World Day for Animals in Laboratories 2022

Posted on the 20th April 2022

Sunday 24th of April is World Day for Animals in Laboratories. Many animals that suffer in these outdated, cruel, and unreliable procedures, are the very same species we share our lives with – rabbits, dogs, cats and many more.

Non-animal methods such as computer modelling, and cell and tissue cultures are ethically and scientifically superior.

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In Great Britain in 2020 – the latest stats currently available – there were almost 12,000 procedures carried out on rabbits alone.

Rabbits have undergone horrors like having chemicals directly injected into their eyeballs, with their eyes being held open with devices called speculums.

Other procedures have seen heart failure and heart attacks being induced in rabbits – not only by the food they were fed, but also during horrific operations.

As well as this, there have even been papers published which detail baby rabbits, just two-days old, being dosed with a bacterium (Cholera), causing symptoms such as diarrhoea. They were then killed.


In 2020 there were over 470,000 ‘regulatory’ procedures using animals. These procedures involve research into toxicology and testing chemicals.

Minipigs have been found to be sensitive to a wide variety of drugs and chemicals. Increasingly, these animals are being used along with, or in place of, other commonly used animals for regulatory experiments.

The Gottingen minipig was bred for use in biomedical research. A study published in 2020 describes how researchers in Edinburgh poisoned minipigs with insecticide. Details of the study can be found below.

  • 30 male Gottingen minipigs were used in the experiment,
  • Food was withheld from each animal for one night before the study started,
  • The pigs were anaesthetised, and, devices such as catheters were inserted into various arteries and veins,
  • Tubes were passed down the throat of each minipig, for ‘poison gavage’ – to force-feed poison to each animal. Their bladders were also catheterised,
  • Since certain ‘moderately toxic’, insecticides are known to not cause effects in minipigs (even those doses that are believed to cause poisoning in humans), a ‘highly toxic’, insecticide was chosen,
  • This very harmful insecticide was then given to the minipigs, via the tube leading directly to their stomachs,
  • Insecticides are known to cause symptoms including respiratory failure, shock, and lethal heart attacks.

At the end of this horrific experiment, these intelligent, curious, and playful animals were killed.


TGN1412 was a drug undergoing the first trials in healthy men. Prior to the men receiving the drug, monkeys were given doses of the drug that were hundreds of times higher than those the men received. The monkeys did not react in the same way, so the drug was given to the men and it left six of them with organ failure.

  • If a drug is thought to be ‘safe and useful’ after animal trials, it is tested in healthy human volunteers for ‘first-in-human’ trials,
  • In 2006, TGN1412 was tested in six human volunteers,
  • The first dose given to these volunteers was 500 times smaller than that found safe in animal studies,
  • Toxicological studies had been carried out using rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys,
  • Despite showing no severe side effects in the primate trials, all six human volunteers faced life-threatening conditions involving multi-organ failure and some required intensive care treatment to survive.

The many differences – both obvious and very subtle – between humans and other species make animal experiments a waste of resources and lives – both animal and human.

Safer Medicines

Safer Medicines are a charity whose mission is to change the way medicines are tested, to a system based on human biology to ensure safety for patients. They aim:

  • To promote the use of scientifically valid human-relevant methods and technologies for the development of safe and effective medicines
  • To undertake activities to support the evaluation of human-relevant methods
  • To promote regulatory acceptance and prioritisation of suitable methods

To find out more visit their website –


Despite major scientific advances in animal-free toxicology in recent years, the LD50 and similar tests, currently use around 80,000 animals a year in the EU alone. More than four decades ago, in 1979, Animal Aid were reporting on the terrible suffering which animals were subjected to, during the LD50. Symptoms included ‘tremors, convulsions, swellings, bleeding from the mouth and nose, bulging eyeballs and difficulty with breathing’.

XCellR8 are a completely animal-free laboratory, based in Cheshire. Not only do they not use any live animals or animal tissues, they have chosen to take the ethical, and scientific decision, not to use any animal-derived products in any of their tests. XCellR8 were founded in 2008, and in 14 years have made huge progress and scientific leaps – they were awarded the Lush Training Prize in 2013, in recognition of their work training the scientists of the future in non-animal methods.

Read more about our collaboration with XCellR8 here:

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