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Shocking 14% rise in animal experiments

Aug 4

Written by:
04/08/2009 14:41  RssIcon

BUAV condemns the biggest year on year increase since 1987 in government annual animal testing numbers

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has strongly condemned the biggest year on year increase since 1987 in animal testing numbers. The figure for the number of procedures conducted on animals is now set at 3,656,080 million which is the highest it has been since 1982. Figures released today by the Home Office reveal that an astonishing 3,583,223 animals were used in tests in 2008, an increase of 14% on the previous year.
Reason for increase:

The most significant increases have been an increase in procedures for the breeding of genetically altered animals (up 19%), pharmaceutical testing (up 20%) and fundamental research (research without a particular therapeutic application) (up 17%)

Key points:

  • A 7% increase in the number of primates used, to a shocking 3,354 animals
  • An increase in acute lethal tests (i.e. where animals die as a result of being poisoned) of 11% to 96,518 procedures
  • An increase in studies causing physical trauma, such as spinal damage of 159% to 12,851 procedures
  • As many as 65% of procedures (2,377,791) were conducted with no general or local anaesthetic  (this is a disturbing increase from 61% in 2007)

Household Product Testing is still going on: 132 procedures specifically for household products were carried out (there was only 1 procedure in 2007), many thousands are still used for chemicals that may end up in household products.
Public opinion:

Despite overwhelming public concern and growing pressure for an outright ban, the UK conducted tests on 3,354 primates, our closest genetic relatives. There was a dramatic increase in macaques to 3,092 animals (23%).

Furthermore, contrary to the UK being hailed as a nation of animal lovers, 252 horses, 11,916 rabbits, 29,250 guinea pigs, 4,271 dogs and 176 cats were subjected to distressing experiments.

This shocking increase comes at a time when the legislation governing animal experiments across Europe is being revised. The welfare of animals is a major point of concern amongst European citizens. Very large majorities of respondents to a recent opinion poll (carried out in six representative EU countries, including the UK, by YouGov) opposed all experiments causing pain or suffering to primates, cats and dogs and those that do not relate to serious or life-threatening human conditions (1). Other surveys show that very many oppose even these experiments. It is clear from the statistics that millions of animals are used in painful experiments which have little to do with finding the cure to life-threatening or serious human conditions.
The Chief Executive of the BUAV, Michelle Thew, said: “This shocking rise in the numbers of animals subjected to experiments is an outrage. This is the seventh year of consecutive rises in the number of animals used. There is clear public concern on this issue. The UK claims to have the tightest regulation on animal testing in the world but it is clear that this is empty rhetoric. We should be leading the way in reducing animal testing, not inflicting even more pain and suffering. Unfortunately, these latest statistics show there is a long way to go, The Government must start listening to the public and put a stop to all this appalling animal suffering.”



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