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Number of animal experiments in the UK rises by 8%

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4601 (Published 17 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4601
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Experiments on animals increased by 8% in 2012 to a total of 4.11 million, leading to accusations that the government is failing in its pledge to work to reduce the number.1

The increase is accounted for by a greater number of procedures involving genetically modified animals, which for the first time exceeded those for non-genetically modified animals. If genetically modified animals are excluded, the number of procedures fell by 2% in 2012 compared with 2011.

There was also a large percentage increase in procedures involving non-human primates, up 22% to 545. But Judy MacArthur Clark, head of the Home Office’s Animals in Science Regulation Unit, said that this was largely an accident of timing. The overall numbers are small and fell sharply in 2011, so this year’s rise can be accounted for by projects delayed in 2011 that started early in 2012.

The …

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