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A staggering 3.52 million procedures were conducted on animals in the UK in 2018 alone, according to figures published by the Home Office today.
A significant 93 percent of these tests are carried out on mice, rats, and fish, which are considered to be ‘cheap, expendable, easy to handle, and carry less sentimental value’, according to vegan charity PETA.
Now the charity is calling on the government to commit to phasing out all experiments on all animals and redirecting resources away from them, saying that investing in ‘superior, non-animal methods will benefit humans, animals, and the future of science in the UK’
‘Not a right’
The University of Cambridge carried out 141,968 of these procedures in 2018. Only five other academic institutions carried out more animal procedures (Including the University of Oxford and UCL).
“While the use of animals plays an important role in biomedical research, we should always be looking at ways to refine this work, find replacements and ultimately reduce the number of animals used,” said Dr. Martin Vinnell, who is responsible for overseeing Cambridge’s animal research.
“Nor should we see this kind of research as a right – it’s essential that we are open about our work and ensure the public is well informed of both what we do, and why we do it, whether or not they support this type of research. This is why it is important that institutions such as Cambridge and its peers release information about their animal research.”
‘Moral obligation to protect animals’
But PETA’s Science Policy Adviser, Dr. Julia Baines, believes institutions should go further than simply providing data – and should stop the tests altogether.
“These staggering figures paint a grim picture of an outdated system, in which experimenters repeatedly drug, poison, surgically mutilate, and ultimately kill certain animals because they’ve always done things this way,” she said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
“Species such as mice, rats, and fish are afforded less legal protection than the meagre ones afforded cats, dogs, horses, and primates – despite having the same capacity to suffer – so experiments in which they’re used receive even less oversight.
“The UK government has a moral obligation to protect animals and advance human health by switching from animal experiments to today’s technology such as organs-on-chips.”