The UK Government has stated that it will insist on tougher legal requirements than those required by the latest EU legislation on the subject.
The EU Directive on Animal Testing was drafted in 2010 and the UK has until 2013 to implement the proposals. However, in many cases the existing UK rules are more stringent than those required by the EU Directive.
The Government's stance on animal testing has been welcomed by animal-rights groups, but the RSPCA has expressed disappointment that they have not gone further.
"It's been unfortunate that we've had to battle for 18 months to pretty much stand still and maintain the standards that we currently have," said Barney Reed, senior scientific officer at the RSPCA.
Animal testing forms a vital part of research for future drug treatments and helps scientists and pharmaceutical companies better understand a wide variety of disease processes.
Professor Roger Lemon of University College London approves the decision.
According to the BBC, Professor Lemon said: "We applaud the Home Office decision to hold on to those high standards," claiming that the UK has some of the highest animal-safety standards in the world.
Medical-research groups have welcomed the move by the EU to initiate standards which will need to be respected across the EU member states from early next year. Experts believe that these standards will help to underpin future collaborative efforts.
Kailah Eglington is the chief executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust, an organisation founded in 1970 to fund research into alternative methods to animal testing.
"The current 'gentlemen's agreement' of replacing animal experiments with non-animal alternatives will be reinforced by transposition of key new EU provisions into UK law," she said in a statement.
"The new regulations will help replace the use of animals in all medical research and enable more scientists to focus on developing human-relevant alternatives throughout Europe," she added.
The Medical Research Council, which coordinates medical research funding across the UK welcomed the Government's response to calls from within industry for reduced bureaucracy relating to the regulation of animal experimentation.
Cruelty to animals and the law (FindLaw)