Government plans to reduce animal testing backed by the RSPCA

The government has pledged to reduce animal testing in the UK by injecting money into alternative methods. 


Official plans will be shared this summer and will include a £20 million investment towards finding other ways to carry out scientific research. 


Discussed during a Westminster Hall debate on February 19th, the move is in direct response to two separate online petitions. One petition called for an end to toxicity testing, while the other demanded a ban on the use of dogs in research.


RSPCA CEO Chris Sherwood expressed optimism regarding the potential impact of the plans, noting that they “could make a significant difference” for animals currently used in research.


He said: “The UK has the opportunity to place itself at the forefront of innovation and be a world leader in the development and use of the next generation of scientific approaches.


“Not only will this reduce impacts on animals and help towards phasing out their use in research and testing, but it will also advance and improve science and benefit the UK economy.”


Science Minister Andrew Griffith acknowledged that the complete replacement of animal testing has not yet been achieved but highlighted the UK’s leading role in developing non-animal methods. He affirmed the government’s commitment to maximising the utilisation of these alternative methods whenever feasible.


Approximately three million animals are tested on per year. Mr. Sherwood emphasised that the UK Government has the capacity to expedite the shift away from using sentient animals in harmful experiments, advocating for the adoption of advanced non-animal technologies and novel methodologies. 


He stressed the significant ethical, animal welfare, scientific, and economic advantages associated with these alternatives, emphasising the importance of progress in all areas currently utilising animals in scientific endeavours.