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University animal testing sparks angry protest

Activists called some of the experiments ‘severe’


Outraged animal rights campaigners have staged a protest against the university’s use of animal testing.

The Merseyside Animal Rights group gathered outside the University of Liverpool on Wednesday, after it emerged the uni performed tests on 14,753 animals last year.

Tests were performed on animals including mice, rats, rabbits, chicken, sheep, cattle, horses, zebra fish and trout.

In a statement the activists said: “1,451 of these experiments were classed as severe in terms of the pain and suffering inflicted on the animals.

“These severe experiments all involved mice or rabbits. Most other experiments inflicted mild to moderate pain and suffering.

“The use of non-human animals as models for human disease research is being increasingly called into question. Differences between species means the results delivered are often inaccurate and frequently dangerous.”

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The statement went on to say: “There are calls from within the scientific community to accelerate the replacement of animals in research and testing with more human relevant alternatives on both scientific and ethical grounds.

“There is a double impetus to replace the use of animals in research and testing: protecting animals from this cruel and outdated practice, and safeguarding and advancement of human health.”

A third year Veterinary student who wishes to remain anonymous believes the university’s use of animal testing is completely necessary.

He said: “Virtually every medical achievement in the 20th century relied on animals in some way. Even the most complex computer models can’t predict biological interactions, making animal research necessary.”

“If we placed the same value on all animal life as human life then animal testing would be wrong, but we don’t.”

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One medicine student, who wishes to remain anonymous, felt the same: “Animal testing is common-place. We need to test on animals to make medical advancements.”

A spokesperson for the university said: “Research involving animals continues to make a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and control of a range of major health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness.

“While new methods have enabled scientists and medical researchers to considerably reduce work involving animals, there is overwhelming scientific consensus some work must continue for further fundamental advances to be made.

“The university embraces the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement and is committed to the development of alternative methods such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology and human clinical research.

“Where the use of animals remains essential, we ensure the number used is minimised and procedures, care routines and husbandry are refined to maximise welfare as far as possible. Liverpool’s facilities for animals involved in research are among the best in the UK.”