National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

UK law on vivisection

Posted: 15 March 2011. Updated: 12 December 2013


The UK has undertaken its first major revision of animal experimentation rules in over 25 years, bringing the new EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (2010/63/EU) into UK law. NAVS has participated in consultations and meetings with Home Office officials throughout this process in order to achieve the best possible protection for laboratory animals, pushing for transparency and the advancement of alternatives to animals use.

The NAVS outlined ten steps which we wanted the UK Government to tackle:

  • End household product testing
  • Regular ‘thematic’ reviews of specific animal tests to identify those that can be abandoned or replaced with non-animal methods
  • No weakening of existing UK animal protection standards
  • Commit to replacing experiments on monkeys in UK laboratories
  • End the wild capture of monkeys by laboratory dealers
  • Set clear limits on the pain laboratory animals can suffer
  • Increase transparency on animal experiments – more public accountability
  • Increase compulsory data sharing to prevent unnecessary experiments
  • Establish a UK laboratory for the development and validation of non-animal methods
  • Ensure the effective implementation of non-animal methods – if there is an alternative it must be used.

The NAVS continues to urge the UK Government to adopt a progressive approach to animal research as it puts final regulations, guidance notes for laboratories and codes of practice for the revised law in place.

Throughout this process during the European Directive development and the transposition into UK law, the NAVS has provided briefings on: secrecy (S.24), the blanket secrecy clause in the UK legislation that prevents public access to information on animal experiments; maintaining UK stricter controls over laboratory animal research and animal protection; reducing the use of primates, primate transport and ending use of wild caught primates; limiting severity of animal experiments and severity classifications; advanced non-animal methods; data sharing; economic benefits of using advanced technology to replace animals and others. We have also run postcard and internet campaigns, instigated parliamentary motions in the European and UK parliaments; held photo calls and toured the country with billboards. We have also given detailed evidence to European Commission working groups to the House of Lords Select Committees and other inquiries.

Although we did not get everything we wanted in the European Directive 2010/63/EU, we won on some significant issues and a major step forward is securing public accountability and open reviews of the use of animals in specific experiments with a view to either abandoning the tests, or replacing them with non-animal methods.

This leaves us much work to do in the future to work to end the use of animals in research. Find out more about our campaign in Europe

Please send a donation to help us end animal experiments. Laboratory animals need your help, donate now

Find out why animal experiments are unreliable and unnecessary, click here

End secrecy in the labs

The NAVS first launched our campaign for freedom of information about animal experiments sixteen years ago. Over a decade and a half later, it’s time to unlock the labs and end the secrecy. Find out more

The new Animals in Science Committee

The Animals in Science Committee (ASC) has replaced the Animal Procedures Committee (APC) as part of the implementation of the European Directive on animal experiments. Read more

European Commission criticised over investigation into primate research alternatives

In May 2008, the European Commission requested that it’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk (SCHER) issue an opinion on the possibility of replacing non-human primates in research. Following a public consultation, SCHER initiated a public hearing which ADI criticised for being biased and deeply flawed. Following a complaint to the European Ombudsman questioning the balance and necessity of expertise of the SCHER working group, the European Commission were criticised by the ombudsman. Read more...

New UK Law on Animal Experiments – Campaign update

With the November 2012 deadline for the implementation of EU Directive 2010/63 on animal experiments fast approaching, the NAVS and ADI have submitted a number of expert evidence contributions to the Home Office and the European Commission, to secure implementation of policies to replace animal use as well as the best possible protection for laboratory animals. However, there is still much to do in terms of public education and awareness, as well as development of methods to replace animal use. Read more...

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 405 Animals used in scientific procedures

Caroline Lucas MP has tabled an EDM calling on the government to publish a strategy, before the end of the current parliament, on how the number of animals used in experiments can be reduced. The motion follows the publication of the annual ‘Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals’, which revealed that a total of 3,710,621 animals were used in scientific procedures in 2011, the highest number of animals since publication of the statistics was introduced by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The increase in animal procedures is contrary to the Coalition Government’s pledge to `work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research’ .

  • Action: Please ask your MP to sign EDM 405 today!
  • Read the EDM and see if your MP has already signed here
  • Read NAVS statement on the 2011 statistics here

Inside a GM factory

Genetic modification has been the biggest growth area in animal experimentation in two decades. More than half of the experiments in the UK are now on genetically modified and harmful mutant animals. Read more...

Home Office studies plan for CCTV monitoring in animal labs

A joint proposal by NAVS and Animal Aid for the introduction of CCTV cameras in animal research establishments is under consideration by the Home Office. Read more...

New UK law on animal experiments

Read our campaign update from the latest issue of Animal Defender.

