Drug Safety Testing Drives Steep Rise In Animal Experiments In U.K.
The number of medical experiments involving animals rose by 14% in 2009 from the previous year, the largest increase since the inception of record-keeping in 1986. During 2008, nearly 3.7 million experiments were performed on animals in the U.K.
Expansion of biomedical research in genetics and development of pharmaceuticals has led to growth in animal experimentation in Britain. The experiments range from small procedures to invasive surgical procedures and the introduction of incurable diseases.
Government statistics show that experimentation on rodents and fish make up 97% of all animal experimentation and that the recent increase was centered on these animals. Experimentation on other animals such as rats, domestic fowl, guinea pigs, rabbits, and beagles declined by about 40,000 in total.
Britain does not test on great apes, but experiments on monkeys have increased. Specifically, the use of macaques and marmosets combined increased by 16%. This however obscures the fact that testing on marmosets (and other “new world” primates) is down by half and testing on “old world” macaques increased by 33%.