National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Progressive Science? Glasgow University Is Stuck In the Dark Ages

Posted: 31 July 2008


Progressive Science? Glasgow University Is Stuck In the Dark Ages say NAVS on World Laboratory Animal Day

The National Anti-Vivisection Society calls for crackdown on needless academic research

Glasgow – April 24th is World Laboratory Animal Day and this year the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is naming and shaming Glasgow University as among the leading universities guilty of horrific and unnecessary animal experiments. With the amount of alternative methods now readily available to scientists NAVS are hoping Laboratory Animal Day 2008 will serve as a timely reminder for researchers to close the door on animal tests.

The European Commission is currently considering Written Declaration 86/609/EEC under the revision of rules for the animal experimentation across Europe. The NAVS says that the shocking experiments in Glasgow confirm that current lab rules, both UK and European, indulge needless academic research and a crack down is desperately needed.

Glasgow universities’ experiments on mice to observe the effects of a chemical on cancerous skin tumours are both horrifying by method and also by the fact they need never have been carried out. By inducing a great deal of suffering on to these tiny animals, scientists aimed to observe a chemical effect on tumour-riddled genetically modified and non-genetically modified mice. All this suffering could have easily been prevented by replacing the animal tests with a complete study on human biopsy tissue.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) said: “Using human tissue avoids the need to extrapolate the data from another species and avoids any complications due to species differences. It has long been noted how vast the species divide is and the success rate of human tissue sample methods.”

April 24th is World Laboratory Animal Day which is recognised by the United Nations and will be marked by campaigners on every continent of the world. The NAVS, who founded World Lab Animal Day, are using this to highlight experiments throughout the UK.

In other gruesome experiments:

  • Monkeys were brain damaged to simulate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (Oxford University)
  • Dogs were cut open to test synthetic vein grafts (University College London)
  • Guinea pigs were gassed with ozone to study lung disease (Cardiff University)
  • Pigs had heart surgery to compare a new drug to aspirin (University of Strathclyde)
  • Pigs had their livers microwaved to test a probe for liver tumours (University of Bath)
  • Mini-pigs were given cystitis to look at kidney scarring (University of Newcastle Upon Tyne)
  • Lambs were cut open and infected with bacteria to assess colonisation in the intestine (University of Bristol)

All the animals were killed at the end of the experiments

Yet all of this suffering is unnecessary. Advanced scientific methods are available, and these have the advantage that they provide evidence of likely human responses, thus avoiding the problem of species differences.

NAVS awards grants totalling £300,000 each year to the development of innovative non-animal scientific methods through its research wing, the Lord Dowding Fund. Current research projects include neuroscience, toxicology, cataracts, and learning technology. These research projects are documented in the magazine New Science, which also features the latest developments in the world of research without animals.


NAVS Recommendations for Written Declaration 86/609/EEC

  • A ban on the use of Great Apes and wild-caught primates, and a timetable for the phasing out of the use of all primates, to be replaced with advanced methods.
  • Protection for all animals used in research, e.g. invertebrates, foetal and embryonic animals, genetically modified and those killed for organs, or as surplus to requirements.
  • Ban on duplication – 160,000 animals suffer in duplicated regulatory tests each year in the European Union.
  • Bans on the use of animals for tobacco, alcohol and household products, psychological and behavioural research, military experiments.
  • Transparency, accountability, freedom of information and data sharing.
  • Strict licensing laws for projects and establishments.
  • Harmonization across Europe and standards for training of personnel.
  • Ethical and scientific reviews of animal use, before and after projects.
  • More introductions of advanced non-animal scientific techniques.
  • More regular reviews of the legislation – every 2 yea

World Laboratory Animal Day:
Paint, polish, washing powder, cosmetics, and food additives are just some of the products in Scottish homes that may have been tested on animals.
Commercial tests like these are conducted in secret. A paint test leaked to NAVS from a UK laboratory revealed how rats were restrained and forced to inhale paint. Unable to move, with the air thick with paint steadily filling their noses, throats and lungs. Within three hours half were dead and the others were close to death.

After years of campaigning NAVS secured a UK ban on testing cosmetics on animals in 1997. of. Five years later, in 2003 Europe confirmed it would phase out all testing of cosmetics on animals – but this phase out is not yet complete – although numbers have dropped dramatically, thousands of animals continue to be used by some European cosmetics companies. Many US companies continue to test. NAVS is campaigning for a government ban on all household product tests on animals.

Statistics on Animal Experiments:
UK: ‘Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, Great Britain, 2006’ Cm7153, Home Office.
Europe: Figures for 2004, in: ‘Fifth Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the Statistics on the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes in the member states of the European Union COM/2007/675 final’. 2004 Household Product Tests: Denmark 185, Germany 117, Spain 560, France 299, Poland 37, UK 21. 2004 Cosmetics Product Tests: Spain 75, France 5496.

© National Anti-Vivisection Society