National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Science fact not fiction needed to stop the rise of the mutants

Posted: 18 July 2019


Did you know that more than two-thirds of ALL animal experiments in Britain involve the use and creation of genetically modified (GM) animals?

New government figures show that of 3.5 million procedures conducted on animals in 2018, 1.7 million were for the ‘creation and breeding’ of animals with genetic modifications and 729,163 experiments on GM animals.

Please join the NAVS in calling on GM animal users to utilise science fact rather than fiction to benefit human health and end the needless suffering of millions of animals each year.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Sanger Institute are already taking the lead on this. Last month, the MRC indicated that it plans to close the Mouse Genetics Unit at Harwell Institute in Oxford due to “the changing scientific landscape”.

The news followed the announcement that the Wellcome Sanger Institute was closing its GM mouse facility near Cambridge, its Director stating it was “the best way to continue to deliver the science and make the discoveries that impact on human health”.


Despite the known problems of natural species differences, GM animals are created with a particular defect in order to “model” human disease. Just 3-5% of the animals created actually carry the defective gene – meaning that vast numbers of animals are killed, because they are unwanted.

Animals suffer from both intended and unintended mutations as well as prolonged suffering for breeding – with repeated surgeries, egg collection, implantation, and repeated blood and tissue testing. As with animal use as a whole, the most commonly used species for GM research are mice and fish.

An earlier investigation by the NAVS of the MRC Harwell GM mouse facility found: severe limb deformities, fused lobes in the lungs of animals, abnormal bone growth causing animals to have extremely short faces and upturned noses, animals chewing through their own skin, and congestive heart failure which caused one mouse to swell some three times their normal size. The investigation also uncovered issues of uncontrolled breeding resulting in injury, fighting and death of animals, and regular water leaks into cages, resulting in hypothermia and animal deaths.

With little known about the procedures being conducted on GM and other animals in British labs, the NAVS continues to call for the removal of the “secrecy clause” in legislation governing animal use – the outdated Section 24 of the 1986 Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. Despite a government public consultation on the issue five years ago, which the NAVS and many of our supporters made submissions to, its findings have still to be released.

How you can help lab animals today

  • Contact your MP here and ask them to urge the government to release findings of its Section 24 consultation – without this secrecy clause we hope to review animal research requests before they take place
  • Please also ask your MP to support Early Day Motion 2228 which calls on the government to accelerate the development of innovative and non-animal science.
  • Support our work, donate here

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