National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Animals used in UK labs 50 PER CENT HIGHER than first reported.

Posted: 15 November 2018

New government figures, released due to the requirements of the EU Directive on animal experiments, have revealed that the number of animals used for research in UK laboratories is nearly 50% higher (1.8 million) than the number (3.7 million) previously, and officially, reported. The total number of animals used in research in 2017 was therefore 5.53 million. Responding to the shocking revelation, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has renewed its call for the UK Government to open up animal research to public scrutiny and encourage the use of modern non-animal methods.

Jan Creamer, President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society said, “This huge and previously unreported increase in animal use signals the urgent need for the UK Government to end the secrecy surrounding animal tests. Advanced modern methods are more accurate, relevant and humane, and researchers should be encouraged to adopt their use.”

The additional 1.8 million animals were bred in UK laboratories and subsequently killed because they were: only used for breeding, the “wrong” sex for the experiment, used just for tissues, or “necessary surplus resulting from the breeding of animals to ensure adequate supply”.

Attempts by animal researchers to be more “open” about the experiments they do are little more than a PR exercise, failing to show the reality of how animals really live and die in the laboratory, and the more invasive procedures they are subjected to. Meanwhile, the UK Government continues to sanction these outdated tests sometimes without, evidence suggests, sufficient justification being provided by experimenters, causing unnecessary suffering and hindering science.

With long held concerns about the secrecy surrounding animal research and the process of licensing tests, the NAVS is calling for licence applications submitted by animal researchers to be made public before their experiments are given the go-ahead, omitting personal or intellectual property.

‘Non-Technical Summaries’ from licence applications are currently published by the Home Office only after licences have been granted. They are one of the very few ways to find out what actually happens to animals in laboratories, and to see where replacements could be implemented. Analysing these summaries, the NAVS has shown that assessment of project applications by the Home Office fails to acknowledge current scientific evidence on the validity of animal experiments. Animal researchers and regulators also lack awareness of the non-animal methods that could replace them.

The UK law on animal experiments, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, was revised in 2012 to implement the new European Directive 2010/63/EU. When the UK leaves the European Union, it is expected that the Directive will continue to be incorporated within UK law. It is unknown however whether the Directive’s aim to make a “step towards achieving the final goal of full replacement of procedures on live animals for scientific and educational purposes” (Recital 10) will be included. The UK was the highest user of animals in the EU in 2016.

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Media Contact: Devon Prosser, Press Officer | 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548 | [email protected]

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