Rise in animals used for research

Additional to the item I posted the other day entitled: Court review for animal testing. The Financial Times, of all newspapers reports the rise in animal testing:

Rise in animals used for research
By Clive Cookson, Science Editor
Published: July 23 2007 17:34 | Last updated: July 23 2007 17:34

Experiments on genetically modified mice have pushed the number of animals used in scientific research through the 3m mark for the first time since 1991.

The rise of 4 per cent from last year marked the fifth year running that the number of animal procedures increased. Releasing the annual laboratory statistics, John Richmond, head of the Home Office scientific procedures division, said: “We expect the total to increase further [in years to come] because the research infrastructure is in place to make more use of GM animals,” he added.

A further impetus to animal testing will come from the European Union’s new Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (Reach) legislation, which will require the chemicals industry to test thousands of compounds for safety. Reach did not come into effect in time to affect the 2006 figures, Mr Richmond said.

Scientists and patients groups said the statistics indicated a welcome increase in ground-breaking medical research using genetically modified mice. Alastair Kent, director of Genetic Interest Group, said: “The announcement is good news for patients with life-limiting diseases. The rise in GM mice to investigate the causes and cures for many currently incurable conditions brings hope for those affected and their families.”

But animal rights groups were appalled by the statistics, which were announced on the eve of a judicial review of the way Home Office regulates animal experiments. At a High Court hearing, starting on Monday, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection will claim that the government is not fulfilling its legal duty to keep animal suffering to a minimum.

“The fact that the numbers of animals used in experiments jumped by 4 per cent in 2006 – the greatest increase in five years – goes to prove the lie that the government is putting its ‘best efforts’ into reducing the numbers of animals used in experiments,” said Michelle Thew, BUAV chief executive.

» Full article

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