New regulations will boost good science, promote animal welfare

13 June 2011

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Category: Policy Issues

how–mice.jpgNew animal research regulations from Europe will enhance the welfare of animals, facilitate modern science and cut through excessive red tape.

UK scientists have welcomed development of a new European Directive (2010/63/EU), which took over eight years to complete. The final text was published in October 2010, and it will be formally adopted by all member states by January 2013.

A Home Office consultation with stakeholders on how to 'transpose' the Directive into UK law was launched today. It provides an opportunity for expert professional advice on which parts of the current UK legislation on animal experimentation should be retained and which should be changed. In this way the UK can continue to foster best practice and effective regulation in this area of science.

Inevitably with detailed and complex regulation there are still difficult issues to be addressed and debated. These include the most humane methods of killing research animals, the retrospective assessment of suffering, and whether different standard cage sizes are any better for rodents.

Understanding Animal Research has co-ordinated discussions by the major UK bioscience organisations on the European Directive and will be encouraging responses to the consultation.

Roger Lemon, Professor of Neurophysiology at UCL Institute of Neurology and Chair of the Understanding Animal Research Policy Advisory Group, said: 'Implementation must promote good science along with support for animal welfare and efforts to eliminate any unnecessary use of animals. The UK has some of the highest standards in the world, which have been driven by the UK research community. We need to continue harmonisation across Europe without undermining the high standards we already have in the UK.'

A background briefing about the transposition of the new Directive into UK regulations is available.

Twittercue: New #animalresearch regs from Europe to enhance animal welfare, promote good science, cut red tape http://bit.ly/EUDbrief

We have further information and scientists available for media interviews.