24th June 2016
What happens to animal testing now that Britain has voted to leave the EU?
Our Brexit guide to animal experiments rules
Following today’s big EU referendum news, many of us will have questions about the implications for animal testing rules in the UK.
Here’s our guide to what happens now…
Until now, the UK Government’s policy on animal experiments has been decided at EU level. So with today’s Brexit vote, the British Government will need to begin the process of deciding whether the UK will continue to follow EU rules on animal experiments, or go its own way.
A new approach?
In principle, the British Government could decide on a different approach. That might be either better or worse for animals in laboratories.
The advantage of Britain being separate is that it could be easier to achieve change in the UK, since we only need to convince one government to do the right thing for animals, not 28 governments. And the excuse that politicians would like to be tougher but are limited by European rules would no longer hold sway.
The drawback is that any change might not be positive for animals, and even if it is, it would only affect animals in Britain rather than across the whole of Europe.
Follow EU rules?
Alternatively, the British Government might decide to continue to coordinate policy with the EU on animal testing. We think this is quite likely in the short term, since there will be so many other areas to renegotiate.
In this case, our partnership with other animal protection organisations in the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments will become even more vital. That’s because the key decisions will be made with much more limited British input.
What about the cosmetics ban?
Over the last two decades, with your help we’ve made some significant gains for animals in Europe, including our hard-fought landmark ban on animal testing for cosmetics. We’ve shown the power of working together for animals to create a more compassionate world.
The UK led the way with the first cosmetics ban, and we anticipate the country will continue to be strong in this area. All other EU countries will of course continue to be bound by the EU cosmetics ban, and we’ve already seen other countries across the world stepping up to drive cruel animal testing out of cosmetics.
By working together, we will consign animal testing for cosmetics to the global history books.
Standing strong for animals
And you can rest assured that we will be keeping a close eye on politicians and decision-makers in the UK, and will do all we can to make sure that they strike the best deal for animals in laboratories going forward.
We will continue to stand strong for animals in the UK and across the world, highlighting the suffering of animals and working to end cruel experiments wherever they are happening.