National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

NAVS calls for an end to gruesome animal tests conducted in secret at top London universities

Posted: 14 August 2014. Updated: 23 January 2017

The NAVS has revealed flawed and unjustifiable animal experiments, approved by the Home Office and carried out by London universities. The tests were discovered when the NAVS reviewed published scientific papers.

Due to current legislation, Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Acts, presently under review, details of many animal experiments remain secret. To open them up to public scrutiny, the NAVS is calling for the repeal of the Section 24 ‘secrecy clause’. See below to find out how you can take action.


Rabbits needlessly subjected to invasive surgical procedures

Gruesome womb transplant research was conducted using rabbits. The paper was published by researchers from a number of institutions including the exclusive Lister Hospital in Chelsea, Imperial College London, University College London and the Royal Veterinary College in London. The five rabbits had their wombs removed, along with a number of large blood vessels. The wombs were transplanted to recipient rabbits and in the four days following the procedure, three of the animals died. The two surviving animals were introduced to males at regular intervals after 8 weeks and then one was killed nine months after the operation and the other eleven months after the operation.

The researchers conceded that the extremely invasive procedure “would not be attempted in a human because of its highly risky strategy”. Similar studies have been undertaken on other species including mice, rats, and sheep, with only the latter resulting in the birth of a healthy offspring. Earlier this year it was reported that several women received successful womb transplants, negating the need for animal procedures.

The number of rabbits experimented on in 2013 rose 12% from the year before, to almost 12,000.


Mice shocked in unnecessary pain tests

In a pain experiment published by numerous authors including researchers from University College London, over 100 genetically modified mice were subjected to a variety of tests which included dripping acetate onto their feet, and applying heat to their feet using lasers, while they were lightly anaesthetized, in order to monitor their detection of pain. Twenty nine individuals had electrodes inserted into their spinal cords and had electrical impulses applied to their feet, whilst an unspecified number underwent surgery to tie off nerves in their legs to simulate nerve damage.

These tests were undertaken despite a huge body of similar pain research in mice, and assertions from some researchers that, despite so-called advances in pain research “in virtually no instances have these advances translated into new drugs for pain control in the clinic.” This particular study used electrical stimulation and only male mice – criticism has been made of studies which use only one gender and also of the use of electrical stimulation for pain studies.

Over 3 million mice were experimented on in 2013.

The findings by the NAVS come just weeks after statistics revealed that universities are the biggest animal experimenters in Britain, undertaking 49% (2.02 million) of all 4.12 million experiments in 2013.

Please take action

  • Ask your MP to support the NAVS campaign to repeal Section 24 - find out who your MP is here.
  • Learn more about Section 24 and our campaign to repeal it.

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