PETA’S Response To Publication Of Annual Statistics On Animal Experiments

July 21, 2009

Science Correspondents
Alistair Currie 020 7357 9229 ext 245; [email protected]
Sam Glover 020 7357 9229 ext 229; [email protected]

We have seen increases year on year in contradiction to public sentiment, but the numbers in this year’s statistics are shocking by any standards: the worst numbers since the 1980s and the biggest proportionate rise in animal use since records began in the 1940s. Over three-and-a-half million individual animals suffered and died in UK laboratories in 2008, 15% more than in 2007. Numbers of genetically manipulated animals and primates rose by similar amounts. This is a runaway train and the government needs to act in the public and the animals’ interests without delay.

PETA deplores these numbers and the scale of suffering they represent – and we’re also profoundly disappointed that in these circumstances the government thinks statistics are a substitute for real transparency and accountability. The public can find out exactly how many mice and monkeys were used each year but has no right to know what actually happened to a single one. The government has fought tooth and nail to keep freedom of information out of the regulation of animal experiments, but in 2009 that’s certainly not good enough: this culture of secrecy and paternalism won’t wash with the public anymore. The government approves every experiment on every animal in advance – given that numbers are rocketing up while numbers of new medical treatments are going down and 90 per cent of drugs which pass animal trials fail in humans, what we really need to know is how decisions are being made and if anyone is regulating the regulators.

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