Key information concerning the transposition of EU Directive 2010/63 into UK law

The deadline for the transposition of the Directive is November 2012, and all member states will have to apply the provisions as of 1st January 2013. As the revision process enters into its final phase, this is the last opportunity for us to influence the new legislation. Read more…

Thematic review – proactive replacement of animals in research

The concept of thematic review discussed and envisaged by the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers provided a clear mechanism to move forward, primarily, on the replacement of the use of animals in specific experiments. It is vital that this be a workable, meaningful process where opportunities for replacement of animals are driven forward, rather than it becoming a ‘talking shop’.
Learn about NAVS proposals for Thematic Review.

UK lab rules update

2 December 2011: NAVS has met with Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone, held several consultation meetings with officials, and participated in a Home Office public consultation. NAVS is campaigning hard to maintain higher UK standards, but also for stricter measures in key areas.
Learn more about how we have pushed for measures to protect animals used in research

Parliament row brews over animal experiments and new EU Directive

8 December 2011: As the UK Government considers how it will bring the new EU Directive, 2010/63/EU, into UK law, MPs and animal protection and non-animal research groups have expressed concern about the lowering of UK science and animal welfare standards.
Read about how the NAVS highlighted the concerns about new animal testing laws to MPs

Thank you for speaking out for animals in laboratories!

The Home Office Consultation on the biggest overhaul to animal testing laws in this country in 25 years closed on the 5th September 2011. Thank you to all our supporters who took part either by answering the consultation or raising awareness.
Read how the Government progressed following the close of consultation

Government announces an end to animal testing of household products

The NAVS was encouraged by the Home Office’s announcement, declaring the Government’s commitment to ending the testing of household products on animals. The NAVS is pressing the Coalition Government to use the new EU Directive on animal experiments, to make ten steps to advance scientific research, but without animal suffering.
Read more

The NAVS steps up its UK ‘Cutting Edge Not Knife Edge’ animal testing campaign

13 July 2011: In a show of unity, politicians and peers gathered at Parliament, to request that the Home Office gears the legislation to replace animal use, while adopting the strictest animal protection legislation as the new EU Directive becomes law. They were accompanied by a giant inflatable beagle to help bring further publicity to this important animal welfare issue.
Read more

The NAVS condemns the rise in UK animal experiments

13 July 2011: When the Home 13 July 2011: When the Home Office published the annual ‘Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals’ for 2010, it highlighted how many animals in the UK will be affected by the implementation of new laws governing their use.
Read more about the latest statistics on animal use

Beagle Farm proposal rejected in victory for animal welfare

16 June 2011: The Planning 16 June 2011: The Planning Committee of East Riding Council voted to refuse planning permission for a new building for breeding beagle dogs to be used in laboratory experiments. NAVS objected to the proposal highlighting that the application was against the thrust of the new European rules on animal testing, Directive 2010/63/EU.
Read more about the victory

Lab Animal Week 2011

As the government began considering the biggest overhaul of regulations on animal experiments for 25 years, NAVS hit the streets with an eye-catching Cutting Edge Not Knife Edge billboard van that toured the UK, stopping at nine cities, with MPs and supporters greeting the van and leafleting in each city.
Watch The LAW video

New vivisection law for the UK – this year

19 April 2011: The Home Office has told us that they plan to have draft legislation prepared by the autumn with a view to this being implemented by late 2012. This will be the biggest overhaul of animal experimentation regulations for nearly 25 years, as the Home Office transposes European Directive (2010/63/EU).
Read more about how out our UK campaign began

New UK Animal Experiment Laws Imminent

15 March 2011: The government is going to review the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, to bring it into line with a new EU Directive on animal experiments (Directive 2010/63/EU), passed last year. However, we have been informed by the Home Office that they are considering changing the legislation WITHOUT A PUBLIC DEBATE!
Read more

MEPs disappointed with EU animal experiment rules

9 September 2010: Several promising measures from the European Commission and MEPs were steadily diluted during the negotiations for the revision of Directive 86/609, as a result of heavy lobbying from industry and animal suppliers. The UK Government are urged to commit to replacing animal experiments during implementation.
Read more

A vision for Europe

January 2009: A briefing from ADI was distributed to MEPs in Brussels, available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Polish. It urged the use of the new directive to replace Directive 86/609 on animal experiments to protect animals and advance European Science.
Read our vision for Europe

European Parliament sets historic target to end experiments on primates

In September 2007 433 MEPs signed Written Declaration 40/2007 calling for urgent action to end the use of Great Apes and wild-caught monkeys in experiments, and for a timetable to be set to end all experiments on non-human primates in Europe.
Find out how we achieved this amazing milestone

REACH campaign, 2005

REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, an EU regulation creating a single system for the control of all chemical substances sold in the EU. Whilst we support greater accountability, increased information and stronger controls on chemicals in society, the problem is that there is a requirement for animal test data in the dossiers on which this system is based.
Find out more about the campaign and to read out reports.

Evidence to the House of Lords

The NAVS gave extensive written and oral evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee which announced its findings on July 24 2002.
Read more about our key recommendations

© National Anti-Vivisection Society