EXCLUSIVE: Many suffer extreme and pointless pain, say campaigners
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
THREE million cats, dogs, monkeys and other animals are experimented on in Britain's laboratories every year with many suffering extreme and often unnecessary pain, say animal campaigners.
Today they plan to unveil the full scale of suffering and torture to mark World Day for Laboratory Animals.
Government claims that the experiments are tightly controlled are rejected by Science Without Suffering, which is backed by celebrities such as Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley.
Wendy Higgins of the antianimal research charity, the Dr Hadwen Trust, said: "We believe that if the public was aware of just how much suffering animals in laboratories are allowed to experience they would be extremely alarmed.
"The levels of pain and suffering our report exposes will contrast markedly with the often-sanitised version of events presented by those who seek to perpetuate animal experiments.
"It's time the Government started taking meaningful action to stop the suffering."
Among the experiments exposed in the report is the infecting of 96 guinea pigs with fatal kidney disease.
Around 4,500 experiments were found to have taken place on 3,000 monkeys in 2005. Some were injected with toxic chemicals to cause brain damage.
Thousands of dogs were said to have been experimented on in the same year, with some trials lasting up to two years.
Under the 1986 Animals Act, labs should only get a licence to experiment on animals if they can show that the benefit of their research is outweighed by the suffering.
In an interview last year, Tony Blair said: "Experiments involving animals are subject to the tightest restrictions and monitoring.
The PM added: "No animal procedures are allowed unless it can be demonstrated to an independent panel that the research is essential, that there is no realistic alternative and that any suffering is kept to an absolute minimum."