Animal Rights Uproar

Article excerpt

Byline: Niamh Anderson

A SCOTTISH university has been slated by animal rights groups for using almost 1,000 animals a week for medical experiments.

Animal testing at Dundee University has come under the spotlight after it was revealed 47,313 creatures were used in 'regulated procedures' last year.

Mice, rabbits, frogs and rats are kept in laboratories for breeding or biological tests to help find new medicines for conditions including cancer and heart disease.

The university says the animals are invaluable in developing new treatments and its ethics committee oversees all its work to protect the animals' welfare.

But animal rights groups have accused it of cruelty and wasting up to [pounds sterling]61,000 each on animals bred with genetic defects for research.

Dr Katy Taylor of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection )BUAV) said: 'We are 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.' More than 13,000 animals at any one time can be kept at the university for testing, 97 per cent of them mice.

In 2011, 25,894 mice were used for breeding for experiments, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. Another 20,127 were used for biological research or medicine development, along with 1,085 rats, 41 rabbits and 166 frogs.

The tests were carried out by the college of life sciences and the college of medicine, dentistry and nursing. …