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Animal testing and non-animal research methods to be debated by MPs

8 February 2024

On Monday 19 February, MPs will debate petitions relating to animal testing and non-animal research methods.  

Elliot Colburn MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, has been asked by the Committee to open the debate. MPs from all parties can take part, and the Government will send a minister to respond.

End the use of animals for toxicity tests & prioritise non-animal methods (NAMs)

The petition, which has more than 109,000 signatures, states: “Radically divert funding and evolve policy to implement the use of NAMs in all regulatory toxicity tests. Actively encourage use of NAMs, noting that this data is of superior human relevance compared to animal tests data. Establish clear pathways to develop & validate NAMs and end the use of animals”

In its response to the petition, provided on 24 May 2023, the Government said: “The Government is already supporting technologies to reduce reliance on the use of animals in research and we will continue to review funding for non-animal methods as part of our normal processes.”

Ban the use of dogs for testing and research purposes in the UK

The petition, which has more than 31,000 signatures, states: “Dogs display a range of emotions, and their cognitive abilities are complex and advanced. Dogs in laboratories are forced to endure not only psychological trauma due to their restrictive environment but can also undergo harmful experiments that cause pain and suffering.”

In its response to the petition, provided on 6 December 2023, the Government said: “The government does not agree to the proposed ban. Testing would continue in other countries. The UK still requires such data to ensure the safety of medicines before testing in humans.”

What are petitions debates?

Petitions debates are 'general' debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means MPs will not vote on the request of a petition at the end of the debate. Instead, the aim is to give MPs an opportunity to discuss the issues raised by a petition, and get a response from the Government.

Petition debates are scheduled by the Petitions Committee. Only e-petitions started on the Parliament petitions site are considered by the Petitions Committee.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary Copyright