Politics

Ban on ‘cruel’ animal testing to be debated by MPs after thousands sign petition


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Westminster Hall will host a three-hour debate after 110,000 people backed calls for a block on testing

Campaigners want an overhaul

Fresh demands to ban animal testing will be heard tomorrow after tens of thousands of campaigners signed a Government e-petition.

Activists called for alternatives to tests on live animals to be developed to prevent cruelty and needless harm.

The petition, backed by 110,276 signatories, called on ministers to “change the law so laboratory animals are included in the Animal Welfare Act”.

It added: “Laboratory animals are currently not protected by the Act and are therefore victims of ‘unnecessary suffering’.”

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National Anti-Vivisection Society vice-president Tim Phillips said that “putting animal experimentation outside the law has stripped laboratory animals of protection”.

He told the Mirror: “Animal researchers are permitted to do things to animals that would otherwise see the person responsible prosecuted for cruelty.







The debate was triggered after more than 110,000 signed a Government e-petition
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“In theory this means there is greater scrutiny and accountability through a licensing process.

“But in reality, the majority of animal research projects are not scrutinised before they take place and the secrecy of the licensing process has led to a failure to prevent unnecessary experiments.

“The uncritical acceptance of animal experimentation by government departments has stifled innovation and replacement of these cruel and outdated tests with modern methods.”

However, the Royal Society, the 361-year-old organisation which says it is the “world’s oldest independent scientific academy dedicated to promoting scientific excellence”, backed animal testing with safeguards.

It said: “The Royal Society believes that all research should be carried out with a high regard for animal welfare.







Activists want a legal shake-up which would curb tests on animals
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“At present, the use of animals remains the only way for some areas of research to progress.

“The Society believes that where this research offers considerable benefits, it should go ahead under rigorous review to ensure it is absolutely necessary and there are no alternatives.

“At the same time steps must be taken to replace the use of animals, reduce the numbers used and refine procedures so the degree of suffering for animals is kept to the absolute minimum.”

In its online response to the petition, the Government said there was “an explicit exclusion under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to provide for the legitimate conduct of procedures on ‘protected animals’ for scientific or educational purposes that may cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm”.







Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse will respond for the Government.
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It added: “The use of animals in scientific research remains a vital tool in improving our understanding of how biological systems work both in health and disease.

“Such use is crucial for the development of new medicines and cutting-edge medical technologies for both humans and animals, and for the protection of our environment.”

Scottish National Party MP Martyn Day will lead Monday night’s three-hour Westminster Hall debate, with Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse responding for the Government.

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