Figures show 4.12 million experimental procedures were carried out with animals last year, a rise of 0.3% on the previous year. In 2010, the UK government launched a post-election pledge to reduce the numbers of animals used in experiments.
The statistics released yesterday by the Home Office show more than half of the procedures entail breeding genetically modified animals. Overall there was a 6% increase in breeding GM animals and a 5% decrease in other procedures. There were 3.08 million procedures on mice (75% of the total), 507,373 using fish (12%) and 226,265 with rats (6%). The remaining 5% includes birds, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, horses, sheep and cattle.
The written ministerial statement lodged yesterday confirms that fewer than half of the procedures were performed for purposes other than for breeding. Understanding Animal Research also disputes the claims by animal welfare groups, saying that while the number of procedures – including breeding – has risen, the actual number of animals used has reduced by 15,000.
What do you think? Has the government failed in its promise or is this decrease in actual animals an encouraging downward trend?
Personally, while any reduction in the number of sentient creatures being subjected to barbaric and often unnecessary suffering in the name of ‘research’ should be cheered, the fact that an incredible 3 million procedures in one year can be carried out on mice is frankly appalling. The government could, and must, do more to reduce this horrific practice and reverse the trend of animals seen as commodities to better human understanding. Although, given Owen Paterson’s track record around the badger cull, I certainly won’t be holding my breath.
For more information on vivisection in the UK and what you can do to help, visit the BUAV website: http://www.buav.org/
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