I would like to reassure you that the UK's rigorous regulatory system ensures that no animal testing or research takes place if a non-animal alternative exists that would achieve the scientific outcomes sought. The National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) is the UK’s leading scientific based organisation dedicated to replacing, refining, and reducing the use of animals in scientific research and testing. The NC3Rs supports the research community to use the latest science and technology to replace animal studies, providing new approaches for biomedical research, and avoiding the time and cost associated with animal models.
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. This would be completely unacceptable. That said, 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 deliver safer, cheaper, and more effective medicines to patients. Ministers have also stressed 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.
With regard to the concerns about the wearing of bearskin caps, please be assured that I would like to see no more real bearskin used, given that I believe that there are suitable synthetic alternatives and I am pressing the Ministry of Defence to start using them.
I can assure you that the Government is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of animals.