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UK Environment Bill reaches House of Lords

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Screenshot of MPs in the House of Lords

We continue our call for a commitment to end animal tests for chemicals

Following our calls for the UK Environment Bill to do more for animals in laboratories as it passed through its House of Commons stages, this week saw the Bill move into House of Lords committee where cross-party amendments were debated seeking plans to phase out animal testing of chemicals and more data sharing to avoid duplication and repetition.

The amendments put forward were a chance for the UK Government to act on commitments to do more to protect animals post-Brexit. Although the amendments were rejected by Government at this stage, we will continue to work with cross-party Peers to make sure that this important issue is considered once again when the Lords vote on amendments in full session.

EU chemicals legislation, REACH, has resulted in a huge increase in the use of animals in European and UK laboratories. Based on EU reports, we estimate that since 2006 over 2.6 million animals have been used in chemical tests across the EU, including the UK, with many more planned. The UK conducts more animal tests than any other country in Europe.

Our Director of Public Affairs, Kerry Postlewhite, said: “It was encouraging to see a great show of support in the House of Lords for more action to move away from animal tests for chemicals. We are grateful to the Baroness Hayman (Labour) and Baroness Bakewell (Liberal Democrat) for tabling amendments and to the cross-party group of Peers who spoke in favour of them, including Baroness Jones (Green) and Lord Teverson (Liberal Democrat).

“The Government has repeatedly promised that Brexit will be an opportunity not just to uphold but to improve animal protection in the UK, so it was disappointing that Ministers did not seize opportunities to do more for animals in the Environment Bill. Rejecting amendments as unnecessary additions is a short-sighted failure to enact a forward-looking Bill with positive actions to transition away from cruel and unreliable animal testing. We hope Ministers will reflect on the need to do more and that the next stage of the Bill will see change.”