Brexit could force the UK to re-conduct animal testing, campaigners warn

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 16 July 2018 in News

Lords to question Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey over the future of chemical regulation after the UK leaves the EU

Image credit: PA

Brexit could force the UK to re-conduct animal testing already carried out in EU states, campaigners have warned.

With the UK set to leave the EU in March 2019, Lords have expressed concern over whether it will remain involved in the EU's regime for regulating chemicals (REACH) – a body which was established with the aim of reducing animal testing.

If the UK does leave REACH, campaigners have warned that in circumstances where it cannot access safety information from EU companies, there is a possibility it would have to repeat chemical tests on animals in order to ensure products meet UK standards.

Appearing in front of the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee last month, Libby Peake, senior policy adviser at the Green Alliance, said that through REACH “the amount of animal testing that has to be done has been drastically minimised”.

In a new inquiry, the Sub-Committee will now question Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey on the possible transfer of REACH into UK law, alongside what associate membership of REACH would look like.

Peers will also investigate the steps being taken to prepare an independent chemicals regulation regime and what impact withdrawing from REACH would have on animal testing in the UK.

Peake added: “If the UK leaves the system and in a circumstance where it cannot access the safety information that is owned by EU companies, there is a possibility that we would have to re-conduct those animal tests in order to ensure the same safety standards in a UK system.”

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