MORE than 4.1 million experiments were carried out on animals in Great Britain during 2013; it is the equivalent to starting more than 11,000 experiments every day. This is the highest number of animal experiments seen for 26 years and flies in the face of the Coalition Government’s pledge in 2010 to work to reduce the number of animal experiments.

It is unacceptable that millions of animals continue to suffer and die in UK laboratories, including 2,202 primates, 3,554 dogs, 26,342 guinea-pigs, 11,895 rabbits and 330 horses.

Experiments that involve breeding genetically modified animals and those with a harmful mutation accounted for more than half the total number of experiments carried out in 2013. Such research imposes a heavy welfare burden on the animals. Few show the ‘desired’ characteristics, and so millions more may be killed (and not counted) even before any research can take place, while others die of severe and unrelated malformations caused by the genetic modification techniques themselves.

The UK should be leading the way in reducing animal testing, yet we remain one of the world’s largest users of animals in experiments. The BUAV will continue to work towards ending this appalling suffering taking place in our laboratories.

MICHELLE THEW Chief executive BUAV