Animal Free Research UK at the Conservative and Labour Party Conferences
Published on October 31, 2023
In October, the Public Affairs team travelled to Manchester and Liverpool for the Conservative and Labour party conferences. There, we had one major aim: to grow support for the transition to animal-free, human-specific medical research.
With the exhibition halls at each conference teaming with MPs, Peers, Councillors, candidates, party members and the like, hosting an exhibition stand was an effective way of sharing our message with a wide range of people. At our stand, we invited visitors to take part in a virtual reality tour of our Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence, view organ-on-a-plate technology first-hand, learn about our projects around the UK and sign our pledge to support ethical innovation.
It was energising to meet with so many parliamentarians across both conferences, and to receive over 20 new MP and Peer signatures on our pledge – not to mention over a hundred signatures from other delegates. Away from our stand, we also had valuable conversations with Ministers and Shadow Ministers, built relationships with think-tanks and parliamentary advisors, and spoke up for animal-free science at fringe events. Unsurprisingly, our small team was exhausted by the last day but proud that we had truly made the most of every moment to advocate for progress.
At the Labour Conference, passionate and charismatic Will Young chaired a panel on non-animal research featuring our Science Director Jarrod Bailey, Daniel Zeichner (
Shadow Environment Minister), Carol Treasure (XcellR8), Jessamy Korotoga (Animal Aid) and Karl Bygrave (LUSH). The panel described the animal testing status quo before telling the 70-strong audience that better, more ethical methodologies are being developed and used. It was great to hear broad consensus on the fact that the sector is now at a crucial tipping point.
At the Conservative Conference, we were honoured to have been visited by legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who signed our pledge to support ethical innovation.
Throughout both conferences, we were visited by dedicated MPs who have supported our cause for a long time, but also MPs who had not engaged with us or human-specific research before. Explaining the capabilities of cutting-edge technologies to these MPs, who then left asserting their support for what we do, was particularly rewarding.
In fact, some MPs told us that animal-free research was an issue that their constituents had contacted them about, so thank you for responding to our calls to send an email to your MP. The more policymakers we have on our side, the louder our voice will be in Parliament, and you play a much-valued role in letting your MPs know that this is a topic that you care about.
Whilst we increased our network of engaged MPs and Peers and spread the word about human-specific medical research to a wide range of people, we are still waiting for the Government to take the necessary action to accelerate the transition. We urgently need the UK to act so it can remain at the forefront of ethical innovation. As a nation of animal-lovers, and as a country with world-leading universities, we truly are best-placed to lead the way. With that in mind, we will continue to engage with policymakers until we get the leap forward that patients and animals so urgently need.
So, to everyone we connected with at the conferences, thank you for taking the time to speak with us to learn more about human-specific medical research. Momentum is undoubtedly building. Together, we can realise our vision of a world where human diseases are cured faster with human-specific technologies.