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Animal Testing

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Ban on Animal Testing

The use of animals in experiments and testing is regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). ASPA has recently been revised to change the European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The revised legislation came into force on 1 January 2013.

UK animal experiments

  • According to the latest Government figures (for 2017), a total of 3.79 million experiments were completed in Great Britain during 2017.
  • Of these, 1.90 million (50%) related to the creation or breeding of genetically altered animals who were not used in further experiments.
  • The remaining 1.86 million (50%) were other experiments on animals, which included 600,000 animals (32%) that were subjected to experiments that even the researchers considered had caused them moderate or severe suffering.
  • Animals used in the UK included mice (1.10 million experiments), rats (233,676 experiments), hamsters (1,126 experiments), birds (130,469 experiments), rabbits (10,362 experiments), guinea-pigs (22,560 experiments), monkeys (2,960 experiments), dogs (3,847 experiments), cats (198 experiments), horses (10,600 experiments), sheep (47,482 experiments), pigs (4,361 experiments), goats (256 experiments), cows (2,844 experiments), reptiles (92 experiments), amphibians (9,341 experiments) and fish (308,340 experiments).
  • Of the 1.86 million experiments conducted on animals, 60% (1.12 million experiments) were in the area of basic research – much of it driven by the curiosity of university researchers.
  • 50% of experiments were conducted in universities, often using taxpayers’ funds.
  • Only 13% of experiments were ones that were required by regulators.
  • In 2017, 89% of experiments conducted on monkeys used animals who were imported from outside the EU.
  • There were 450 experiments on household product ingredients in 2017.
  • Experiments are still being conducted for toxicological tests where there are valid non-animal alternatives available. These include:
  • skin irritation (112 tests in 2017)
  • eye irritation (63 tests in 2017)
  • acute lethal toxicity tests (10,720 tests in 2017)
  • pyrogen city (fever) tests on live rabbits (1,125 tests in 2017).

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