experimental animals

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Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain 2015 — Highlighting an Ongoing Upward Trend in Animal Use and Missed Opportunities for Reduction

Michelle Hudson-Shore

The Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain 2015 indicate that the Home Office were correct in recommending that caution should be exercised when interpreting the 2014 data as an apparent decline in animal experiments. The 2015 report shows that, as the changes to the format of the annual statistics have become more familiar and less problematic, there has been a re-emergence of the upward trend in animal research and testing in Great Britain. The 2015 statistics report an increase in animal procedures (up to 4,142,631) and in the number of animals used (up to 4,069,349). This represents 1% more than the totals in 2013, and a 7% increase on the procedures reported in 2014. This paper details an analysis of these most recent statistics, providing information on overall animal use and highlighting specific issues associated with genetically-altered animals, dogs and primates. It also reflects on areas of the new format that have previously been highlighted as being problematic, and concludes with a discussion about the use of animals in regulatory research and testing, and how there are significant missed opportunities for replacing some of the animal-based tests in this area.

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Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals 2014: A New Format, and Hopefully a New Era of Diminishing Animal Experimentation?

Michelle Hudson-Shore

The Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain 2014 reports a welcome decline in animal experimentation in the UK. However, caution has to be exercised when interpreting these most recent figures, due to the significant changes made to satisfy the requirements of Directive 2010/63/EU as to what information is reported and how it is reported. Comparisons to the figures and trends reported in previous years is difficult, so this paper focuses on the specifics of the current report, providing information on overall animal use and highlighting specific issues associated with genetically-altered animals, fish and primates. There is a detailed discussion of the extent of the changes, commenting on the benefits and disadvantages of the new format, in areas such as severity of procedures, legislation and techniques of special interest. It also considers the consequences of the changes on the effective monitoring of laboratory animal use, the openness and transparency regarding the impacts of animal use, and the implementation of Three Rs initiatives. In addition, suggestions for further improvements to the new format are made to the Home Office.

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Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals 2013:Experimentation Continues to Rise

Michelle Hudson-Shore

The 2013 Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals reveal that the level of animal experimentation in Great Britain continues to rise, with 4.12 million procedures being conducted. The figures indicate that this is almost exclusively a result of the breeding and use of genetically-altered (GA) animals (i.e. genetically-modified animals, plus those with harmful genetic defects). The breeding of GA animals increased to over half (51%) of all the procedures, and GA animals were involved in 61% of all the procedures. Indeed, if these animals were removed from the statistics, the number of procedures would actually have declined by 4%. It is argued that the Coalition Government has failed to address this issue, and, as a consequence, will not be able to deliver its pledge to reduce animal use in science. Recent publications supporting the need to reassess the dominance of genetic alteration are also discussed, as well as the need to move away from the use of dogs as the default second species in safety testing. The general trends in the species used, and the numbers and types of procedures, are also reviewed. Finally, forthcoming changes to the statistics are discussed.

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Third EU Report on the Statistics on Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes: Trends, Problems, Conclusions

Ursula G. Sauer, Horst Spielmann and Brigitte Rusche

A brief overview is given of the data published in the third report on the number of animals used for scientific purposes in the European Union (EU), in 1999. In comparison to the second EU statistical report, the meaningfulness of the data has been greatly improved, since 14 EU Member States have now used the “EU tables”. Even though the total number of animals officially reported in the EU for 1999 (9.81 million animals) is lower than the number reported for 1996 in the second report (11.65 million animals), an increase in animal numbers was observed in several Member States. Repeatedly, the use of transgenic animals was considered to be the cause for this. Most national authorities provided some comments on the data they submitted. However, the quality of these accompanying notes varies considerably, with the comments provided by The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and the United Kingdom containing the most-detailed remarks on their data.
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The Extended Welfare Assessment Grid: A Matrix for the Assessment of Welfare and Cumulative Suffering in Experimental Animals

Paul Honess and Sarah Wolfensohn

Combining a range of assessment parameters into one usable entity has been identified as an important goal in providing a practical, objective and robust assessment of welfare, particularly in laboratory animals. This paper refines and extends one such previously published method. The proposed Extended Welfare Assessment Grid provides for the incorporation of changes in the state of an animal over time, allowing for predictive, retrospective, scheduled, or event monitoring. It enables the numeric, as well as visual, representation of the animal’s welfare, placing this in the context of the careful and realistic justification for experimental use of the animal. This assessment method represents a valuable tool for those tasked with ensuring ethical oversight, as well as for those planning the use, or monitoring, of animals in research. It is particularly applicable to animals used in long-term studies, especially non-human primates. It is believed that this system will draw attention to the temporal component of suffering that is often overlooked in the planning of research schedules and allow an assessment of cumulative suffering imposed by the events that occur.
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European Experimental Animal Use Declines Ever So Slightly

Michelle Hudson and Michael Balls

The latest report on experimental animal use in the EU indicates a slight decrease. However, the figures, which are for 2008, show that around 12-million animals are still used in laboratories throughout Europe. To date, only a summary of the data has been published, and so this report is limited to giving a comparison of trends and significant changes. The impact on the figures of the revision of Directive 86/609 and the 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC is discussed. In addition, consideration is given to which areas of research and regulation will need to be closely monitored, and the importance of continuing to push for the implementation of Three Rs initiatives is highlighted.
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The Latest Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Reveal Little Three Rs Progress in Great Britain in 2010

Michelle Hudson

The 2010 Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals showed that the level of animal experimentation in Great Britain continues to rise, with just over 3.7 million procedures being conducted. This is almost exclusively due to the sustained increase in the breeding and utilisation of genetically-altered animals. Here, the general trends in the species used and the numbers and types of procedures are reviewed. In addition, the impact of the recent Government announcement to ban testing of household products on animals is discussed, along with the implications of the fish becoming the second mostfrequently used animal in scientific research. Finally, concerns about primate use, the REACH System, cosmetics testing and the new EU Directive on the protection of laboratory animals are explained.
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An Opportunity to Refocus on the ‘Humane’ in Experimental Endpoints: Moving Beyond Directive 2010/63/EU

Vanessa Ashall and Kate Millar

Humane endpoints are a core refinement concept in animal experimentation. This paper identifies an urgent requirement for individuals and institutions to refocus on humane endpoints as part of the transposition of Directive 2010/63/EU into the national laws of the Member States, and to go beyond their legal construction when setting new guidance or applying humane endpoints in practice. It will be argued that requirements for humane endpoints within the Directive appear not to promote recent advances in best practice, but seem reliant on a narrow and potentially outdated definition of the term. We describe progress that has been made in encouraging change in the construction and application of humane endpoints, and suggest that Directive 2010/63/EU does not sufficiently acknowledge the conceptual complexity of this refinement strategy. For example, a useful development representing recent consensual views of best practice has been proposed by an EU consortium (in 2012). A complex approach to humane endpoints may place additional demands on institutions and raise challenges that would, unfortunately, not need to be overcome in order to remain within the Directive’s current requirements regarding humane endpoints.

We argue that there is now a need for a practical tool to help structure appropriate ethical reflection during research planning and experimentation, in order to facilitate best practice in the application of this important refinement concept.

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