Scots university used almost 50,000 animals for tests last year

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ALMOST 1,000 animals per week were used for breeding and research at a Scottish university last year.

Dundee University revealed that more than 47,313 animals were used in “regulated procedures” in 2011.

The animal tests were carried out by the college of life sciences and the college of medicine, dentistry and nursing in the aid of research.

Spiny mice Photo:Ltshears 

In a freedom of information request, it was revealed that 25,894 mice were used for breeding, as well as 1000 rats, 166 frogs, and 41 rabbits.

In the response, the university said: “The remaining animals were used for fundamental biological research or studies applied to medicine.”

Over 13,000 are held on campus but the numbers can vary, according to the response.

But the university were adamant that such experiments are vital for the discovery of new medicines.

It quoted its written policy on animal testing and insists that other testing methods are used where possible.

The statement said: “Many of the important discoveries made in these programmes have depended crucially on the use of experimental animals.

“The university also takes its ethical and legal responsibilities very seriously.

“Alternatives to the use of living animals for example computer models and increasingly sophisticated cell culture systems, are adopted whenever possible, but procedures that involve animals continue to be necessary in many cases, particularly when the integrated behaviour of complex physiological systems is being studied.”

“The results of these studies are of great importance in understanding and thereby potentially being able to treat or prevent serious health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, genetic disorders and infectious diseases.

“Nevertheless, it is very important that these potential benefits to human and, indeed, animal health can be seen to outweigh the welfare costs experienced by experimental animals,” the university said.

Benefit and cost analysis is carried out by an ethical review committee before any project gets the green light.

Staff working with the animals are also trained to house the animals properly.

Ethical review 

Procedures that involve the use of animals require the approval of the ethical review committee.

The majority of such procedures must also be licensed by the Home Office under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

The university said: “Compliance with the provisions of the law is monitored closely by the university and, indeed, by the local Home Office inspector, who makes regular unannounced visits.”

Dr Katy Taylor from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection said: ‘The BUAV is shocked to learn of the large number of animals used by Dundee University.

“While finding cures for human illnesses is laudable, animal research is not only cruel, it is also a failure.

“AIDS vaccines, diabetic treatments as well as treatments for stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and many more diseases – have worked in mice and even monkeys, yet failed in humans.

“Animals cannot predict if a new treatment will be safe in people. There is an urgent need to move away from using animals to superior and humane tests using human cells and tissues.’”

The cost to the university of the animal research will be enormous, said BUAV.

Researchers, depending on the human disease or disorder they want to study, have to buy mice and other animals from commercial providers with the relevant defect “bred in”.

Two pairs of mice suffering with epilepsy, for example, could cost £1,220.

And if the university were to order a mouse with a specific genetic modification, it could could set them back up to £61,000 according to their estimates.

Karen Gardiner, spokeswoman for the Institute of Animal Technology said: “The biomedical research community have nothing to apologise for. The work that we do is really important and there is no-one alive in this country who hasn’t benefited from these tests.

“Dundee University is very prestigious and carry out very important experiments on Alzheimer’s, allergies, asthma, and neuroscience.”

She added that not all of the experimental work involved invasive work, such as surgery.

“They do a lot of important procedures which can involve giving blood, a change of diet or breeding. A lot of the time animals won’t even know what’s being done to them,” she said.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Karen Gardiner, spokeswoman for the Institute of Animal Technology said: “The biomedical research community have nothing to apologise for”. Nothing new there then. Not only are animal experimenters in denial about the failure of their cruelty to deliver help to patients, they also fail to recognise any moral universe other than their own. The ability to hang onto their cherished beliefs – and belligerently attack anyone who dares dissent – is akin to a kind of medieval crusade.

    “A lot of the time animals won’t even know what’s being done to them,”. Of course not. Why don’t you just come out and tell us they enjoy it – we’ve heard that one before as well.

    Animal experiments are a betrayal of the sick – they don’t work, and divert funds away from more productive research. That is quite a lot to apologise for.

  2. This rather belligerent attack by a mouthpiece of Animal Aid, Adrian Smallwood,
    betrays a complete lack of understanding about how and why animal research is carried out.
    The animals are very well looked after in research, suffering is minimal and indeed a lot of research involves mice simply doing what comes naturally – breeding! The resulting GM mice are providing amazing insights into Alzheimer’s disease, cancers and even parasitic diseases.
    Everyone needs to decide whether the the sacrifice of a few pampered rodents – actually 3 mice and 1 rat for every member of the population – is worth it, given the enormous health and medical benefits that result for both people and animals.

