Much to the delight of animal advocates, the UK government has announced that it will introduce a legislative ban on the use of stray, lost or abandoned pets in experiments.
While there had been a ban in place, the transfer of EU regulations into UK law next year could have removed the ban in some instances and would have allowed stray animals, that could easily be a lost cat or dog, to be used in experiments in certain circumstances, as is the case in other parts of Europe.
“I’m shocked that the Government is considering removing the current protection given to our stray cats and dogs from being used in experiments,” said Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders. “Losing a pet is distressing, but the idea that the animal could potentially end up in a laboratory is ghastly and unacceptable, and I urge the Government to reconsider.”
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), which campaigned to keep homeless pets out of labs, received wide support from both MPs from all sides and the public and is applauding the announcement of legislation that will uphold the ban.
“We welcome the Government’s decision to introduce a legislative ban on the use of stray animals in experiments. This was an issue raised by the BUAV and one which received strong public and political concern. Elsewhere in the regulations, although pleased that the Government has maintained stricter UK standards in some areas, we are disappointed these regulations come only a week after figures showed the number of animals being used in experiments reaching an all-time high since the 1986 Act was introduced. These are issues which the public care deeply about, and all MPs should have the chance to give their views in a debate in the House of Commons,” said the BUAV’s Chief Executive Michelle Thew.
While it’s good news for stray pets, the BUAV is still concerned about a few issues that have been left out of draft regulations, including a lack of inspectors to monitor labs, a lack of improvement in transparency and the continuation of severe and unnecessary experiments, such as inducing electric shock to induce learned helplessness and breeding animals with genetic disorders that will cause lifelong suffering.
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