National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Collaboration to protect research animals during Brexit.

Posted: 24 April 2018. Updated: 24 April 2018


The process of the UK leaving the EU officially commenced on 29 March 2017 with the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, from which time the UK and the EU have two years to negotiate the terms of “divorce” and trade.

Although EU legislation will be incorporated into UK law through the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, such laws could be amended or dropped at any time in the future. It is therefore vital that a commitment is secured from the UK Government that laws concerning animals are not rolled back; there are also opportunities to strengthen current measures.

The NAVS is working to ensure protections for the animals in research are not lost in the Brexit negotiations, including as part of a coalition organised by the Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare (A-LAW) and Wildlife and Countryside Link.

Decades of progress have seen the replacement of outdated animal tests with advanced non-animal techniques. The prospect that Brexit could turn the scientific clock back, returning to outdated methods, is a real concern. Researchers in the UK have previously called for less regulation and may well now press for “cutting through the EU red tape” to make it easier to test on animals, with less scrutiny and oversight.

‘Brexit: getting the best deal for animals’ has been published by the A-LAW coalition to recommend animal protection measures that should be maintained in UK law as well as opportunities for the UK to make real improvements for animals post Brexit. The report covers recommendations for animals used in research as well as wild, farmed animals and domestic animals. With contributions from the NAVS, the chapter on research animals outlines how animal experiment standards should NOT be rolled back following Brexit, and opportunities to advance more human and scientifically relevant non-animal methods. Specifically, we urge the government to consider undertaking a stringent review of animal use in regulatory testing, increase transparency and maintain the EU cosmetics ban in trade agreements with countries outside of Europe.

How you can help:

  • Ask your MP to urge the government to maintain, and improve, current animal welfare legislation.

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