One million animals used in medical tests at top unis

Edinburgh, Oxford and UCL test the most animals


Six big unis are responsible for around a million scientific experiments on animals each year, say new figures.

Animal testers at Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL, Cambridge, KCL and Imperial account for 55 per cent of the critters experimented on at UK unis.

Data released on the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection says Edinburgh conducted research on 241,865 animals, Oxford on 190,169 and UCL on 181,295.

Depending on your opinion, this is either a hateful non-human person genocide or the front line in the battle against preventable disease.

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Tests included being injected with toxic chemicals, which the anti-vivisection campaigners say resulted in severe disability, or being strapped into restraints to perform computer tasks.

Another experiment designed to mimic human anxiety disorders was said to involved imprisoning marmosets inside small boxes, blasting them with loud noises and placing rubber cobras inside their cages to scare them.

Dr Katy Taylor, Head of Science at the Union said: “Shockingly, universities account for half of the total number of animals used in experiments carried out in the UK and are responsible for some particularly distressing and disturbing experiments.

“Yet, despite growing concern regarding animal research, much of it is publicly funded. It is ironic that many universities are also leaders in the research to find alternatives to using animals.

“So while one department may be developing cutting edge alternatives, another may be breeding animals to be used in experiments.”

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A Cambridge Uni spokesman said: “We are proud of our research, which meets the highest standards of animal welfare and is scrutinised by our Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board – who strive to reduce the number of animals used.

“Our scientists are actively looking at new techniques to replace the use of animals in research. But without the use of animals, we would not have many of the modern medicines, antibiotics, vaccines and surgical techniques that we take for granted in both human and veterinary medicine.

“Some of the important and pioneering work carried out in Cambridge that has led to major improvements in people’s lives was only possible with the use of animals – from the development of IVF techniques through to new drugs for multiple sclerosis and cancer.”

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The top six unis for animal testing in 2013

Edinburgh – 242,865 animals
Oxford – 190,169
UCL – 181,295
Cambridge – 169,353
KCL – 132,885
Imperial 130,358