12 April 2022
Animal Testing (Medicines & Drugs)

Regarding EDM 175 and 674 - I do not believe that signing this Early Day Motion was necessary as significant steps are already being taken by the Government to address this issue.

Animal research still plays a role in providing vital safety information for potential new medicines. It is worth remembering that, as a result of findings from animal studies, a large number of potential new drugs never get as far as being tested in humans. Some aspects of the toxicological assessment of new medicines cannot be adequately assessed in humans, and animal data will be the only kind available. 

Without animal testing, it is highly likely that a large number of potentially dangerous new medicines would be tested in healthy volunteers and patients in clinical trials, and I know ministers believe that this would be quite unacceptable. However, animals are only used when there are no suitable alternatives, and by encouraging new cutting-edge approaches to science we will ensure that standards of animal welfare are improved.

I welcome the Government's commitment to the development of non-animal technologies. Such technologies have the potential to reduce the reliance on the use of animals, improve the efficiency of drug research and development and to deliver safer, cheaper, and more effective medicines to patients. Ministers have assured me that they continue to actively support and fund the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research.