Michelle's Blog

The latest from the BUAV's Chief Executive...


Helping our best friends!

It has been a hectic few weeks for Our Best Friends, our campaign to end the use of cats and dogs in experiments. So we were delighted that our efforts to stop a beagle breeding farm received a significant victory last week when East Riding Council turned down the planning application. Our campaign received widespread media coverage, was supported by a number of celebrities, including Ricky Gervais, and our petition collected over 37,000 signatures.

Many thanks to everyone who signed and shared our petition. The response we received has been amazing and we couldn’t have achieved this without you.

It is truly shocking that despite dogs being one of our most popular companion animals, they continue to be harmed in cruel experiments and there is no Government policy to reduce their use, let alone bring it to an end. In 2012, 3,214 dogs were used in experiments in Great Britain, an increase on 2011.

Yet, a new study carried out by the BUAV and FRAME has shown that using dogs in experiments to predict toxic responses to drugs in humans is no better than tossing a coin.  I co-authored the paper, together with Dr Jarrod Bailey and FRAMELife President Professor Michael Balls, which will be published in this month’s edition of the scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals).

Given that dogs have been used in drug testing for over half a century, the level of public concern about the use of dogs in experiments and the fact that many in the pharmaceutical industry say they would prefer not to use them, one may expect overwhelming scientific evidence to support the continued suffering inflicted on our best friends in the name of medical research. However, this is not the case. In fact, to date very little research has been carried out examining whether experiments on dogs really are useful in advancing the development of drugs for humans. Our study is the most comprehensive analysis to date and our findings show that dogs are highly inconsistent predictors of toxic responses in humans.

So, it really is time to stop experimenting on Our Best Friends. Our call has already received widespread support, including from Ricky Gervais, Paul O’ Grady, Kimberly Wyatt, Chris Packham, Jilly Cooper, Helen Skelton, Dave Spikey, Wendy Turner Webster, Kirsty Gallacher, Mary McCartney and Ann Widdecombe. Please do join us by signing our petition and stay up-to-date with our campaign news via our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Thank you as always for your support.

Until next time…