A total of 619,798 animals were used for experiments in Scotland in 2013, a decrease of 0.5 percent from 2012, according to a recent release by the Home Office in answer to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Graeme Morrice MP.
However, the figures show sharp increases in the number of dogs and primates used, as well as the number of genetically modified animals used and the number of animals bred with a harmful genetic defect.
A total of 936 dogs and 702 primates were experimented on, meaning a 61.7 percent increase and a 21.5 increase respectively.
The number of genetically modified animals and animals bred with a harmful genetic defect showed a 17.8 percent increase to 335,116, and 67.4 percent to 21,435 respectively.
NAVS investigations show the great suffering caused to animals in GM experiments. “‘Donors’ and ‘parents’ are subjected to repeated surgeries, egg collection, implantation and repeated blood and tissue testing. Their babies can suffer severe deformities, painful swellings, fused lungs and premature death. The vast majority of babies are discarded and killed because only 3-5% possess the desired trait.”
The release also stated that:
Cats were used in 11 experiments, 450 percent increase.
Horses were used in 1,887 experiments, 10.2 percent increase.
Pigs were used in 597 experiments, 13.9 percent increase.
Mice were used in 406,502 experiments, 12.5 percent increase.
Guinea pigs were used in 1,390 experiments, 5.5 percent increase
Birds were used in 17,224 experiments, 19 percent increase.
It also showed that in more than half of the experiments, 392,894, no anaesthesia was used and the majority of the animals were killed at the end of the experiments.
The over 600 thousand animals used in Scotland, almost 80 percent by universities and medical schools, represent a 15.4 percent of the total number of animals used in Great Britain, where 4.12 million animals were experimented on last year.
BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew stated: “We are dismayed to see these large increases; in particular with GM animals. Animal experiments is an issue of strong public concern. Significant and lasting change needs to happen for animals in laboratories and we urge Scotland to pioneer and lead on reducing animal experiments.”
NAVS President Jan Creamer said: “It is shocking that so many animal tests take place in Scottish universities. These experiments are mainly curiosity-driven, and cause a great deal of suffering to the animals. We must urgently address the lack of scientific and public accountability by repealing the Section 24 secrecy clause.”
Section 24 is a ‘secrecy clause’ that prevents public and scientific scrutiny of animal tests. A recent public consultation by the UK Government revealed that the majority of the British public wants the clause repealed. The government stated that it will most likely be replaced with new legislation.
Labour MP for Livingston Graeme Morrice said: “Although there has been a slight reduction, it is disappointing that universities in Scotland are still using so many animals in outdated tests.
“Many of my constituents share my concerns about these high numbers which is why I am joining the NAVS in calling for more progress to be made towards phasing out these unreliable animal tests.”