Michelle's Blog

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


Shocking and unacceptable: animal experiments continue to rise

In July every year we await publication by the Home Office of the annual statistics on animal experiments. I have been working in animal protection for a long time and every year I review the report in the hope that we will see a significant change for animals yet, year on year, the Government consistently lets us down by failing to keep its promise to reduce the number of animal experiments. 

The figures released last week show that during 2013, there has been an increase of 11,554 experiments to a total of 4,121,582. This means that more animal experiments were carried out in 2013 than at any point since the new statistics regime was introduced in 1986 and is the third consecutive increase since the Coalition Government took office in 2010.  

Yet again we see more broken promises by the Government and more lives lost in this tragic failure to reduce animal experiments. The UK should be leading the way in reducing animal testing, yet we remain one of the world’s largest users of animals in experiments.

The individual figures themselves shine a sad light in revealing the devastating suffering animals are enduring every day in laboratories in the UK. Shockingly the proportion of experiments that constituted breeding genetically modified animals and those with a harmful mutation rose to 51%. We also saw increases in the number of experiments carried out on non-human primates, dogs, rabbits, guinea-pigs and horses.

We continue to be the leading voice for animals suffering in laboratories and on the day the statistics were released, our response was reported widely in the national and regional media.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jul/10/animal-experiments-rise-again-uk-genetic-research http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/488009/Anger-as-figures-show-over-4m-animals-used-in-UK-experiments http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2687582/GM-ANIMAL-BREEDING-TO-BE-REVIEWED.html

In other news, on the same day these figures were released, we welcomed the announcement by Norman Baker, the Home Office Minister, of the resignation of the Establishment Licence Holder at Imperial College London. This resignation follows the BUAV investigation at Imperial College London during 2012, in which our investigator documented a catalogue of shortcomings and wrongdoing that raised serious concerns about the levels of distress and suffering caused to the animals which went far beyond those allowed in the experiments. 

Although it is important that someone is held accountable for the catalogue of shortcomings and wrongdoing we uncovered at Imperial College, the question remains as to how a world-leading university can be allowed to fall short of best practice for so long without action taken by the Home Office. 

Our investigations continue to play a key role in lifting the lid of secrecy surrounding animal research, both in the UK and overseas. Despite assurances from the Government and animal research industry that the UK has some of the best legislation in the world governing animal experiments, our undercover investigations show time and time again the grim reality of life and death in UK laboratories. 

The BUAV team and I will not falter in our campaigns to achieve lasting and meaningful change for animals in laboratories.

We are grateful to all our supporters who join us on this journey and help us speak up for those innocent victims who cannot speak out for themselves and suffer in silence.

Until next time…….