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Cruelty Free International urge new Labour government to honour manifesto pledge to phase out animal testing

Cruelty Free International

4 min read

Animal protection NGO, Cruelty Free International, is calling on the UK’s new Labour government to honour its manifesto pledge to “partner with scientists, industry, and civil society as we work towards the phasing out of animal testing”.

This commitment must lead to the end of the use of animals in UK laboratories, through the development of a roadmap with clear targets, milestones and actions, led by a new minister to co-ordinate plans across all departments.

The government must also provide further detail to expand on earlier commitments by senior members of the Labour Party that included a board of experts to be established in the first year and tasked with drafting a plan to phase out the use of dogs, minipigs and rabbits in testing, including medical testing.

Cruelty Free International stands ready to offer its expertise to ensure these policies are delivered in an ambitious but achievable way.

The organisation’s ‘Pledge Cruelty Free’ campaign in the build-up to the General Election asked all parliamentary candidates to make a commitment to put the 1998 ban on testing cosmetics on animals, covering ingredients used either primarily or exclusively in cosmetics, into law; make our homes safer by modernising the system for testing the chemicals that go into the products we use every day, such as food, clothes, household cleaning, furniture, electronic goods, paints and dyes, and removing animals from those tests; and ask that the government create a plan to phase-out animal testing forever, with a minister dedicated to delivering this target across all government departments.

Home Office statistics show that there were over 2.76 million uses of animals in laboratories in Great Britain in 2022. Ten per cent of those are tests required by regulators to assess the safety or effectiveness of chemicals, medicines and other products.

Cruelty Free International Head of Public Affairs, Dylan Underhill, said: “Sir Kier Starmer and his new government must honour their manifesto pledge to phase-out animal testing, and reflect both the views of the public and the strength of feeling that there is on this issue. With such a strong majority they can and must be bold to reflect the promise of change on which Labour built their campaign. Animal testing is simply not good science, yet inexplicably continues as the default method for testing the safety of products. We know that, as a country, we can do so much better in our protection of the millions of animals that suffer and die in laboratories every year.

“Their commitment must lead to the end of the use of animals in UK laboratories, through the development of a roadmap with clear targets, milestones and actions, led by a new minister to co-ordinate plans across all departments. The government must provide further detail on commitments that included a board of experts to be established in the first year and tasked with drafting a plan to phase out the use of dogs, minipigs and rabbits in testing, including medical testing. Cruelty Free International stands ready to offer its expertise to ensure these policies are delivered in an ambitious but achievable way.

“We know that there is so much for a new government to do in its first few days and weeks in office, but this is long overdue and cannot be forgotten or delayed any longer. The government must develop a roadmap with clear targets and milestones to phase out the use of all animals in experiments as soon as possible. We stand ready to offer our expertise in service of this ambition.

“A greater increase in funding, in line with the levels for similar ground-breaking technologies in the UK, needs to be accompanied by innovative incentives to encourage scientists and industry to move away from the current use of animals. Non-animal testing methods, in many cases, have already proven themselves to be faster, cheaper and more accurate than animal testing.

“Animal testing touches our lives in many ways that most of us don’t appreciate, from cosmetics and household products to clothes, furniture, plastics, electronic and white goods, paints, dyes, and food – all these things can be associated with animal testing on their way to our homes. We need Labour to take bold steps forward – without this, we will be condemned to a never-ending cycle of small reductions rather than the transformative step forward which is needed to meet the aspirations of the public.”

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