Azara Blog: More GM animals being used in animal experiments

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Date published: 2005/12/08

The BBC says:

The use of genetically modified animals in UK laboratories has continued to rise, government figures have shown.

Modified animals made up 32% of all procedures in 2004, compared with 27% the previous year.

Total experiments showed a marginal increase, of 2.3% to just over 2.85 million - but this is still about half the level it was 30 years ago.

The number of animals used in research was 2.78 million, a rise of 2.1% on 2003 figures.

Home Office minister, Andy Burnham said that animal research had led to advances in the treatment of many conditions.

"Where there is no alternative available, we will continue to ensure that the balance between animal welfare and scientific advancement is maintained," he said.

Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC), said the increased use of modified animals - predominantly mice - was a result of new techniques that were giving important insights into human disease.

By adding or knocking out genes in mice, scientists believe they can gain an insight into the molecular flaws in humans that lead to illness.

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (Buav) criticised the government for failing to provide adequate funding into alternatives.

"The Government pays only 'lip service' to alternatives. It has no strategy to reduce the numbers of animals used," said Adolfo Sansolini, chief executive of Buav.

Campaigner Animal Aid has published its own report to coincide with the release of the statistics that brands the use of GM animals a "scientific dead end".

The report's author Dr Jarrod Bailey, a medical scientist at Newcastle University, carried out an analysis of scientific papers and found that, in some 70% of cases where a GM animal is created in the hope of replicating human symptoms, the animal does not perform as expected.

"Animals often don't mirror the human situation in terms of symptoms or pathology," Dr Bailey told the BBC News website.

If Bailey would happily tell the scientists ahead of time which of the 70% of cases where allegedly using GM animals does not work then no doubt they would take the advice on board. Unfortunately it is like many things in life, you do not know ahead of time what will and will not work. This is one of the basic problems that the animal rights fundamentalists refuse to acknowledge. Well, like all fundamentalists they have moral objections to something (here, using animals in experiments) and so will use any spurious argument they can think of to try and promote their cause.

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