Tuesday 6 May 2014

UK proposes greater transparency on animal research

Government seeks to ditch rule preventing release of laboratory information. 

01 May 2014 

Organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been campaigning for the disclosure of more information on animal research in the United Kingdom.

The government of the United Kingdom wants to jettison rules that prevent it releasing any confidential information it holds about animal research, as part of a continuing push towards openness about such work.

Animal-rights groups have long complained about what they characterise as a “secrecy clause” that prevents details of animal research in the UK being made public. The Home Office collects huge amounts of information such as the type of work done, the people and institutions doing it, and the results of inspections at laboratories. However it is currently prevented from revealing anything potentially considered confidential under ‘section 24’ of the rules governing animal research.

Today the government said that it would like repeal this blanket ban on information disclosure, as it has previously promised, and requested comment on its proposal. In place of section 24, it would like to introduce a new rule prohibiting disclosure only of information relating to “people, places and intellectual property”.

Home Office minister Norman Baker said in the consultation document released today, “To maintain public trust we must be as open and transparent as possible about activities under the regulatory framework.”

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