As Home Office Figures Reveal Fifth Successive Increase In Animal Experiments, New Poll Reveals Public Favours Ban On Animal-Test Suffering

 

For Immediate Release:
23rd July 2007


Contact:
Alistair Currie 020 7357 9229, ext 245
Karen Chisholm 020 7357 9229, ext 229


London – Today, as new Home Office figures reveal that more than 3 million experiments were performed on animals in 2006, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Europe (PETA) released an exclusive public opinion poll conducted by YouGov showing that 80 per cent of the GB public is in favour of some form of a ban on experiments which cause suffering to animals. Forty-three per cent of respondents think the government should support a ban on experiments causing any suffering to animals, and 34 per cent think the government should support a ban on experiments causing the most suffering to animals. The poll questioned adults on whether the government should support bans on such experiments in new legislation which is currently passing through the European Union. The Home Office figures show that a total of 2.94 million individual animals were used in 2006, an increase of 4.6 per cent since 2005. The number of experiments performed has broken the 3 million barrier for the first time since the early 1990s.


The poll, which was sponsored by PETA and conducted this July, also shows that more than half of respondents want the government to actively introduce a strategy to reduce animal experiments (51 per cent) and increase the allocation of funds for developing non-animal research methods (53 per cent). Animal experiments in the UK were reduced by half between the 1970s and 1997, but since 2000, numbers have been rising. Government expenditure on developing alternatives to animal experiments is currently estimated to be between £2 million and £10 million each year – a maximum of only 0.2 per cent of the government’s total science budget of £5 billion.


Why does more than half the public favour non-animal experiments? Animals in laboratories are shocked, infected, burned, poisoned, surgically mutilated and subjected to many other cruel experiments that cannot reliably predict human responses. US Food and Drug Administration figures show that 92 per cent of drugs which pass animal trials are found to be unsafe or ineffective in human trials and never reach the market. More than 10,000 people are killed every year in the UK by side effects of prescription medicines – now the fourth biggest killer in the Western world – which were approved after being tested on animals.
 
“PETA’s poll shows that 80 per cent of the British public want action on the suffering of animals in laboratories”, says PETA Europe senior research and campaign coordinator Alistair Currie. “It’s time for the government to ban animal tests in favour of more reliable and humane non-animal testing methods. If Gordon Brown wants to show he’s listening, this is the perfect place to start.”


For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.


Notes for Editors


Polling figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 2,169 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6 and 9 July 2007. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


Results


Q1. Some people think that animal experiments are sometimes needed to find diseases or cures in human health, whilst other people object to them on various grounds.


Animal experiments in Britain halved between 1970 and 1997, with no further decline overall since then.


Do you think the Government should:


Have a strategy to reduce animal experiments – 51%
Continue with the current approach – 38%
Have a strategy to increase animal experiments – 3%
Don’t know – 8%


Q2. Non-animal research methods have replaced many tests previously done with animals. These are used if the Government judges them to be as good or better than animal methods.


The organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) estimates that the Government spends up to £10 million each year on developing non-animal research methods and that the Government’s total science research budget is around £5,000 million per year.


On the basis of this information do you think the Government should:


Increase the allocation of funds for developing non-animal research methods – 53%
Leave the funding unchanged – 33%
Decrease the allocation of funds for developing non-animal research methods – 5%
Don’t know – 8%


Q3. European law governing animal experiments is currently being revised. At present, the law classifies the suffering caused to animals in these experiments as “mild”, “moderate” and “substantial”.


Do you think that the UK should:


Support a ban on experiments causing any suffering to animals – 43%
Support a ban on experiments causing the most suffering – 34%
Support a ban on experiments causing the least suffering – 3%
Not support any ban on animal experiments – 14%
Don’t know – 6%