The Guardian begins a series on the political parties and their science policies. First up is the Liberal Democrats. The other parties are to follow and I will post them here as soon as they are available. Animal research is one of several issues addressed. Here is the LibDem’s response in full on animal research from their science spokesperson, Evan Harris.
The Guardian asks: Is animal testing necessary? Are the ethical concerns outweighed by the benefits? How would you like to see regulations on animal testing change under your government, if at all?
It is not a case of ‘ethical concerns outweighing benefits’. It would be unethical not to do animal research, given the enormous potential and past benefits to medicine and public health that such research has brought. It has been vital in work on dialysis, diabetes, transplants, and the polio vaccine, to give just a few examples, and could be vital in the search for treatments for HIV/AIDS and malaria eradication. We would maintain the current strict welfare standards on animal research, and support the replacement, refinement, and minimisation of the use of animals in research as far as possible, so that only the research which is completely necessary is done. We therefore oppose the use of animals in testing cosmetics or household products.