Animal Aid

Home Office admits ignorance on animal tests

Posted 1 June 2004

In a startling admission in response to a parliamentary question by Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, Home Office Minister Caroline Flint has stated that her department has not commissioned or evaluated any formal research on the usefulness of animal experiments (March 31).

The admission makes nonsense of repeated claims that all applications to conduct experiments on animals first have to pass a stringent 'cost/benefit' analysis, whereby the perceived gains for human health are measured against the pain inflicted.

Without a formal assessment of the scientific merits of animal experiments, such a 'cost/benefit' analysis is plainly worthless.

Animal tests take a drubbing

The validity of animal experiments took another heavy drubbing with the publication of an analysis of previously published reports on animal experiments. This was undertaken on behalf of the 'RATS' (Reviewing Animal Trials Systematically) group by scientists from the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, Yale University and the London School of Hygiene. The analysis posed the question: 'Where is the evidence that animal experiments benefit humans?'

The scientists' final report cites examples where animal research had been badly designed or where it had been carried out alongside human trials, rendering it completely unnecessary.

In one study, it found that clinical (patient) trials were conducted despite the fact that animal tests had revealed symptoms which indicated potential danger to people. It also found that there were many weaknesses in claims that animal experiments have clinical relevance to patients.

The overall conclusion is that animal testing procedures should urgently be reviewed.

Outrage

This news item is reproduced from the Summer 2004 issue of Outrage, sent free to all Animal Aid members - click here to find out more about membership.

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