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We welcome Labour’s Science, Innovation and Technology appointment

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Help us ensure that all parties prioritise animal welfare

We welcome Labour’s decision to match the government with the creation of a new Shadow Cabinet position of Shadow Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, as part of Sir Kier Starmer’s top team reshuffle on Monday morning – and call on Peter Kyle MP to ensure that animal welfare and non-animal testing methods are at the forefront of his plans.

Mr Kyle, Member of Parliament for Hove since 2015, is the first incumbent of the new role at a time when the UK finds itself at a crossroads, both in its approach to animal testing and desire to remain a world leader in scientific innovation.

We also welcome the appointment of Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In January, we met with DEFRA, the government department responsible for chemicals policy, to discuss the benefits of using non-animal methods for assuring the safety of chemicals and we will continue to champion these issues on both sides of the political aisle.

Latest figures show that there were over 2.76 million uses of animals in experiments in UK laboratories in 2022, a year-on-year drop of 10%. Although we welcome this decline in numbers, progress is far too slow and cannot be guaranteed in the future. Nevertheless, there is a great opportunity for politicians, regulators and researchers to be proactive in accelerating this progress even further.

As we look towards the general election, we are urging all parties to commit to what is needed to kick testing on animals out of our homes and our lives for good. Our key hopes include:

  • An immediate reinstatement of the 1998 ban on testing on animals for cosmetics ingredients in full. Including ingredients used predominantly as well as exclusively in cosmetics.
  • Making our homes safer by modernising the chemicals system with a commitment to accelerating the transition to non-animal, human-relevant methods of toxicity testing. We need a robust plan for how to achieve this, including funding and regulatory change, so that all of us can live a truly cruelty-free life
  • Strengthen and enhance laws that support access to, and sharing of, all available information relevant to chemicals, to avoid new tests on animals.
  • Ensure existing chemicals regulations do not allow the duplication of animal tests that have already been conducted.
  • Kicking testing on animals out of our homes and our lives for good with a government led plan, including funding and regulatory change, to phase out all animal testing. We need a government minister to spearhead delivery across government.

Dylan Underhill, our Head of Public Affairs, said: “My congratulations go to Peter Kyle and Steve Reed on their appointment. Whoever leads the country after the next General Election must see the writing on the wall. 65% of the country want a concrete plan to bring about an end to animal testing. Politicians have got to heed that call and take the necessary steps to reduce the number of animals who suffer in laboratories and to develop alternatives, especially when we know that modern innovations in non-animal methods can produce better results, potentially saving lives and resources.

“Any cruel animal test is one too many and we will continue to fight for zero animal experiments in Great Britain. We are calling for the Government and all political parties to kick animal testing out of our homes and our lives for good by reinstating the 1998 cosmetics testing ban in full; building a chemicals safety system without animals; and drawing up a plan to phase out animal testing for good. It’s time to capitalises on this progress and grasp the opportunities of scientific innovation.”

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