Extent Of Animal Suffering In UK Labs Revealed

For Immediate Release:

22 October 2015


Julia Baines, PhD, Science Policy Adviser, +44 (0)7731 878 330; [email protected]



Following the release of the Home Office’s Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals 2014, please find a statement from PETA below:

Last year, cats, dogs, monkeys, and other animals were used in more than 3.87 million scientific procedures in the UK, representing suffering on a devastating scale. For the first time, experimenters must also report the actual pain and distress endured by the animals rather than simply predicting levels of suffering before the lab coat is donned and the scalpel drawn. Animals were used in over 1.9 million mild, 557,000 moderate, and 184,000 severe experiments with thousands more never regaining consciousness.

Whilst the figures themselves are shocking, the absurd categorisation of animal suffering shows a complete lack of compassion by both the experimenters and the regulators. A rat classed as only experiencing mild pain and discomfort could have a tube forced down his throat to flood his stomach with drugs every day for months or years, or a mouse could have toxic chemicals injected into his abdomen and the end of his tail cut off with no pain relief at all. The classification of severe suffering is incomprehensible. Sawing off the top of a dog’s head; electrocuting a rabbit; and implanting an electrode in a monkey’s brain are considered to cause only moderate pain and distress.

The government’s intention to ban the use of animals for testing finished household products is a baby step in the right direction, but more must be done to end the suffering of animals used in experiments. Britain must lead by example in international policy by implementing a full and complete animal testing ban for household products and their ingredients and encouraging other European countries to do the same.

Refinement and reduction are not enough. The future of science lies in cutting-edge nonanimal methodologies, such as organs-on-chips, 3-D human skin cultures, micro-models of the brain, and computer models that can accurately predict what happens in human beings. To be on the frontier of science, Britain must commit to funding and implementing only nonanimal research.