Thank you for contacting me about ethical research and animal testing. Although it is not my general practice to endorse third party pledges or campaigns, I want to reassure you that wide-ranging action is being taken to develop Ethical innovation.
I share the Government's commitment to the development of alternatives to using animals in scientific procedures and I am glad the Government continues to actively support and fund the development and dissemination of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) for the use of animals in scientific procedures. UK law requires that animals are only used in science where there are no alternatives, where the number of animals used is the minimum needed to achieve the scientific benefit, and where the potential harm is limited to that needed to achieve the scientific benefit.
This is achieved through UK Research and Innovation’s funding of the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of non-animal technologies, and through research into the development of alternatives by Innovate UK, the Medical Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The recommendations in the Non-Animal Technologies Roadmap continue to be delivered including a £1.6 million commitment for the development of a virtual dog to help reduce the use of dogs in the safety testing of new medicines and £4.7 million funding for next generation non-animal technologies that provide reliable, predictive and cost-effective alternatives to the use of animals. Scientists and representatives from regulatory bodies are involved in these efforts to accelerate the use of non-animal technologies. You can find the Roadmap here: Non-animal technologies in the UK: a roadmap, strategy and vision – UKRI
The Home Office regulator, the Animals in Science Regulation Unit, will only grant licences to use animals in science where there are no alternatives, where the number of animals used is the minimum needed to achieve the scientific benefit, and where the potential harm to animals is limited to that needed to achieve the scientific benefit.
I understand that with regard to animal testing for cosmetics the Government has recognised the public concern around the testing on animals of chemicals used as ingredients in cosmetics. I welcome the fact that the Government has introduced measures that ensure no new licences will now be granted for animal testing of chemicals that are exclusively intended to be used as ingredients in cosmetics products. Further, I am aware the Government is also undertaking a review at pace on the effective administration of the ban over the longer term. This will give due regard of the needs of the science industry, the need to ensure worker and environmental safety, and the need to protect animals from unnecessary harm.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.