitted that Britain’s departure from the EU could lead to an increase in animal testing for new chemical registrations.

With the UK set to leave the European Union in March 2019, Cruelty Free International is urging the Government to use Brexit as an opportunity to make a real impact in reducing the numbers of animals used in experiments. Rather than duplicate and repeat EU animal tests, the animal protection organisation is calling on the UK Government to strengthen its policies and create meaningful long-lasting change for the millions of animals used in experiments.

Key concerns raised by Cruelty Free International following the release of today’s statistics:

  • In 2017, a total of 3.79 million experiments were completed. Approximately 1.90 million (50%) were related to the 'creation' and breeding of genetically altered animals.
  • Of the severity assessments undertaken for the 1.86 million experiments completed in 2017, a staggering 32% (591,513) were assessed as having caused moderate or severe suffering [2].
  • Experiments completed on horses (10,600) were up 18% on the previous year while experiments completed on cats went up 4% (198 in 2017 compared to 190 in 2016).

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International, says: “Brexit has the potential to be a real opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the UK is committed to making difference for animals by reducing the extent of suffering in our laboratories and replacing animals with modern, humane testing methods. The UK Government needs to step up and use this moment in history as a springboard to step up efforts to stop unnecessary animal experiments. The 2017 Home Office figures show that unfortunately we are still a long way from that.”

ENDS

For more information or quotes, please contact the Cruelty Free International media office; email: media@crueltyfreeinternational.org or telephone: +44 (0) 207 619 6978 or +44 (0) 7590055206.

NOTES

1.The Home Office news release can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-of-scientific-procedures-on-living-animals-great-britain-2017

2. Home Office classification describes moderate experiments as: “Procedures on animals as a result of which the animals are likely to experience short-term moderate pain, suffering or distress or long-lasting mild pain, suffering or distress as well as procedures that are likely to cause moderate impairment of the well-being or general condition of the animals.”

Home Office classification describes severe experiments as: “Procedures on animals as a result of which the animals are likely to experience severe pain, suffering or distress or long-lasting moderate pain, suffering or distress, as well as procedures that are likely to cause severe impairment of the well-being or general condition of the animals.”