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UK Departure from EU Could Mean Disaster for Animals

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, millions of animals might be left vulnerable to testing, vivisection, and genetic breeding.

Animal welfare groups are left worrying about the fate of millions of animals following the exit of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU), as a new report has revealed that 4.14 million scientific procedures on living animals were carried out in the UK in 2015. The report by the UK’s Home Office found a 12 percent increase of tests on primates, a 50 percent increase of tests on pigs, and an overall increase of animal testing since 2013 (which includes acts of vivisection and the breeding of genetically altered animals), The Independent reports. Adherence to stringent animal-focused laws implemented and upheld by the EU—a ban on the import of animal-tested cosmetics, for example—will no longer be mandatory in the UK after Brexit, animal welfare group Cruelty Free International said, leaving open countless loopholes for needless exploitation. "Given that the latest Home Office statistics reveal that a staggering 4.14 million scientific procedures were carried out on animals in British laboratories in 2015, we should have a cure for everything,” Julia Baines, science policy adviser at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said. “As Britain prepares to leave the EU, the new government must commit to maintaining, at a minimum, a ban on tests deemed illegal in Europe and seize the opportunity to become a global leader in innovative science by phasing out tests on animals and investing in cutting-edge non-animal research methodologies.” Officials say the unprecedented exit could be finalized by late 2018.

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