Michelle's Blog

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


An unacceptable rise in animal experiments in the UK

Last week we were informed of a shocking increase of 8.7% in the number of animals used for research in the UK. In 2012, over 4.11 million experiments were carried out. The Government’s commitment in 2010 was quite clear: to “work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research”. Since then, however, the number of experiments has risen every year, and the rise is accelerating.

This increase includes some of the more controversial types of experiments. For example, there was a 22% increase in the number of experiments carried out on nonhuman primates and a 22% rise in genetic modification, which involves harmful genes being inserted into animals. Even in those areas where there are valid non-animal alternatives available and in which one would expect decreases - such as skin irritation, Draize eye irritation tests and acute lethal toxicity tests - numbers are still unacceptably high or have even increased.

The BUAV’s recent investigation at the world-leading University, Imperial College London, showed the stark contrast that exists between government rhetoric about the UK having some of the strictest legislation in the world, and the reality of day-to-day life for animals in a UK laboratory. We uncovered 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, including decapitation.

Please support our call to Government to honour its pledge and reduce the number of animals suffering in experiments in the UK. We have also worked with MPs to table a parliamentary motion condemning this rise - please join us by writing to your MP today urging them to sign our Early Day Motion 442.

Until next time…