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BUAV brands food testing on animals a 'hidden scandal'

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The growing trend of food experiments being carried out on animals is to be raised with MPs - with three studies carried out in the north-east among those which are causing concern to animal rights activists.

Animal rights charity the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), claims the "cruel and unnecessary" tests are Britain's hidden scandal and are being driven by the country's growing
infatuation with so-called "super foods" and health supplements.

The number of food experiments on animals has increased to more than 4,000 procedures a year in the UK in recent years.


Three experiments done in Aberdeen are under the spotlight. They were carried out at the Rowett Institute, Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University.

The animal rights group is concerned about tests at Aberdeen University during which mice were fed vitamin C supplemented diets for 18 months to see if it would prolong their lifespan.

Some of the mice were also put in cold rooms, at temperatures as low as 5C, to mimic living in a cold climate.

An Aberdeen University spokeswoman said it was committed to the reduction, replacement and refinement of animal testing. She added: "No research involving the use of animals is permitted until a thorough ethical review process has been undertaken. "All such research is undertaken under rigorous Home Office guidelines."

The charity is also concerned about experiments carried out at the Rowett Research Institute, which saw rats given milkshakes on top of their regular diet.

However, Professor Julian Mercer, who carried out the research, explained that the experiments were part of a study into obesity, and not part of food testing experiments.


Rats were fed a diet containing 20% raw, lightly cooked or fully cooked cabbage for two weeks, before being killed to check the effects of the diet on enzymes in their liver and colon.

The university said last night that it only uses animals in research programmes of the highest quality and where, after investigation, there are no alternatives available.

A spokeswoman added that the experiment had been funded by the Food Standards Agency.

BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said last night: "The rise in testing of food on animals in the race to find the next lucrative 'super-food' is a hidden scandal.

"We are calling on the government to stop licensing such unnecessary and cruel experiments today."

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