A petition to reduce animal testing at uni has over 30,000 signatures

They are requesting alternative testing methods


Sheffield University Vegetarian and Vegan Society have created a petition to cut down the number of animals used by the University of Sheffield in experiments and testing.

Created on Care2Petittions, 30,408 supporters have now signed the petition against vivisection at uni, and the increasing number of animals used year on year.

Earlier this month, a freedom of information request submitted by The Tab revealed that 82,512 animals were killed for testing purposes during the 2015/16 academic year.

This was a 22.7 percent increase on 2014/15’s figures, with an average of 226 animals killed each day.

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Zebrafish represented 70 percent of the animals, followed by mice and birds as the second and third most tested.

In light of this, activists are requesting for the Sheffield University to move away from testing on animals such as pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, gerbils and fish and to use cruelty-free testing methods such as digital dissection software and human simulators.

While many of supporters of the petition have called out the practice as ‘barbaric’ and ‘completely medieval’, it is important to highlight that Sheffield’s animal research figures are a lot lower in comparison to other institutes.

Recent data compiled by the group Cruelty Free International found Oxford to be the biggest offender, conducting tests on a level three times higher than Sheffield.

The University’s research projects have also pioneered great breakthroughs in medical science, developing human embryonic stem cells to treat the common form of deafness and discovering that a liver drug could prove a promising treatment to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

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The Shared Ageing Research Models (shARM) has too been found to be reducing the number of mouse models required for research into ageing – particularly important for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis and cancer.

Actively applying alternatives to animal testing, Sheffield is the UK’s principal centre for In silico medicine. The sophisticated computational work simulates real biological processes in a virtual environment and aims to reduce cell and tissue cultures in the laboratory.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “As part of our efforts to remain at the forefront of medical and scientific advances, which results in lifesaving treatment for people with chronic and degenerative diseases, we conduct limited research using animals.

“The University is currently undertaking more biomedical research as part of a drive to increase our UK and international standing as a centre of research excellence.

“This research contributes to ground breaking developments in understanding and treating major diseases such as cancer, deafness, heart disease Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions which devastate millions of lives every year.

“Wherever possible the University of Sheffield is committed to using species of the lowest neuro-physiological sensitivity and zebra fish are increasingly being used in pioneering research instead of mammals.

“Our scientists are fully committed to finding other alternatives to research which is currently dependent on animals.”

Meanwhile, Megan McGrath, President of the Vegetarian and Vegan society, and the creator of the petition has said: “The students from the Univeristy of Sheffield’s Vegetarian and Vegan Society are fundamentally opposed to the exploitation of animals through the University’s testing procedures, which is only increasing.

“We urge the Univeristy to move towards safer, both for humans and animals, methods of performing their necessary and important research”

They are running a campaign against animal testing, which you can get involved in here.