Shocking figures for 2012 disclosed that British universities killed a staggering 1.3 million animals in the name of research, leaving animal welfare advocates expressing their “disgust” at the findings.
Almost 75 percent of those sacrificed were mice, but among the others who suffered in the name of creating better medicine were 124 monkeys, 10 dogs and six emus, reports the Daily Mail.
The figures were obtained in Freedom of Information Act requests by The Tab, a series of student newspapers. The FoI request was submitted to a total of 132 universities and research institutes. Among the 44 universities that replied, a total of 1,329,013 animals were killed between July of 2012 and July of 2013.
Michelle Thew, CEO of The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) said: “The details of some [university] research will not only surprise but disgust. Some 226,000 fish, 50,000 frogs and 4,250 birds were put to death for vivisection.”
“Many members of the public are under the illusion that all animal experimentation is vital for human health benefits, whereas this couldn’t be further from the truth,” Thew said.
By comparison, 40,248 animals were slaughtered for research by the Institute for Cancer Research.
Andrew Tyler, the director of Animal Aid, said the experiments carried out on animals are unreliable for human medicines, the Daily Mail reports.
“Apart from causing a great deal of suffering to these animals the experiments of this type do not deliver the data that is reliable and productive for human medicine,” Tyler concluded. “It should not happen, especially not at universities.”
The follwing figures represent the number of animals slaughtered for research at universities, according to The Tab:
- Mice: 978,259
- Fish: 278,586
- Rats: 51,218
- Frogs: 5,552
- Birds: 4,246
- Chickens: 2,953
- Reptiles: 2,040
- Monkeys: 124
- Dogs: 10
- Cats: 2
- Emus: 6
“Much of the research of this sort in universities is funded by medical research charities,” said Andrew Taylor. “When we polled people, a huge 80 per cent said they didn’t want their money going into this type of research, so the British public is not happy with this either.”
“I don’t think they know this happens at universities.”
Edinburgh University had the highest death rate, with 226,341 animals being killed, followed by Oxford and Cambridge. Kings College London, Imperial College London and Stirling University in Scotland were the only other three institutions which killed more than 100,000 animals.
Newcastle University used 14 macaques, while Kings College London euthanized 39 marmosets, the Freedom of Information request revealed.
Mr. Tyler’s sentiments were echoed by Ben Williamson, of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who said: “These universities need to rethink their policies regarding animal use and align themselves with public opinion, social progress and 21st-century scientific pursuits if they are to stay ahead of the curve.”
“Studying any species other than humans while investigating human diseases is studying the wrong species. More than 90 per cent of drugs that pass animal tests fail in human trials.”
But the Association of Medical Research Charities claims the research being carried out was unnecessary.
“Charities fund projects using animals only when they are satisfied that there is no possible alternative,” said Chief Executive Sharmila Nebhrajani. “That the scientific benefit that will come from the project will outweigh the impact of the experiment on animals and that all animals in the lab are treated as respectfully and humanely as possible.”
One Green Planet writes, “Opinions may range on the issue of animal experimentation, yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to support the use of animals in research thanks to new technological advances like 3-D printers, adult stem-cell research and a technology that mimics standard human muscular functions.”
Public awareness is shaping a cosmetic industry in which an increasing number of countries do not manufacture or sell animal-tested products. This is occurring because enlightened purchasers around the world are using their pocketbooks to demand that companies rely on animal-free research.
Until all animal experimentation has ended, One Green Planet reminds us, we as consumers can increase the corporate world’s motivation to escalate progress by buying cruelty-free products, contributing to charities that refuse to support animal experimentation, and by urging universities and labs to switch to cruelty-free research tools and technologies.