Over 3.5 million Animals Sacrificed In British Labs Again Last Year


News Release - Uncaged Campaigns

The annual UK Government statistics for animal experiments have revealed another appalling toll of cruelty and killing in British labs during 2009. By law, the Home Office only counts those experiments that are 'likely to cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm'. It is the second highest total figure since the current system began in 1986, dropping from the shocking 2008 tally by 1%. In 2009, 3,619,450 million experiments took place in British labs, a decrease of 36,540 (1%) on 2008, but still 417,959 (13%) higher than 2007. Over 2.4 million experiments - 67% - were carried out with no anaesthesia whatsoever.

The number of animals used remained fairly constant relative to 2008 at 3,541,252 (some animals are used in more than one experiment, hence the difference in figures between the number of experiments and the number of animals used).

Another rise similar to 2007-8 would have lifted the total to a staggering 4 million animals. While we are slightly relieved that the previous upward trend didn’t continue, the continuing lack of action to tackle abuse in British labs shames the Government and the scientific community. The very crude figures - some of which the Home Office admits it fixes - indicating the severity of projects have changed little over the years, so it is impossible to assess confidently whether each animal is suffering more or less than previously. But ultimately, one animal poisoned, mutilated, diseased and killed is still one too many.

These latest figures account for the 2009 calendar year, before the change in Government following May’s election. Therefore, the reasons for the levelling off in the scale of UK vivisection are unclear. There was no improvement in policy-making that could account for the change in trend, which points to economic or technological shifts as possible causes.

The future direction is very unclear. The media have quoted Jon Richmond - the 'Sir Humphrey' of the Home Office’s Animal Experiments Section - as claiming that the last two years have been a blip and that the number of experiments will continue to rise due to continued expansion in the genetic engineering of animals. The number of animals genetically engineered or bred with harmful mutations now exceeds the number of 'normal' animals. His position seems in direct conflict with the new Government and their Minister Lynne Featherstone, who have pledged to reduce the numbers of animal experiments.


More information:

Animal experimentation - the facts



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© Keith Mann