As new EU legislation comes into force in January that aims to improve the welfare of animals used in experiments, Keith Taylor MEP welcomes the Home Office’s decision not to weaken UK standards.
The EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes will take full effect from 1 January 2013 and has been brought in to harmonise standards for laboratory animals across the EU. However, there have been concerns that should the UK implement the new Directive word for word into law, welfare standards in the UK would have been weakened and animals in the UK could have undergone more suffering and pain, inhumane methods of killing and many labs could have gone years without being inspected.
Keith said “The new regulations are a significant advance for many Member States and will lead to improvements for tens of thousands of animals, but unfortunately, the legislation does not go far enough in banning the use of great apes and preventing animals, such as dogs, rabbits and mice being subjected to severe pain and suffering that is likely to be long lasting.
“I am very pleased to hear that UK standards will remain more stringent than required by the EU Directive and that welfare standards will not be watered down. It is important that we continue to make improvements in this area and work towards significantly reducing and then ending the use of animals in experiments.”
Keith Taylor and fellow Green MEP Jean Lambert, submitted their concerns on this issue during a Home Office consultation in September 2011. Keith and Jean called for the Home Office to continue to implement the UK welfare standards, even where the new EU law would allow them to be weakened.
The Green Party aims to bring an end to all animal experiments, replacing them with more reliable non-animal alternatives.