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Universities accused of 'cruel' animal tests

BUAV has accused universities of 'cruel' animal testing

The University of Liverpool has been accused of conducting "cruel and unnecessary" tests on animals using banned drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.

Animals were made to undertake a range of "bizarre" activities under the influence of drugs, such as burying marbles and swimming in vats of milk, in tests by several universities.

A report from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) also attacks the Home Office for granting licences for the research.

An estimated £10 million had been spent on the experiments in the last 10 years, said the BUAV, which based its findings on figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Cambridge University was singled out for conducting "frivolous" tests on mice that involved combining lethal doses of methamphetamine, or "crystal meth", and loud music from Bach and the dance band The Prodigy.

Another Cambridge study, funded by the Medical Research Council, involved testing the effect of amphetamines on rats subjected to enforced isolation, it was claimed. In a third research project rats were made addicted to cocaine.

The report also cited research at the University of Birmingham designed to see if rats given cannabis got "the munchies", a hunger-enhancing effect well known in humans. This study would have cost the university up to £100,000, the BUAV estimated.

Similar tests had taken place at Liverpool, Nottingham, Aberdeen university, as well as De Montfort university in Leicester.

Most of these experiments were "a complete waste of time" from a scientific point of view, the BUAV claims.

Animal testing of alcohol, tobacco and cosmetics is banned in the UK.

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