BUAV short statement on new EU animal experiment statistics
November 8th 2007: For immediate release
BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew said:
Despite European Commission and member state's individual promises to
reduce and replace the use of animals in experiments, the total
animals used in experiments in 2005 rose to 12.1 million -
representing a 3.2 per cent increase over and above the added numbers
from the inclusion of 10 new member states in the 2005 report.
We are shocked and appalled to hear that the number of animals
condemned to lives of suffering in EU laboratories has hit a ten year
high. It is simply morally indefensible that in the 21st century some
of the most advanced laboratories in the world are still pouring tens
of millions of public money into the type of research that belongs in
the dark ages. For example, there was a 107 per cent increase in cruel
and unreliable animal research. We now as a society must insist that
our politicians listen to the overwhelming voice of European citizens
and act now to end the suffering. They have a unique opportunity under
the current revision of the directive* that governs animal testing to
close the door on outdated practice, and move the EU forward into an
era of modern, humane research.
Key Facts arising from the report:
- The UK is the second largest user of animals in the EU after France.
Germany is the third biggest user. The use of animals by these top
three countries represents 50 per cent of all animal use in
experiments in the EU. Germany's use, however, decreased by 12 per
cent in 2005, while the use of animals by France and the UK both rose
(5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively).
- The largest proportion of experiments using animals (33 per cent)
were fundamental biological research - which are designed just to see
what happens too an animal if you subject it to certain conditions.
For example, researchers at various universities in the UK are legally
allowed to implant electrodes into the brains of macaques for the
purposes of understanding how their brain responds to things that they
see. After the surgery, monkeys are restrained by their heads in
chairs and made to watch tv screens whilst the researchers make
recordings from the electrodes in their brains. There is no direct
medical benefit to this research (J Neurosci Methods 2006)
- Over 24,000 dogs and 10,000 primates were used in experiments - the
use of so-called 'new world' monkeys such as marmosets leapt by 31 per
cent, despite overwhelming public and increasing scientific opposition
to their use.
- The use of rabbits, ferrets and birds increased by hundreds of
- There was a 107 per cent rise in the use of animals for cosmetics
testing. 5,571 animals, including 900 guinea pigs and 600 rabbits were
used despite regulatory approval and widespread availability of
- 231,613 animals were poisoned to death in studies like the LD50 -
including 841 dogs. The LD50 is a toxicity test where researchers test
the amount of a substance it takes to kill fifty per cent of the
NOTES TO EDITOR
The European Commission releases statistics on animal experimentation
by member states every three years. They released the figures for 2005
today (November 8th 2007). To see the full report:
*Directive 86/609 that governs the use of animals in experiments is
currently being reviewed by the European Commission.
The BUAV has been campaigning for over 100 years to achieve a world
where nobody wants or believes we need to experiment on animals. We
are committed to achieving our aims through reliable and reasoned
evidence-based debate. We are proudly non-violent and respect the
quality of life for all - animals and people.
For more information contact: Media Manager Mary-Louise Harding 020
7619 6978/Out of hours mobile: 07850 510 955 /mary-