Daniel Zeichner, Member of Parliament for Cambridge, has joined eleven other cross-party MPs including Kerry McCarthy(Labour, Bristol East), Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) and Sir David Amess(Conservative, Southend West) in signing an open letter to Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Minister, asking the Government to rule out duplicate chemical tests on animals that may happen as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Leading animal protection organisation Cruelty Free International has repeatedly voiced concerns that both a no deal Brexit or new UK chemical testing laws could result in chemicals companies having to repeat tests already carried out on animals under EU REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) rules.
The MPs welcome the Minister’s commitment that the Health and Safety Executive will be encouraged to recognise the validity of animal testing already undertaken but say: “However, we share the widely held concerns that this position will be undermined by confidentiality conditions relating to data in existing contracts, resulting in the need for testing to be replicated.”
Last month, the House of Lords made clear its concerns about the proposed changes to chemicals laws to be made in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement when it adopted a motion of regret, citing as one of its worries the risk of duplicate animal testing .
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “As a nation of animal lovers, more and more of us are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the use of animals to test cosmetic products.”
“We have a moral duty to ensure that animals are treated in a humane way and in this day and age we should be looking at ways to limit the need for animal testing, not enabling a situation where duplicated tests are going on. The Government needs to be clear that they will not support animals in labs to go through unnecessary suffering as a result of their failure to resolve Brexit.”
Kerry Postlewhite, Director of Public Affairs for Cruelty Free International, said: “We thank Kerry McCarthy and all the other MPs for reinforcing our concerns about the very real risk of duplicate chemical tests on animals. Industry, politicians and the public have all made it clear that this should not be allowed to happen, but so far, the Government’s response has been very disappointing. We hope this time that change and a commitment will be forthcoming.”