Animal Aid

Animal experiments rise again

Posted 8 September 2004
Caged beagle

Animal Aid statement on the 2003 Home Office statistics relating to animal experiments

Animal Aid is dismayed by the latest Home Office figures showing a significant increase in the use of laboratory animals. Many of the tests involve considerable suffering and - based on an objective assessment of the evidence - do not provide data relevant to human medicine.

The scientific objection to animal research applies equally to the use of 'transgenic' animals. Such animals, despite being genetically manipulated, are no more reliable as 'models' for human disease research and safety testing than 'standard' laboratory animals.

The increase in animal use also stands in stark contrast to the government's stated aim of reducing such numbers. Nor do these figures reveal the fact that millions more specially-bred animals are killed simply because they are 'surplus to requirement'.

The government itself acknowledged in a recent parliamentary answer that it 'has not commissioned or evaluated any formal research on the efficacy of animal experiments' - i.e. whether such experiments are useful. Nor has it any plans to do so. This is all the more shocking in the light of a survey of GPs published this month, 80% of whom said that they mistrust animal experiments, and would welcome an independent scientific inquiry into the questionable efficacy of animal testing.

Summary of increases in 2003

Toxicity test
  • 2.4% rise in number of animals (66,000 more animals than in 2002)

  • 2% rise in number of experiments (now 2.8 million)

  • Massive 21% increase in monkey experiments

  • 8% increase in the use of GM (genetically modified) animals

  • 53% increase in experiments for food additives

  • 37% increase in experiments causing physical trauma

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