Animal testing - shock figures

Readers may be shocked to learn that in 2014, 3.87 million experiments were completed on animals in Great Britain. Of these, 1.94 million (50%) related to the ‘creation’ of genetically altered animals. The latest Government statistics reveal animals including mice, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys, dogs, cats and horses all suffered in UK laboratories.

The experiments carried out included toxicity (poisoning) tests in which animals are force fed, forced to inhale or injected with drugs and chemicals to see what dose will sicken or kill them.

Other experiments can involve irradiation; distress caused from severe water deprivation; inescapable electric shocks; surgery to implant electrodes in brains or recording devices in bodies and surgery to deliberately damage or even remove parts of the animal’s brain.

Shockingly, during 2014, there was an increase in some toxicity tests, such as the cruel skin irritation/skin corrosion tests using rabbits, for which there are valid accepted alternatives to using animals. This makes a mockery of the claims made by the Home Office and research industry that animals are only used when absolutely necessary. It is unacceptable that animals continue to suffer even when tests are, no longer required by international regulations or alternatives are available.

The UK should be leading the way in reducing animal testing, yet we remain one of the world’s largest users of animals in experiments.

Michelle Thew

Chief Executive Cruelty Free International