Content Header Mask

BUAV denounces Government's Broken Promises as animal experiment toll rises to over 4m; primate use soars by 22%


In 2012, over 4.11 million experiments were started on animals, an increase of 8% (+317,200 experiments) compared with 2011. This figure is totally unacceptable, equivalent to beginning 11,260 experiments every day. 

There was an explosive increase in the use of non-human primates (+22%) and animals with genetic modifications (+22%), who are bred speculatively to include harmful genes but are often killed without being used at all. 

There were increases in 2012 since 2011 in the numbers of experiments for the following species: mice (+ 379,058, up +14%); sheep (+5,157, up +14%); goats (+1,462, up +746%), up from 196; guinea pigs (+1,203, up +10%); and non- human primates (+545, up +22%).

There were falls since 2011 in the number of experiments for the following species: fish (-63,073, down -11%); amphibians (2,218, down -14%); rabbits (-1,595, down -10%); and pigs (-961, down -22%).

Meanwhile, the number of inspectors continued to decline, with each inspector now responsible for supervising over 200,000 experiments a year. The result is a clear loss of control of actual quality.

The BUAV recently revealed shocking evidence of poor practice and high levels of animal suffering inside a laboratory of a world-leading University, Imperial College London. Despite repeated Home Office assurances that animals in UK laboratories are protected by some of the world’s highest animal welfare standards, the BUAV exposed a catalogue of shortcomings and wrongdoing by staff and researchers including: breaches in and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences; a failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and pain relief; incompetence and neglect and highly disturbing methods used to kill animals.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of The BUAV stated: “A 9% increase in the number of animals used in experiments started in 2012 is shocking. The Government has failed for a third year on its post-election pledge to work to reduce the number of animal experiments and, as a result, millions of animals continue to suffer and die in our laboratories. This lack of progress is completely unacceptable. We need to see meaningful and lasting changes for animals in laboratories.”

Please visit our Broken Promises page to see what you can do for animals.