The British government in early July announced that it would continue to keep specific details about animal research in that country secret while expanding the amount of information about the extent and types of animal research conducted in that country.
Home Office minister Caroline Flint announced that after a review of Section 24 — a confidentiality clause included in 1986’s Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act — the government has decided to retain the confidentiality clause for now and review the issue again two years hence.
Flint told reporters,
Protecting scientists and their families from intimidation and harassment, and tackling animal rights extremism is a priority for the Government. Section 24 will be retained for the time being, ensuring that information that is open to abuse is not put directly into the public domain. Animal research is essential to protect human health and has contributed to almost all of the medical advances in the last century.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society characterized the decision as “a dismal bow to the power of a secretive industry,” and the group’s chief executive Jan Creamer told the Press Association,
This is a bittersweet victory for the NAVS, and for those who believe in the public’s right to know what goes on in our name.
The Government has finally agreed to greater openness, but the most meaningful information could still be withheld from the public.
Researchers who experiment on animals to remain anonymous. John-Paul Ford Rojas, Press Association news, July 1, 2004.
Scientific procedures at HLS to stay under wraps. Cambridge News, July 3, 2004.