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ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS - The 2002 statistics
Posted 1 July 2003
Animal experiments increased by 4% in 2002, according to the annual Home Office statistics. Not only did millions of animals die, often in extreme agony through lethal poisoning (up 11%), to test agrochemicals (up 41%) or cancer-causing chemicals (up 109%) - but their deaths were pointless and actually served to endanger human health.
|Total number of procedures on animals||2,732,712||4%|
|Total number of individual animals used *||2,655,876||3%|
|Procedures conducted without any anaesthesia (60% of total)||1,634,771||5%|
|Procedures using transgenic animals (26 % of all procedures)||709,979||12%|
|Procedures using animals with a harmful genetic defect||259,898||5%|
|Procedures in education and training||5,364||7%|
|Research, development and safety testing of pharmaceuticals (24% of total)||660,390||4%|
|Production of monoclonal antibodies (none produced by ascites in living animals)||4,320||28%|
|Number of licensed research projects||4,149||0.6%|
|Number of Home Office Inspectors||25||19%|
|Procedures on mice (63% of the total)||1,720,253||4%|
|Procedures on rats||509,647||2%|
|Procedures on guinea pigs||45,568||4%|
|Procedures on hamsters||6,240||15%|
|Procedures on rabbits||30,280||10%|
|Procedures on horse, donkey or crossbred||8,002||9%|
|Procedures on sheep||33,610||79%|
|Procedures on pigs||8,453||44%|
|Procedures on birds||138,347||9%|
|Procedures on amphibians||15,355||3%|
|Procedures on fish||181,953||6%|
|Procedures on cats||1,395||12%|
|individual number of cats||616||16%|
|Procedures on primates||3,977||0.2%|
|in toxicity tests||2,790|
|in nervous system of special senses research||620|
|in respiratory or cardiovascular research||298|
|individual number of primates||3,173||5%|
|Procedures on dogs (7,664 beagles and 300 crossbreeds)||7,964||0.2%|
|in respiratory & cardiovascular research||1,195|
|in toxicity tests||4,999|
|individual number of dogs||5,746||3%|
|Testing for toxicity, safety or efficacy (18% of all procedures)||485,767||7%|
|Toxicity tests of food additives and other foodstuffs||5,414||56%|
|Toxicity tests of household products||1,032||75%|
|Toxicity tests of industrial substances||42,280||20%|
|Toxicity tests of agricultural chemicals (includes 440 beagles)||57,804||41%|
|Toxicity tests for environmental pollution||38,214||SAME|
|Lethal short-term toxicity tests||135,626||11%|
|Toxicity procedures required by legislation (British & overseas)||421,603||8%|
|Test for cancer-causing chemicals||19,109||109%|
|Eye irritancy tests||1,271||13%|
|Tests for fever-causing potential (pyrogenicity)||10,872||7%|
|Toxicity testing of cosmetics||0||SAME|
|Fundamental research (31% of all procedures)||864,277||11%|
|$ Interference with organs of sight, hearing, smell or taste||16,628||1%|
|$ Injection into the brain||26,415||5%|
|$ Interference with the brain||29,039||6%|
|$ Procedures deliberately causing psychological stress||9,804||5%|
|$ Procedures involving adversive training||7,648||30%|
|$ Exposure to radiation||9,199||27%|
|$ Thermal injury||28||92%|
|$ Physical injury to mimic human injury||11,769||81%|
*The difference between the numbers of procedures and numbers
of animals is due to some animals being used in more than one procedure.
$ The Home Office has listed these procedures as being of "particular interest".
Some points of interest
The total number of procedures on animals in 2002 rose to 2.7 million, an increase of 4% from the previous year. (2001 had seen the lowest number of procedures reported since the current legislation in 1986.)
60% of all procedures on living animals are performed without any form of anaesthesia.
Procedures on genetically manipulated (transgenic) animals now represent a quarter of all procedures, and have increased by 12% from last year. Procedures on transgenic animals have consistently risen every year since 1990 when they represented a mere 1.5% of the total.
The number of procedures on mice, rats. sheep, pigs, birds and fish increased in 2002. Procedures on dogs and primates were similar to the previous year. Procedures guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, cats, amphibians, and horses/donkeys/crossbreeds decreased.
There were no procedures on octopus, greyhounds, camelids, baboons or great apes. No great apes (that is chimpanzees, gorillas, and orang-utans) have been used in Great Britain since before the introduction of the current legislation in 1986.
Categories of research. Procedures on animals for fundamental biological research increased by 11%, and now represent 31% of the total. Use of animals for the research, development and testing of drugs has been decreasing for several years and now account for 24% of the total.
Toxicity tests accounted for 18% of all procedures. Toxicity testing of foodstuffs, household products, and agricultural chemicals increased, while tests of industrial substances decreased. Testing of cosmetic products or ingredients is no longer permitted in the UK.
There was a disturbing increase in tests to detect cancer-causing substances and short-term lethal toxicity tests. Eye irritancy tests and pyrogenicity tests continued to decrease in 2002 – alternatives to both these tests are increasingly used instead of living animals.
Procedures on animals for the production of monoclonal antibodies fell by 28%. All these procedures were for the initial immunization of animals, and none were for raising monoclonal antibodies in the abdomens of living animals (ascites method), thanks to the development of cell culture alternatives.
There were 31 infringements recorded during 2002. Of these, 26 were categorised as Class Two or Three infringements, and as such are defined as potentially criminal offences. However, no licences were revoked and there were no prosecutions.