#TargetZero for animal experiments in the UK
Help us urge the UK government to agree a plan to drive an end to animal testing
We have joined forces with Animal Free Research UK and OneKind to launch a #TargetZero petition calling on the UK government for a clear, concrete and ambitious phase-out of animal testing following the release of the latest Home Office statistics.
Despite a drop in the total number of UK animal experiments in 2020, largely explained by two national lockdowns, the government’s statistics reveal a depressing rise in research on dogs (up by 3%), cats (up by 11%), rabbits (up by 11%) and horses (up by 3%), highlighting no concerted effort to reduce and replace testing on these animals. The number of experiments on horses has increased by 29% in the last decade alone.
Whilst we welcome the drop in the number of animals used in UK experiments (down 15% from 3.4 million to 2.9 million), largely as a result of the COVID lockdown, that's still 2.9 million too many.
We’re calling on the government to use this opportunity as a launchpad for further decreases and a concerted effort to end cruel and unreliable animal experiments once and for all. Join us by signing the petition.
- The number of experiments on dogs has risen (up by 3%), on cats (up by 11%) and on horses (up by 3%), showing no concerted effort to reduce and replace testing on these animals. The number of experiments on horses has increased by 29% in the last decade alone.
- There has been an increase in regulatory testing on animals (8% increase) and in 2020 accounted for 16% of all experiments.
- The statistics reveal 115 experiments were conducted on dogs to satisfy plant protection product legislation (which is likely to include pesticides testing).
- There has been an increase in the use of rhesus macaques (220 in total in 2020, up 77%).
- A total of 54% of all experiments were conducted by universities. Many of these are basic research for human illnesses where we increasingly know that there is not replicability from animal to human – people deserve better.
Despite incredible advances in science, little has changed for animals in laboratories. Nearly 3 million animals continue to suffer in Britain’s laboratories every year - with over 90% of drugs that prove promising in animal trials failing in humans, either due to lack of effectiveness or safety concerns.
The overall number of animal experiments has fallen by only 1% annually over the past decade (discounting this year’s unusual drop) - if the UK continues on its current trajectory, animal experiments will remain for at least another 90 years.
Evanna Lynch – Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series - Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, and Lesley Nicol, who played Mrs Patmore in Downton Abbey, have teamed up with Cruelty Free International, Animal Free Research UK and Scotland’s OneKind to re-enact an iconic animal rights demonstration from 100 years ago.
“It’s horrifying to know how many animal experiments take place each year in the UK. To know that so many are unnecessary breaks my heart. In the 1900s people were fighting for animal experiments to stop and fast forward 100 years, here we are again… so why hasn’t a change been made? With modern science evolving, it’s beyond my comprehension that scientists and universities, haven’t made more of an effort to replace animal experiments.” - Lesley Nicol
“Progress must be made. It’s shocking to think that so many animal experiments are unnecessary, yet they still occur and cause a great deal of distress and harm for helpless animals. Very few people know the extent of the problem, so I really hope that this campaign helps to draw attention to the issue. The more it’s talked about, the more likely things will change.” – Lucy Watson
“I have been campaigning for animal rights for as long as I can remember, yet this issue remains one of the biggest issues in animal welfare. The UK carries out more animal experiments than most countries in Europe, but this doesn’t have to the be case. We can - and should - be leaders in paving the way for ethical, effective experiments. I hope that the comparisons drawn between the 1900s and present day demonstrate the need to rethink how we treat animals in science.” - Evanna Lynch
Evanna, Lucy and Lesly join us in urging you to sign our #TargetZero petition calling on the government to end reliance on Victorian science and bring animal experiments to an end in the UK once and for all.