It’s been a stresssful month or thereabouts when this came to light. Basically the UK was about to fall in line with European legislation that would allow in some circumstances stray pets to be used in UK lab experiments. As it stands, cats and dogs currently used must be bred for the purpose.
I had already written to my MP (twice) and this week she confirmed she was signing a call for an amendment. It’s strange that this has received very little media coverage other than the campaign led by BUAV and supported by rescue groups across the UK including Celia Hammond Animal Trust and Sunny Harbour Cat & Kitten Rescue. Here’s what Celia Hammond’s facebook page flashed up:
The BUAV is delighted to report the latest development regarding our campaign to prevent the use of stray cats and dogs being used in experiments. Initially, the UK Government planned simply to adopt the new European legislat…ion text, which allows testing on stray cats and dogs under some circumstances. Under pressure from the BUAV, they revised their statement to say that they “could not currently envisage” allowing tests on stray cats and dogs.
In the face of the BUAV’s ongoing campaign, the Government has now offered to strengthen this position and make it an official policy. We welcome this concession and are very grateful to all our supporters whose efforts have produced this change of position. We urge the Government to proceed with a policy statement announcing in the strongest possible terms that it is a permanent British policy not to allow testing on stray animals.
Although some animal rights people had mis-represented the likely impact of this new legislation an analysis of the figures from Europe was enough to get many animal lovers to write to their MPS. In parts of Europe where this legislation exists they use more cats and dogs in experiments than we do. There can be no doubt that there are more stray pets than good homes available. However this legislation would have been a terrible step backwards. For once, I am proud to be British!