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Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.

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news release

Britain's Shame:
New figures reveal 15 year vivisection high

Home Office figures just released (23 July 2007) show that during 2006 the number of animal experiments in Britain broke the three million barrier.

Only those experiments that potentially cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm are counted. The latest figures represent the highest number of animals sacrificed for 15 years and places Britain at the top of the European cruelty league:

  • All animal experiments up by 115,834 to 3,012,032
  • Experiments with no anaesthetic up by 109,200 to 1,856,200
  • Poisoning experiments up by 27,400 to 420,500
  • Experiments on mice up 106,022 to 2,067,071
  • Experiments on rats down 18,359 to 406,168
  • Experiments on birds up 1,272 to 114,428
  • Experiments on guinea pigs up 1,165 to 30,184
  • Experiments on sheep up 7,048 to 36,377
  • Experiments on cattle down 13,776 to 5,334
  • Experiments on cats up 24 to 524
  • Experiments on dogs down 25 to 7,595
  • Experiments on primates down 448 to 4,204
  • Experiment on fish up 41,212 to 274,066
  • Radiation experiments on all animals up by 2,769 to 11,968
  • Inhalation experiments on dogs up 702 to 732
  • Experiments on GM animals up 77,900 to 1,035,343

Scientific reviews and the TGN1412 affair are highlighting the failures of animal experiments and their lack of relevance to human medicine. The growing toll of suffering and killing in British laboratories is testament to the Government's cavalier approach to both science and animal protection, and highlights New Labour's failure to fulfil its pledge to reduce animal research that it made prior to coming to power in 1997.

Dr Dan Lyons, Uncaged's Campaigns Director, comments:

"Significantly, there's a growing consensus across a wide range of opinion - not just animal rights campaigners - that the Home Office is failing to enforce the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. There are only a tiny number of Inspectors, most of whom have a background in animal experimentation. Not surprisingly, Inspectors have neither the resources nor the inclination to examine the justifications and predictions put forward by animal research applicants.

"Consequently, the likelihood of useful results is exaggerated while often severe animal suffering is overlooked and trivialised. For example, two major research projects in the last decade have been approved on the basis of claims in the application form that they would result in clinical trials of pig organ transplants. But if Inspectors had bothered with the even the most elementary scrutiny, such claims would clearly have been seen as grossly exaggerated, as proved to be the case. In practice, hundreds of thousands of animals are suffering severely in pointless, ill-conceived experiments.

"To make matters worse, a current Home Office review is seeking to weaken the regulatory system yet further. Hiding behind the euphemism of 'Better Regulation', the Home Office is in the process of implementing the drug industry's demands for a reduction in both the information required in project licences and reporting requirements. This will make it even more difficult to conduct the so-called 'cost-benefit assessment' of applications, which is supposed to be the cornerstone of the 1986 Act and is meant to determine whether animal experimentation projects are legal and the level of pain permitted. It will also further undermine public accountability in this highly controversial area. As it is, our ongoing opinion research currently shows that the public overwhelmingly believes that animal experimentation laws are not properly enforced.

"By intensifying their systematic bias towards the animal testing industry, the Government is riding roughshod over the recommendations of its own expert advisory committee and the public, who both wish to see effective independent scrutiny of animal experimentation proposals and targeted action towards its abolition. As an initial step, we need a debate in the House of Commons to illuminate the role of the Animal Procedures Committee - supposedly a key innovation of the 1986 Act - and why the Government is choosing to ignore its mild recommendations for improvements in favour of the demands of animal researchers to be a law unto themselves."

Action

  1. Please visit www.vote4animals.org.uk/lobby.htm to lobby your MP to sign EDMs 811 and 1718, which get to the heart of the political failures that are causing increased suffering for animals in British labs.

  2. You can help stir up public concern by writing to your local and/or a national paper to highlight the appalling upward trend in vivisection, and its causes.

Uncaged Campaigns 25.07.07

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Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.