Animal research in the 2015 General Election

14 April 2015

Posted by: UAR news team

Category: Policy Issues

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The major political parties have begun to release their manifestos ahead of May’s election, with many making pledges regarding the use of animals in scientific, medical and veterinary research.

We will update this page as the remaining parties release their full manifestos.


Conservatives: will encourage wider global uptake of alternatives to cosmetic testing

The Conservative manifesto contains one brief commitment to encourage wider global uptake of alternatives to using animals for testing cosmetic products, but make no specific pledges about biomedical animal research.

“We will encourage other countries to follow the EU’s lead in banning animal testing for cosmetics and work to accelerate the global development and take-up of alternatives to animal testing where appropriate.”

View the full manifesto here.


Labour: no specific pledges regarding animals in research

Labour has produced a separate animal manifesto that outlines their animal welfare pledges for the election. Entitled Labour: Protecting Animals and signed by Ed Miliband and Maria Eagle (Shadow Defra Minister), the document promises to defend the hunting ban, ban the use of wild animals in circuses, end the badger cull, improve the protection of dogs and cats when bred for the pet trade, and tackle both domestic and international wildlife crime. While their opening statement notes that the last Labour Government was instrumental in securing the end of cosmetic testing on animals, their manifesto makes no specific pledges about animals in research.

View Labour: Protecting Animals here.

View the full manifesto here


Liberal Democrats: pledge to minimise animal use through 3Rs investment

The Liberal Democrats frame their policy on animals in research in the context of the 3Rs - replace, reduce and refine - pledging to minimise animal use and committing to the highest standards of animal welfare.

"Liberal Democrats believe in the highest standards of animal welfare. We will review the rules surrounding the sale of pets to ensure they promote responsible breeding and sales and minimise the use of animals in scientific experimentation, including by funding research into alternatives. We remain committed to the three Rs of humane animal research: Replace, Reduce, Refine."

View the full manifesto here.


Green Party: an end to all animal experimentation

The Greens have a detailed section on animal experiments as part of a larger animal welfare section. Their stated aim is to see an end to all animal experimentation, and to that end they would take immediate action to:

  • “Stop non-medical experiments, experiments using primates, cats and dogs. End the use of live animals in military training.
  • Stop the breeding and use of genetically altered animals.
  • End government funding of animal experimentation, including any that is outsourced to other countries.
  • Provide greater funding for non-animal research methods and link funding to a target for developing of humane alternatives to animal experiments.
  • Increase transparency and ensure publication of all findings of animal research, including negative findings.
  • Introduce a comprehensive system for reviewing animal experiments and initiate a comparison of currently required animal tests with a set of human-biology based tests.”


View the full manifesto here.

UKIP: focus on animal use for product testing, both cosmetic and medical

UKIP present their animal research pledges in the context of leaving the European Union, arguing that "we can only regain control of animal health and welfare by leaving the EU". Consequently they focus on the use of animals in legally mandated product testing, promising to uphold the existing ban on cosmetic testing (although this has been part of UK law since 1998). Their pledges are to:

  • “Keep the ban on animal testing for cosmetics;
  • Challenge companies using animals for testing drugs or other medical treatments on the necessity for this form of testing, as opposed to the use of alternative technology;
  • Tightly regulate animal testing.”


View the full manifesto here.

SNP: wildlife trade and crime but no pledges about animal research 

The Scottish National Party focus their manifesto on global animal welfare issues, specifically wildlife trade and crime.

"[A]t Westminster we will support further animal welfare measures with a global focus. This includes action to end the illegal ivory trade and protect species such as polar bears and bluefin tuna."

They do not make any pledges about animal research, but they do support calls to increase funding for motor neurone disease research, which would almost certainly involve some animal-based studies. 

"We also support calls to double research funding across the UK to find a cure for motor-neurone disease, with Scotland well placed to play a central role in taking forward new research in this area."

View the full manifesto here.

Plaid Cymru: no specific pledges regarding animals in research

Plaid Cymru do not make any pledges relating to animals or animal welfare, beyond supporting “the introduction of a European-level Animal Welfare Commissioner and adoption at all government levels of the new and comprehensive Animal Welfare law to end animal cruelty.”

View the full manifesto here.


Alliance: minimise animal use and invest in alternatives

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland include a small section on animal research as part of a wider set of commitments to overall improvement of animal welfare. They pledge to:

[Work] "to reduce and better regulate necessary animal testing and invest in developing alternative scientific methods and practices."

View the full manifesto here.


DUP: a UK wide charter for animal protection

The Democratic Unionist Party have divided their manifesto into what they would like to accomplish locally in Ireland, and from nationally from Westminster. Their sole commitment with regard to animals is:

"[We want] a UK wide charter for animal protection."

View the full manifesto here

Last edited: 21 April 2015 12:17