During last year's EU Referendum, voters were informed that staying in the EU is vital to preserve animal welfare. The whole purpose behind Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU states that the Union and Member States shall pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals.

The intention behind the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations, which Brussels implemented in 2006 and enacted in 2007, was to encourage alternative methods to testing animals. The purpose behind this legislation is good, but like with many European initiatives, it cannot be enacted on a European-wide scale.

This is because different member states struggle to enforce it.

"What electors were told about the EU's animal welfare laws last year was a lie"

What electors were told about the EU's animal welfare laws last year was a lie. The regulations are there to protect animals, but they have unanimously failed. And what is worse is that since June 2016's Brexit result, the EU has now proposed to increase the number of animal experiments under the REACH initiative. It is a relief Britain is leaving this trading bloc and we now have an Environment Secretary in Michael Gove who is radically improving sentences against those harsh to animals.

In 2009, the EU allowed duplicative testing on animals. In 2011-15, thousands of animals were being killed and poisoned in avoidable tests. In 2015, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) was found guilty of force-feeding 1,300 animals during pregnancy and refused to publish information which demonstrated that deadly tests could have been avoided.

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Thanks to PETA UK's campaigning, ECHA now has to publish information that can be assessed before animals are experimented on.

The work that PETA UK has done to stop animal testing throughout the EU has been profound. They persuaded the ECHA in 2009 to publish guidance on how animal testing can be avoided. In 2014, they exposed the ECHA's failure to minimalise animal testing after complaining to the European Ombudsman about this issue. They then failed to do it again in 2015. The Ombudsman is also still investigating PETA UK's complaint in 2016 that they were failing to stop cosmetics testing on animals. The ECHA has since promised to focus on alternatives to animal testing.

PETA UK has been successful in halting animal cruelty throughout the EU, but there is so much more work to do. Leaving this trading bloc provides Britain with an opportunity to be a global leader in animal welfare under Gove's direction. #Europe #European Union #Brexit