Myth Busted: UK Government Admits Animal Testing Is Not Required by Law

Posted by on October 25, 2023 | Permalink

In response to a parliamentary question tabled on behalf of PETA, the Department of Health and Social Care affirmed that animal testing is not a legal requirement in the UK. This busts the widely held myth that all new drugs and medical products must be tested on animals before proceeding to human clinical trials.

The Minister’s Reply

The question, put forward by Giles Watling MP, prompted clarification from the government that new treatments can be brought safely to market using superior non-animal methods, rather than relying on a list of deadly and scientifically bogus animal tests.

“There is no United Kingdom legislation that mandates animal testing.”

– Will Quince, Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Care

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) allows non-animal data to be used for evaluating new medical products. This means that medicines regulators have the option to accept data from non-animal methods for first-in-human clinical trial authorisation if the methods have been accepted as replacements.

The Animal Test–Free Future of Medicine

The minister’s response confirms what PETA has been saying – it is possible for new drugs to be authorised without resorting to wasteful and misleading tests on animals. This clarification, together with recent advances in drug development, signifies a new opportunity for a paradigm shift in preclinical testing.

The MHRA follows international guidance to reduce the use of animals and has already allowed an innovative lung cancer therapy to proceed to human clinical trials without requiring data from animal tests – paving the way for animal-free science.

Take a Stand Against Cruel Experiments

As stated by the US National Institutes of Health, “A novel drug can take 10 to 15 years and more than $2 billion to develop, and failure rates occur in about 95 percent of human studies.” Clearly there is a problem with the status quo for developing and testing drugs and getting them to market, and experiments on animals have been identified as one of the contributing factors.

We are urging the government to adopt the Research Modernisation Deal, which provides a detailed strategy for freeing up funds for available animal-free research methods that actually stand to help humans. Join over 100,000 people who have already signed our petition: