Government Fails to Take Promised Action Against Animal Testing
The UK government has just released its delivery plan to “replace, refine and reduce” the use of animals in experiments – and it’s a grave disappointment.
After it had been elected, the Coalition pledged to cut the use of animals in scientific research. But we’ve yet to see any strategy as to how it will deliver on this promise. The plan contains no targets to decrease the number of animals who are tormented, cut up and killed in experiments each year, making it essentially useless. Instead of being a clear and unbiased approach to replacing and reducing animal use, one of its objectives encourages continued reliance on animal testing by ”promoting an understanding and awareness about using animals where no alternatives exist”.
The current system is permissive, weakly enforced and secretive, and it stacks the deck in favour of experimenters using animals, not the animals it is supposed to protect.
Most people know instinctively that animal testing is wrong. The procedures carried out on animals in laboratories, such as deliberate starvation, injection with dangerous chemicals and mutilation would quite rightly be illegal if done outside a laboratory – there’s no justification for this double standard given the fact that the degree of animal suffering would be exactly the same.
In addition to the powerful ethical arguments, there are scientific reasons for opposing animal testing, too:
- The results of animal testing rarely apply to humans. No animal species can predict the human reaction effectively, which is why animals are genetically, surgically or chemically modified in increasing numbers.
- Modern non-animal research methods have been shown to model human diseases and test drugs more effectively.
- Experimentation on animals has been increasing in the UK, despite claims that alternative methods of testing are used whenever possible and growing public opposition to animal testing.
This opposition was in clear evidence on Friday. One of PETA’s science experts, Rebecca Ram, appeared on ITV’s This Morning to debate the issue. In a poll on ITV’s website, 81 per cent of people said that they were against experimenting on animals, and there was a flood of comments online as compassionate people tweeted with the hashtag #NOAnimalTesting.
Here are some highlights:
The government needs to do much more to reduce animal testing in order to reflect advances in humane, non-animal science and the public’s mounting disapproval for the use of animals in experiments.
At the moment, we don’t even have the right to know about all the tests on animals that are funded with taxpayer’s money. Take action here: