Media Centre

Animal Experiments in UK Labs Highest in a Generation

For Immediate Release:

10 July 2014

Contact:

Julia Baines, PhD, Science Policy Adviser, +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; JuliaB@peta.org.uk

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS IN UK LABS HIGHEST IN A GENERATION

Following the release of the Home Office's Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals 2013, please find a short statement from PETA below:

Last year, 4.02 million animals were used in experiments, a 52 per cent increase since 2000. Genetic engineering experiments, which are responsible for the largest death toll, are imprecise, inefficient and unreliable "Frankenstein science". Animal mothers undergo invasive procedures to insert certain genes into or remove certain genes from their offspring. Only 3 to 5 per cent of animals who are born carry the genes of interest – the rest of the 95 per cent of babies are killed soon after birth. Of those allowed to live, the young often die prematurely or suffer from unpredictable abnormalities, such as increased sensitivity to pain, malfunctioning organs, susceptibility to seizures or rampant tumour growth. Dramatic increases were also seen in the number of experiments conducted on monkeys and guinea pigs.

While the numbers themselves are shocking, the reality of the suffering endured by these animals in their barren, windowless prisons is still shrouded by a veil of secrecy. It is now more urgent than ever that the government lift the blanket ban on the release of information about animal experiments by repealing Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. The Freedom of Information Act is the only means by which research can be properly scrutinised to ensure the best possible outcome for people and animals.

Evidence recently published in the BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) demonstrates that experiments on animals systematically fail to benefit humans. Instead, they lead to expensive and fruitless clinical trials which can endanger human life, cause millions of animals to suffer, cost billions of pounds and lead researchers away from possible beneficial therapies. Greater investment in the development of alternatives to animal testing is essential if the UK is to be at the forefront of science through the development of progressive, cutting-edge non-animal tests that can accurately predict outcomes in humans.