Press release

UK maintains high level of protection for animals used in scientific research

New measures to ensure the protection of animals used in scientific procedures were set out by the government today as part of a drive to strengthen and harmonise animal welfare standards across Europe.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The measures form part of a new EU directive which uses as a template many of the UK’s existing high standards and will ensure similar levels of protection are applied in other European countries.

Home office minister Lynne Featherstone said:

‘This government expects and requires the highest standards in animal research in the UK and the application of this new EU directive will ensure these high standards are maintained.

‘While we recognise the need to use animals in order to help develop potentially life-saving drugs and treatments, we are also working to reduce the use of animals in research.

‘As part of this ongoing work, we will continue to promote measures that will ‘replace, reduce and refine’ the use of animals, and we will also be introducing a ban on the testing of household products on animals in due course.’

The transposition of the new directive was subject to a thorough consultation process which resulted in responses from over 13,000 individuals and almost 100 organisations who submitted views and ideas on how best to maintain the UK’s stringent animal welfare standards.

Some of the rules being retained by the UK include a continued ban on procedures involving endangered species and great apes and maintaining our current high standards of care and accommodation for all animals.

Notes to editors

1.  The UK must transpose EU directive 2010/63/EU by 10 November 2012 with national legislation being implemented from 1 January 2013. The new standards for housing will come into effect from January 2017.  In the meantime, the UK’s current housing standards will continue to apply.

  1. A written ministerial statement on the transposition of the EU directive can be found at

  2. The government’s response to the consultation on options for transposition of European directive 2010/63/EU can be found at

  3. For more information on the EU Directive please call Matthew Francis in the home office press office on 020 7035 3535.

Updates to this page

Published 17 May 2012