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Jacob Rees-Mogg responds to our letter urging the uptake of non-animal methods in research

We recently wrote a letter to Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg after he asked for the UK public to submit suggestions on post-Brexit regulation. FRAME Policy Officer Jessie Hellier urged the UK government to use Brexit as an opportunity to accelerate its uptake of non-animal methods. Read our full letter to Jacob Rees-Mogg.

On 19th May we received a response from Jacob Rees-Mogg. You can view the letter from Jacob Rees-Mogg or read it below:

“Dear Jessie Hellier,

Thank you for your letter on 13th April, regarding your suggestion to accelerate the uptake of non-animal methods in scientific research and testing, which I read with interest.

The Government recognises that scientific research using animals plays an important part in our understanding of how biological systems work in health and disease. Research using animals supports important scientific discoveries, enabling drug discovery, development and the pipeline of new medicines.

However, the government is also clear that animals must be protected. The legal framework in the UK ensures that animals are only ever used in science where there are no alternatives, where the number of animals used is the minimum needed to achieve the scientific benefit, where the potential harm to animals is limited to that needed to achieve the scientific benefit.

I have passed your correspondence on to my ministerial colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

With every good wish,

Jacob Rees-Mogg.”

As shown in their response letter, the Government clearly support the correct implementation of the 3Rs principles in animal research. In theory, if the 3Rs are implemented correctly no animal would be used in research if a viable alternative exists. In reality, we know that in a medical research system built on years of animal research, the searching for, and implementation of, non-animal approaches is neither easily nor reliably achieved, and is rarely a priority in the current funding and publication system. To ensure the replacement of animals in medical experiments is robustly explored by researchers prior to the planning of any animal studies, continued education, support and motivation are required, alongside an increased focus on the prioritisation of non-animal approaches in regulation and legislation. We also believe stricter requirements and evidence to demonstrate searches for alternatives have been reliably completed before animal research project licenses are granted would be a major step forward in the transition away from animal experimentation for human benefit.

Learn more about the UK legislation and regulation for animals in scientific testing and research.

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