Sunday, 15 December 2013

Why are we still testing on animals?

In March 2013 a complete and total ban on animal testing for cosmetics was implemented in the EU (BUAV report). This was and still is fantastic news, however, we still allow animal experiments to continue for medical research. 4,033,310 animals were used last year for medical experiments in the UK, which is an increase of 9% from 2011. Among those animals being tested in are well over 2,500 primates in ten laboratories around the UK (1). This is in spite of overwhelming scientific research showing us that this is no longer necessary, just look at the Dr Hadwen Trust.

The arguments for animal testing no longer stack up, for example, one often used pro argument is that we have to test on animals to know it's safe for humans. Well humans are vastly different from the animals used in testing and there have been many cases of drugs going horribly wrong; after having no negative results in animals. Arthritis drug Opren is known o have killed 61 people. Over 3,500 cases of severe reactions have been documented. Opren was tested on monkeys without problems (2).

Another one is that there are no techniques to replace animal testing, well that is also wrong. There are many ways to replace it and here is a list of them - click here (point 9).

Above all it is just immoral and wrong to abuse the lives of animals in such a heartless and cruel way. I was going to include pictures of what really goes on in these labs, but I decided not to. There is a link at the bottom where you can see some.

Yesterday I went on a protest organised by the Anti-Vivisection Coalition (AVC), below is how it went.



AVC's first ever UK protest was to free the primates being kept at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Controls (NIBSC). I joined over fifty other people that chose to spend their Saturday afternoon in the cold making a stand against the suffering these animals have to endure. The main purpose was to raise awareness of what this lab is doing and I caught up with the Head of the AVC, Luke Steele, to see how he thought the day went.

Luke Steele, Head of AVC
"We have been in local newspapers, on the radio and TV and have reached over 100,00 people who did not know this lab was here and what experiments it carried out." When I asked him about if the NIBSC had been in contact he continues "we have not had any contact with the NIBSC apart from coordinating the protest, the directors just don't want to talk to us."

Luke said the next step is a protest in central London outside the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency head office. They run the NIBSC and this will be a high profile event that should attract even greater media coverage. The AVC's goal is to end all animal experimentation and they believe animals deserve a right to live without fear or pain.



The biggest scandal that I learnt about while involved with the AVC protest is that the NIBSC is wholly owned by the British Government. The primate experimentation programme is funded through public funds. This means that the tax I pay goes someway to support what truly disgusts me, so I am well within my rights to put an end to this. It also makes me think about what else my money is going towards and why it is so important for everyone to lobby their MPs on these issues.


At the end of the day what we have is an old out of date system that needs complete overhauling. Just because we have used animal testing in the past does not validate for why we continue to use it. Without the people and organisations standing up to end animal experimentation this cruel practice will continue and the truth will remain untold.

1. Statistics on number of animals being used for animal experimentation - click here
2. Source for animal experiments gone wrong in humans - click here
3. Clear reasons why animal experiments are no longer necessary - click here
4. Pictures of the truth to what animal experiments really look like (warning graphic images) - click here