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Fellow Challenges Increase in Animal Testing

6th December 2009

Centre Fellow and Veterinary Ethicist, Andrew Knight has written a critique of animal testing in the leading United Kingdom veterinary periodical, The Veterinary Times. Noting that the July figures issued by the Home Office indicate that experiments in the UK have reached 3,656,080, he points out that “a considerable body of published, large-scale, systematic reviews demonstrates the poor human, clinical and toxicological utility of invasive animal research – with remarkable consistency”. Exploring the reasons for the recent increase, Mr Knight then summarises the replacement alternatives that are now available and asks why these have not been fully utilised.

This article is the latest in a series published in UK and Irish veterinary journals in 2009, summarising evidence about the poor human utility of animal experimentation, and describing replacement (with non-animal methodologies), reduction (of animal numbers), and refinement (of animal use, to decrease suffering), of laboratory animal use. The importance of such information is highlighted by significant current and projected future increases in animal experimentation, both within the UK and worldwide. UK numbers are now at their highest level for at least 20 years. These articles are available here and here.

See Andrew Knight, “Alternatives to animal testing”, Vet Times 2009; 39(45): 8, 10.