Animal Lab Inspections Cut and Licenses to Experiment Fast Tracked 21 July, 2009
An Animal Rights Article from


NAVS National Anti-Vivisection Society
July 2009

As the EU Council of Ministers considers new rules to govern animal experimentation across Europe, the Home Office have today released figures for animal experimentation in the UK, which reveal a massive increase in animal use.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS):

It is a disgrace that in this age of sophisticated alternatives to animal use, and grave public concern over animal research, especially the use of primates, that the Government has allowed animal research to continue to rise in the UK. It is clear that the UK Home Office is failing to ensure that replacement techniques are fully implemented before licenses are granted, as required by law. It is vital that the new rules being considered for Europe tackle this issue of adoption of new techniques and public accountability during the licensing process.

Whilst commercial animal testing has declined steadily in recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of animals being used in speculative academic experiments in Universities.

In addition the creation of genetically modified animals is responsible for the steady rise in animal use in recent years.

The figures released today reveal that:

  • 3.7 million experiments were performed on animals in 2008.
  • A rise of 454,000 14%
  • The breakdown of animals used is:
    Primates: 4,598
    Dogs: 6,105
    Cats: 360
    Mice: 2.4 million
    Rats: 355,370
    Rabbits: 17,060
    Guinea pigs: 29,293
    Horses: 9,365
    GM animals: 1.3 million (genetically modified animals)

Jan Creamer:

There have been huge advances in the number of non-animal research techniques available yet this is simply not having the impact on animal use that it should. We need to see a real commitment from regulators to ensure that non-animal methods are used. The public wants good science without animal suffering and there is no reason for this not to be delivered.

Also released today is the Annual Report of the Home Office Animals Scientific Procedures Division (ASPD).

The ASPD report reveals that the Inspectorate recommended for approval 695 project licenses in 2008, compared to 595 in 2007 an increase of almost 17%.

Yet this coincided with a decrease in the number of laboratory inspections.

A fast-track system for personal licenses to experiment on animals and short-term licenses for students and overseas workers has been introduced.

There were 162 fast track personal licenses issued in 2008, taking an average of just three days to process.

Jan Creamer:

We need better regulation on animal research, not less. People expect the Government to be steadily tightening the controls on animal research in favor of replacement with advanced technology, but instead they are steadily being relaxed.

We revealed earlier this year how Home Office inspections of overseas monkey suppliers have allowed deplorable conditions. We have shown how commercial testing is fast tracked with no prior scrutiny from the Home Office. Now we learn that it is easier now to experiment on animals than it was ten years ago.

The economics show us that good regulation and replacement with advanced technology is good for science and industry. The Government has not got the message yet.

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