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UK to stop testing household products on animals

Household products like washing up liquid will no longer be tested on animals such as rabbits dogs and mice, the Home Office is due to announce.

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UK to stop testing household products on animals

Household products like washing up liquid will no longer be tested on animals such as rabbits dogs and mice, the Home Office is due to announce.

Theresa May is due to announce a ban on testing household products on animals shortly

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent

18 Jul 2011

Everyday goods like glue, air fresheners and lavatory cleaner have been tested on animals for years.

The experiments, usually involving rabbits, can mean shaving off hair to test irritation or force feeding animals to see if products are toxic.

However Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the practice is no longer acceptable.

She is due to announce a ban on testing household products on animals shortly.

The UK Government banned testing cosmetics on animals in 1998.

But between 1997 and 2006, government figures showed 7,184 animals were used to test products like bleaches and disinfectants. Last year there were 24 tests for household products on animals. Rats, guinea pigs and sometimes dogs are used. The animals can be made ill or even killed in the process and are routinely disposed of.

The main reason for recent the decline is because of consumer pressure and Marks and Spencer, the Co-operative banning testing on animals for their household products.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said it had taken too long to ban testing of household products as well.

'The BUAV would be delighted for the Government to finally implement a ban on animal testing for household products. After many years of campaigning on this issue it is clear that, as with animal testing for cosmetics, there is no public or political appetite for these cruel tests to continue. It is simply unacceptable for animals to suffer and die in poisoning tests for a new washing up liquid or window cleaner."

The overall number of animal experiments in the UK rose last year to 3.7 million, up 105,000 on the previous year.

Legislation outlawing the sale of cosmetics tested on laboratory animals by 2013 is already in place by the European Union, but there are fears it could be delayed.

Campaigners including Sir Paul McCartney, Meg Matthews and Jodie Kidd, want an EU-wide ban brought in as soon as possible.

However testing for medicines is a more subtle debate, with scientists insisting animals must remain part of the process to discover new drugs.


The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is encouraged by the Home Office�s announcement today, declaring the Government�s commitment to ending the testing of household products on animals.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of the NAVS said: 'This announcement follows the huge public support we have found for our campaign to end these tests.

'We now urge the Home Office to implement their proposed consultation as soon as possible and not kick this important animal welfare issue into the long grass. The NAVS will ensure that it is part of the process to ensure the best possible outcome, and encourage Government to move the initiative on as quickly as possible.'

The Home Office has also announced today that the Coalition Government will work towards the reduction of the use of animals in scientific research, which will be delivered through a science-led programme by the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research.

However, disappointingly, the proposed programme intends to focus on reducing numbers of animals, rather than development and implementation of advanced scientific methods to replace animals. Advanced techniques are the cutting edge of modern science � essential not only to staying ahead of international technologies, but good for human medicine and saving animals. NAVS would like to see more commitment from the government on replacement of animal use.

Commenting on these proposals Jan said: 'Last week the Home Office released its 2010 animal testing statistics, which made depressing reading by showing an increase in the number of animals used in procedures by over 100,000 compared to the previous year, as had actual procedures.

'This rise was completely unacceptable and shamed the UK. This latest announcement is encouraging and we shall continue to meet with the Home Office to ensure that they deliver on this commitment, and press for a phase out of animals in scientific research altogether.'

The NAVS, together with all the main animal protection and non-animal research bodies in the UK, 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:

1. Ban household product testing

2. No downgrading of existingUK animal protection measures

3. Commit to replacing experiments on monkeys inUK laboratories

4. End the capture of monkeys from the wild, by laboratory dealers

5. Set limits on the pain laboratory animals are allowed to suffer

6. Increase transparency and public accountability on animal experiments � before animals are used

7. Increase compulsory data sharing to prevent unnecessary experiments

8. Establish a national co-ordinating body for the development and validation of replacements � non-animal methods

9. Ensure the effective implementation of non-animal methods � if there is an alternative it must be used

10. TheUK to arrange regular reviews to identify and agree replacement methods for specific animal experiments or uses of animals � with binding targets for replacement

To view the Home Office announcement go to: WMS_2011/July_18_2011/WMS_22_HO_AnimalsTesting.pdf 



Media Contact:

Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, National Anti-Vivisection Society, 0207 630 3344, 07716 018250,

Last Wednesday, the Home Office published the annual 'Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals' for 2010. The results show that there was an increase in the number of animals in the UK by 101,265 (3%) to 3,642,517, compared to 3,541,252 in 2009. There has also been an increase in the number of procedures by 105,186 (3%) to 3,724,726 compared to 3,619,540 in 2009.

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS)

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), founded in 1875, is the world�s premier group campaigning for an end to cruel and futile experiments on animals. Through its department, the Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research, NAVS sponsors non-animal scientific and medical research; annual grants awarded are in the region of �300,000 per

There are numerous efficient, accurate, fast and reliable alternatives to the use of animals. These include human tissue cultures, in vitro andin silico methods, micro-dosing of human volunteers, epidemiological studies and innovative imaging techniques.

Phil Buckley

Media Relations Director

Animal Defenders International
Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP, UK.
Tel. +44 (0)20 7630 3340
Fax. +44 (0)20 7828 2179

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