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Scientists Call for More Public Information on Lab Animal Suffering
Posted 6 October 2008
Two bodies that advise the government on animal experiments have called for the suffering of every animal used in UK laboratories to be recorded and made publicly available.
Currently, when researchers apply for a licence to use animals they must predict the level of suffering they are likely to inflict and the number of animals they will use. They do not, however, have to keep a record of what actually happens to animals during a procedure. The Animal Procedures Committee and the Laboratory Animal Science Association have proposed that researchers be required to record the actual level of suffering that each animal experiences and that this information form part of the annual national statistics on animal procedures published by the Home Office.
While Animal Aid welcomes any move that makes the secretive world of animal research more transparent, we are concerned that it would be the experimenters themselves assessing animal suffering. For this assessment to have any merit it must be conducted by a truly independent body that does not have a vested interest in downplaying animal suffering. Assessment of suffering must also take into account the stress caused to animals by routine laboratory practices such as handling, blood collection, physical restraint and life in captivity.