Home Office figures reveal 2% annual rise in the use of animals in medical research
Home Office figures published today showing a 2% rise in the number of animals used in medical research are ‘hugely disappointing’, according to the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research (DHT).
New statistics released by the Home Office reveal that the number of animals used in scientific procedures has increased by 2% in the last 12 months, the highest since 1988 when the new method of recording animal statistics began.
In 2011, nearly 3.8 million animal experiments were carried out involving animals such as mice, cats and dogs.
The use of domesticated animals such as cats, birds and fish has risen by up to 26% in the last year and the number of large animals used in research is also up significantly over 2011 - pigs (up 45%); goats (up 356%); cattle (up 77%); camels (up 678%) and horses (up 93%).
Animal use has reached its highest level in 24 years despite major scientific advances and changes in attitude that have seen the use of alternatives to animal experiments become an accepted part of everyday science.
Kailah Eglington, Chief Executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust, said: “It is hugely disappointing that there has been a 2% rise in levels of animal procedures in the last 12 months.
“The recent updating of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is an important step forward in helping to replace the use of animals in medical research and in enshrining the 3R’s principles of reduction, refinement and replacement of animal experimentation in law.
“But it is clear that much work remains to be done to reduce the use of animals in experiments and to promote the development of proven alternatives that are better scientifically, economically and morally.
“With the Government unwilling to include a ban on the use of stray cats and dogs in the update of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, the worry is that the number of experiments using animals may increase further in future years.”
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Notes to editor:
The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research (DHT) is the UK’s leading medical research charity funding and promoting the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research and testing. The DHT was established in 1970 and is supported by patrons such as Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Brian May and David Shepherd. Funded solely by charitable donations, the DHT has awarded grants to over 140 research projects for some of the most advanced and successful human-related techniques in diverse areas of medical research including cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, kidney, heart and liver disease and diabetes.