    • “…suffering is minimal” – ridiculous. Why don’t you offer yourself for testing then?

      “…Everyone needs to decide whether the the sacrifice of a few pampered rodents – actually 3 mice and 1 rat for every member of the population – is worth it, given the enormous health and medical benefits that result for both people and animals…” – I’m very glad that many people have already decided against, just consider the growing number of animal rights organisations. Fortunately not every one is lucking compassion like you and people who are doing that cruel tests. Tests which are not even justified sciantifically. Try to put yourself in the shoes of those animals and then decide if you would like it to happen to you “given the enormous health and medical benefits that would result for …” “people”.
      How come you got the befefits for animals??? God knows…

  3. There is no such thing as minimal suffering-if that were true why not use yourselves in the experiments-the results would be quicker-after all animals are a different species-but we all have the same creator-I am ashamed of the backward research (using animals) at Dundee University-technology is so far advanced the use of animals in research is for people with no vision.

  4. @marva. not really- as advanced as technology is it iosnt there yet. its illegal to use animals if there is a technology alternative so your claim is necessarily b*****ks

  5. More and more scientists and citizens refuse this fraudulent and unethic “science”.
    @Barbara Davies: come on… your comment is so cute, but we don’t believe in fairy tales any more!
    “Vivisection is a crime” (Victor Hugo)

  6. You are probably not aware that an astonishing 92% of drugs which pass animal experiments, FAIL in human experiments (otherwise known as ‘clinical trials’). That is an incredible failure rate – and clearly proves beyond ANY doubt, that animal experiments do not predict human outcomes.
    Quite clearly the only reason that any human drug or medical procedure finally gets to market is because it passes HUMAN experiments, which are renamed ‘clinical trials’ so the public don’t realise what they really are. 92% of drugs which succeeded in animals failed in human experiments.

    Animal experimentation is a massive fraud which has been going on for hundreds of years. The vivisectionists rely on the public being ignorant of the facts, and simply not having enough time to read up some of the arguments against vivisection. If Dundee University actually believe their animals are not being tortured, I supposed they would have no problem having CCTV in all of their laboratories. Of course, they would never do that, as all the undercover footage taken in vivisection laboratories shows that they are run by psychopaths who torture animals on a daily basis, often while screaming and shouting at them. How very ‘scientific’. Just go on Youtube and look up ‘vivisection’ and then you’ll see what Dundee University is actually doing.

    Finally, for those who against all reality believe that animal experiments somehow help human beings, in what way are human beings better or worth more than animals? Is a murderer’s life worth more than that of a thousand rabbits? What about a paedophile who rapes children? Is his life somehow better and worth preserving more than that of even one animal? What harm did the animals ever do to anybody? What makes you think your life is worth that of thousands of animals? (I am presuming that all of those in favour of vivisection are also so selfish that they aren’t vegan, because 4,000 animals being tortured and killed so that you can eat them, during your lifetime, are nothing compared to YOUR ‘precious’ life, right?)

  7. The chasm that persists between laboratory experiments and clinical practice is astounding, in other words scientists can cure transgrafted cancer cells in mice in labs, have over 100 vaccines for HIV in monkeys in labs, can treat neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimers but not a single one of these animal successes has translated to any human benefit. While the people of Scotland continue to find this kind of outdated, obsolete methods, biomedicine research is failing humans and more people than ever continue to suffer and die from these diseases.

    This is because no matter how many time we test a new drug or diseases on animals they will never produce results that are at all reliable, meaningful or relevant to the human species. These animals don’t even suffer from human cancer, HIV, Parkinsons’ in the first place. If Dundee University is more serious about curing human diseases than iti s about making money it should show this by researching on the human relevant species that exist today and be more honest and open about the huge risks and shortcomings that reliance upon animal models pose not to mention how much they are holding back progress of human medicine.
    Only then might they eventually come out with some meaningfull results at long last/

  8. We can all lower the risk of getting cancer, heart disease and diabetes by adopting a healthy life style, eating a balanced diet including “5 a day”, taking regular exercise, drinking sensibly and not smoking. Surely everyone knows this, yet many people do not do these things. For example, the number of people with obesity is increasing, which increases their risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Why should animals suffer for people who can’t be bothered to look after themselves?

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