Britain: Don’t Increase Animal Testing After Leaving Europe

Target: Theresa May, U.K. Prime Minister

Goal: Reinforce stricter animal testing guidelines in the U.K.

As Britain prepares for ‘Brexit’ and its departure from the European Union, it will soon have the opportunity to freely choose how to regulate animal testing within its borders. Campaigners are concerned that this could result in an increase in testing and the return of previously outlawed practices. The British government must be made to see this not as a chance to expand experimenting on animals but as an opportunity to set a moral precedent and outlaw it altogether.

Even with EU regulations, Britain still conducts vivisection more frequently than the majority of countries in Europe. In fact, the most recent report from the U.K. Home Office recorded over 4 million tests performed on animals in 2015, more than half of which were procedures expected to cause pain in the animals. The same report noted that approximately 30 percent of these tests could be classed as causing either severe pain or distress, or moderate pain or distress for a prolonged period. Even more worrying, the overall number of tests has increased since the last report in 2013. This includes an increase in testing on primates, including a cruel experiment in which monkeys had devices surgically implanted in their heads to force them to stare at a computer screen and recreate gambling tasks and risk-taking behavior thousands of times over several weeks.

Campaigners are concerned that the removal of EU regulations will mean that experiments like these — and vivisection more generally — will continue to increase after Brexit. But there is another possibility. Britain played a key role in setting up the EU rules in the first place, and it prides itself on being a progressive and caring nation. Even more than this, it prides itself on its independence and pioneering ideas; if its government can be persuaded to follow the truly progressive, pioneering path of seeking cruelty-free alternatives, then it may become a nation that bans all animal testing. Sign this petition and tell Brexit Britain to put an end to this ill-informed and ineffective abuse of animals.


Dear Prime Minister,

I write to you to express my concerns about how Britain will treat its animals after it has left the European Union. As you know, the laws that currently regulate animal testing in your nation come from the EU. Along with many others, I was alarmed to read in the latest Home Office report that there has actually been an increase in animal testing between 2013 and 2015, including testing on primates. I am concerned that the removal of EU regulations will allow animal testing to continue increasing in Britain.

However, the U.K. does not have to follow this path. Freed from the restraints of European law, Britain could set a moral precedent and employ far harsher restrictions, even to the degree of banning animal testing altogether. There are numerous alternatives to vivisection — from experimenting on human tissue cultures to using simulations, databases, and virtual drug trials — many of which are widely considered by experts to be more effective at predicting human responses. I implore you to follow your nation’s pioneering, progressive spirit and make Britain a leader in the move to end all animal testing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Janet Stephen

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  1. End the use of live animals ONCE AND FOR ALL — The use of animals is unnecessary, cruel, merciless, unconscionable and needless — Most reputable institutions do NOT use live animals for training and research purposes — Other options, other programs exist — human-based methods such as medical simulation, which is documented to provide equivalent or superior training compared to the use of animals IS ONE example where animals are NO LONGER used — Pay a visit to PCRM — END the practice of using animals PERMANENTLY and make the switch to other methods, as many reputable institutions have.

  2. As a member of the medical community, it is my opinion that any modern advances being made in science are the result of novel methods such as in vitro cell cultures to computer models that are not only much more accurate in understanding humane disease but equally important is that they are moral.The general scientific community has acknowledged this and does hope to diminish and eventually end animal testing using the 3 R’s approach (refine, reduce and REPLACE), please stand with science. In addition, there is ever growing resistance in the public opinion to animal testing. Do better!

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