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Truth about Rise in Animal Experiments
Posted 17 July 2013
Animal Aid exposes the suffering of GM mice
The government has announced a sharp increase in the number of scientific ‘procedures’ conducted on animals in British labs last year. The jump is from 3.7 million in 2011 to 4.1 million. The dramatic rise comes despite a post-election pledge by the coalition government that it would work to reduce the total. The use of GM mice for disease research accounts for most of the increase, although experiments on non-human primates (up 22 per cent) and goats (up nearly 750 per cent) also contributed to the overall increase.
Official statements this week from Home Office Minister, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, and from the top official in the Home Office department that regulates animal research, are designed to give the impression that virtually all the increase in the use of GM mice relates to harmless breeding programmes. In fact, the creation of GM animals involves several invasive and painful procedures, including major surgery and castration. The subsequent breeding of ‘established colonies’ involves the manipulation of the reproductive cycles, behaviour and living conditions of millions of animals in British labs. A related category of genetically damaged mice are those with ‘harmful mutations’. Often the damage has been caused by deliberate chemical poisoning. The new figures show that the number of procedures involving these animals has increased by around 107,000.
As Animal Aid noted in its landmark report, Science Corrupted, published in February this year, most GM procedures are crude and unpredictable1. The intention is to create the equivalent of human diseases such as cancer, heart failure and dementia. But even though the mice endure a range of painful or distressing conditions, including seizures, multiple tumours and mental derangement, the results fall short on scientific grounds by being poor approximations of the human conditions.
In addition to the deliberately induced symptoms, some mice will face further torments by being subjected to cruel experiments. They might be poisoned, injected with acid, forced to inhale tobacco smoke, or given electric shocks.
Says Animal Aid Scientific Consultant, Dr Adrian Stallwood:
‘The government solemnly pledged soon after coming to office that it would reduce the number of animal experiments. Instead, we have now had three years of increases. A good deal of the rise relates to the use of GM mice, with the government falsely implying that much of this experimental work is pain-free. The other claim is that the benefits to human medicine are potentially immense. That is also false. The evidence, as set out in Animal Aid’s Science Corrupted report published earlier this year, shows that therapies that work effectively in GM mice “models” have gone on to fail decisively when administered to human patients.’
Notes to Editors
- State-of-the-art non-animal methods, including the use of stem cells, microarrays and computer modelling, coupled with traditional clinical, autopsy and epidemiological studies, produce information and results that are directly applicable to people.
- Read Animal Aid’s report into GM mouse experiments, Science Corrupted, and watch a short film about GM mouse research, including footage of experiments.
- Dr Adrian Stallwood MBBS is a specialty doctor in emergency medicine in West Wales, and a clinical teacher of medical undergraduates at Cardiff University.
- For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr Stallwood or Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler, please call 01732 364546.