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Chemicals testing in the UK

Ending animal testing for chemicals in the UK

Following its withdrawal from the European Union, the UK is no longer part of the system of EU rules on chemical safety and management, including the REACH regulation. The UK is setting up its own UK REACH system, and we have repeatedly called for this to be bolder in ensuring that animal tests are reduced and replaced.

What we do

We campaigned hard for ministers to recognise - and avoid - the risk of duplication of animal tests as chemical companies register their substances under UK REACH.

We were concerned that a no-deal Brexit would mean that the UK would need to carry out the same animal tests for chemical registration as they had already carried out for the EU. If existing EU animal-test data is not shared with the UK, then the same animal tests would have to be carried out again by the UK for the same information. Government ministers have said that existing animal test data will be recognised, but we continue to push for more clarity on how this will be implemented in practice.

We worked with Members of Parliament and the House of Lords to seek to amend the new UK Environment Bill which contains a section on chemicals management with a commitment to targets towards ending cruel animal tests. Despite great support from a number of cross-party legislators and debates in full session and in committees, the amendment was sadly not adopted, but we will continue to push for major change as UK REACH progresses.

As the UK continues to develop its chemicals regulatory system, we will continue to work with regulators to ensure that they promote the use of non-animal methods and ensure that the animal testing as a last resort principle is always enforced, whilst campaigning for a new cruelty free approach.