The scale of animals being bred and used in scientific research has been revealed in Home Office statistics.
The figures show that a total of almost 3.9 million animals were used for the first time, including mice, rats, fish, dogs, cats, monkeys and horses.
While this is a slight fall from last year’s total, Animal Aid believes this is still too high, with each number representing a living sentient animal, capable of feeling pain and distress.
The charity adds that while the entire report makes “chilling” reading certain statistics are particularly striking:
·The number of beagle dogs being used in experiments increased from 3, 241 in 2015 to 3,326 in 2016.
· 1.91 million genetically altered animals were created or bred and were not used in further procedures – 86 per cent of these were mice.
· Of the 2.02 million procedures which were completed in 2016, 581,000 were assessed as of moderate severity, an increase on 2015’s figure.
In recent years, Animal Aid has exposed some of the ‘protocols’ to which animals are subjected in laboratories.
These have included animals having cancer cells injected into their hearts, having their joints surgically damaged, being injected with toxins and being bred to suffer diseases ‘similar’ to humans in a failed attempt to cure people.
Jessamy Korotoga, Animal Aid’s Anti-Vivisection campaign manager, said: “It is essential to remember what this number represents – millions of sentient animals, living lives that are frequently filled with frustration and pain in laboratories, undergoing terrible experiments which frequently end in death.
“Today’s animal research is being conducted in the face of mounting evidence that vivisection does not provide results which are reliably predictive of the human condition.
“It not only fails the animals who are hurt and killed, but also patients and their families.”
Concerns have also been raised by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) regarding the loss of regulations on animal experiments after Brexit.
Some areas covered by EU but not UK law could be dropped including controls on inspections and detailed recording on cat, dog and primate use.
Jan Creamer, president of NAVS, said: “We need a clear commitment from government that all current regulations affecting animals in research will remain in place. Weakening these important measures, particularly implementation of non-animal methods, will be a bad deal for the animals, and for science.”
For further information, visit www.navs.org.uk.