UK universities are among the best in the world and are widely regarded as leaders in teaching and research. Yet many people, including prospective students, would be horrified to learn that these prestigious institutions, often deeply rooted in history, have failed to move with modern scientific advances and continue to carry out experiments on animals on a massive scale. Through extensive research and many freedom of information requests, PETA has compiled shocking statistics on the number of procedures carried out on animals at 35 of the top universities in the country.
Over 1.7 Million Victims
Over 1.7 million animals, including mice, rats, birds, fish, monkeys, dogs, and horses, are subjected to horrific procedures on UK campuses every year. Every single one is a unique individual with the capacity to feel pain and fear, and they all suffer intensely in laboratories, where it’s legal for them to be poisoned, cut open, brain-damaged, paralysed, infected with deadly diseases, and abused in countless other ways.
Animal experiments aren’t just cruel – they’re also scientifically flawed. Physiological reactions to drugs vary enormously from species to species, meaning experiments on animals can produce dangerously misleading results that are inapplicable to humans. Consider strokes, which are life-threatening and affect more than 1.2 million people in the UK at a cost in excess of £9 billion. More than 1,000 experimental treatments have been developed for the condition in rodents, but only one drug has been brought to market, and it’s associated with serious health risks.
Replacing Tests on Animals
Fortunately, there’s a variety of modern alternatives to animal testing, including sophisticated tests using human cells and tissues (also known as in vitro methods) and advanced computer-modelling techniques (often referred to as in silico models). In addition to being more humane, these non-animal approaches are more reliable and precise and can be more cost-effective than testing on animals. Many universities are already taking advantage of these alternatives as well as developing new ones. It’s clear that the future of pioneering research lies in animal-free science.
What You Can Do
Please join us in urging UK universities to move away from testing on animals and to invest more in non-animal methods. Select an institution from the list below to see its individual statistics, and take action.
*Data on animal experiments conducted by UK institutions were generated via requests to public bodies submitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Respondents either fulfilled, partially fulfilled, or failed to fulfil the requests.