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Animal Free Research UK calls for Herbie’s Law – legislation to accelerate animal-free science

Published on May 21, 2024

Herbie's Law logo - Animal Free Research UK

Animal Free Research UK is launching the campaign for Herbie’s Law – a call for Government to introduce legislation to accelerate the transition to animal-free medical research.

The law, which is named after Animal Free Research UK CEO Carla Owen’s beagle who was bred for research, would set a milestone of replacing animals in medical research by 2035, significantly boosting funding and introducing supportive policies to make this bold ambition a reality. Inspired by the Climate Change Act, Herbie’s Law would be a world-first, calling for a ‘decade of change’ and committing replacement of animals in medical research to the statute books.

Leading actor Carol Royle said, ‘As Patron of Animal Free Research UK, I am profoundly touched by the plight of animals who endure unimaginable suffering in the name of science. Herbie’s story is as heartbreaking as it is full of hope – destined for the laboratory but spared this terrible fate. But the truth is that millions of animals each year do face the reality of being tested on in British laboratories, and an incredible 92% of drugs that have passed animal tests fail in later human trials. Thankfully, there is a better way. Technologies that are based on human biology offer the best possible chance of making medical breakthroughs. I wholeheartedly support Animal Free Research UK’s crucial campaign for Herbie’s Law and urge everyone to join us.’

Cross-party MPs and Peers including Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley, Jess Phillips, Wera Hobhouse and John McNally are lending their support to an Open Letter to Science Minister Andrew Griffith. The letter sets out the benefits of transitioning to new technologies in medical research, including boosting the UK economy and the potential for patients. Animal Free Research UK is encouraging more MPs and Peers to add their names to the letter to show the breadth of support for this issue.

Animal Free Research UK’s CEO Carla Owen says, ‘It is fantastic to see such strong cross-party support for this campaign already. My beloved Herbie is one of the lucky ones, but it is unthinkable to imagine what could have been. For every Herbie, there are countless other animals who aren’t so lucky. The Government recently announced that a roadmap to end the use of animals is on the horizon. We’re calling for them to go further, climb into the driving seat and accelerate towards change. For all the animals we love and cherish, and for patients who are awaiting breakthroughs, we must introduce Herbie’s Law.’


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