Horrific Tests on Animals Denied

Article excerpt

NORTHERN Ireland's universities have been accused of conducting "horrific and unnecessary animal experiments".

But both Queen's University and the University of Ulster denied the claims, saying that they kept experiments to a minimum and followed strict Government guidelines.

The allegations were made by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), which accused the universities of inflicting 1,300 electric shocks on the hearts of sheep and pigs in "unnecessary" tests of a device regarded as novel by the researchers.

The purpose of the experiment was to investigate a device for restoring normal heart rhythm, it said, yet researchers claim the methods used have already been shown as safe and effective in people.

A spokesman for Queen's said the university was a leading research institution in medicine and health sciences, adding: "Its work preserves and improves the quality of human life in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

"Successful medical research requires that a certain amount of experimentation is conducted on animals," he said.

"Most of the major medical breakthroughs over the last 100 years have depended on such work, including organ transplantation, vaccines and anti-cancer drugs. …