National Anti-vivisection Society

 

National Antivisection Society

Public support for kinder research, as opposition to using animals grows

Posted: 28 May 2019

With a new report showing growing support for a move away from using animals in research, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is calling on the UK Government, and industry, to listen and act.

Released on Friday by Ipsos MORI, the report on public attitudes to animal research sets out the findings of a 2018 survey commissioned by the Office for Life Sciences, part of the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Key findings of the report are:

  • An increasing interest in alternatives to the use of animals in research, from 55 per cent to 60 per cent.
  • 23 per cent think animal research is carried out only when there is no alternative.
  • A declining belief that the use of animals for medical research is important to human health, from 46 per cent to 41 per cent.
  • Just 15 per cent are unconcerned about the use of animals in research, an all-time low.
  • 27 per cent think no animal should be used in medical research to benefit people, up from 23 per cent.
  • 41 per cent associate animal research organisations with secrecy.

NAVS President Jan Creamer said: “The public are moving with the times and advances in science, and turning their backs on research that is outdated, unreliable and causes suffering. We now need the government and industry to join them, and do more to support research methods that are better for us and animals.”

With little known about the experiments that take place, the NAVS is calling for, and has for many years, the removal of “secrecy clause” Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, and specifically for licence applications submitted by animal researchers to be made public before experiments take place. Despite the UK Government consulting the public on Section 24 five years ago, the findings have still to be released.

3.7 million animal tests are conducted in British laboratories annually, with another 1.8 million animals bred and subsequently killed. These additional animals were only used for breeding; the “wrong” sex for the experiment; used just for tissues; or were “necessary surplus resulting from the breeding of animals to ensure adequate supply”.

2.6 million animals are used for the creation and maintenance of animals with genetic modifications. Given a deliberate genetic defect, prolonged animal suffering can arise from repeated surgeries, egg collection, implantation, repeated blood and tissue testing, and the intended and unintended mutations suffered. Only 3-5% of offspring have the desired genetic defect, resulting in huge numbers of animals being killed and discarded.

The use of animals in research is fundamentally flawed because:

  • Each species responds differently to substances, making animal tests an unreliable way to predict effects in humans;
  • Test results can differ due to an animal’s age, sex, diet, and even their bedding material;
  • Human diseases in lab animals are not naturally occurring - artificially created, they are different from the human condition they are attempting to mimic.

The full report can be accessed at https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/public-attitudes-animal-research-2018

Media contact: Devon Prosser 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548 [email protected]

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