In 2009 a total of 297,111 live animals were experimented on. 55% were killed, or died as a result of the experiment. In 2010 242,149 animals were used, in 2011 326,770 and 2012, 301,964. A total of 224,048 animals were used in testing in 2013 - a 25.9% decrease over the previous year.
While some research is non invasive, many experiments in this country involve extreme cruelty.
The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) asks companies to grade their tests as causing ‘little or no impact' up to ‘very high impact' (previously referred to as ‘very severe suffering').
Animals in the top category will have undergone procedures that cause extreme pain - both mental and physical. Tests may involve conducting major surgeries without the use of anesthesia, experiments causing them to die from poisoning, severe restrictions on water or food intake, purposeful exposure of conscious animals to lethal extremes of cold, cutting of motor nerves and studies of the effects of chemicals which cause a protracted death with marked distress. In 2012 16,767 animals suffered a 'high or very high impact' as a result of the experiments. If someone did the same to their companion animal dog or cat they would be prosecuted.
Not only is harming animals for experimentation cruel, there are also important scientific problems that cannot be ignored.
Animal experiments for medicine too often result in findings that are flawed or misleading when applied to human diseases, treatments or procedures, producing inaccurate results because different species react differently to one another when experimented on.
Results produced from animal tests can differ depending upon variables such as the species, age, sex and condition of animals. Drugs that may prove effective in animals can be lethal to humans and vice versa. For example more than 150 stroke treatments have worked in animal testing but failed in subsequent human trials.
There are more advanced methods of testing and experimentation that can help humans, develop new products, and avoid harming and killing animals.
There are a huge range of more effective non-animal research techniques available such as cell, tissue and organ cultures, molecular research, computer simulations and population studies. These methods are not only more humane but can be cheaper and quicker too! Click here to find out more.