Animal testing matters say researchers

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Animal rights Animal testing

Scientists in the UK have demonstrated their support for animal
testing, insisting that animal experimentation is vital to medical
breakthroughs.

The declaration comes after approximately 500 eminent scientists and doctors across the UK showed their support for experimentation for medical and laboratory research. They also acknowledged the need, wherever it was a viable option, to implement methods that would replace the use of animals.

The new statement, drawn up by The Research Defence Society,​ mirrors similar statements by the Royal Society in 2004 and the House of Lords select committee on animals in scientific procedures in 2002.

The document stressed the benefits of animal research with minimal suffering and distress, imploring the need to make every effort to safeguard animal welfare. It recommended that wherever possible, animals must be replaced by non-animal methods and the numbers of animals reduced.

Dr Simon Festing, executive director of RDS, which drew up the 2005 Declaration, said: "We are delighted to have gathered over 500 signatures from top UK academic scientists and doctors in less than one month. It shows the strength and depth of support for humane animal research in this country."

"Abolitionist groups often claim that their position has scientific or medical support, but it's no surprise that they cannot back this up,"​ he added.

Professor Nick Wright, Dean of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said his reasons for signing was in recognition of the enormous contribution made to modern health care and public health by animals in medical research.

"As the pace of discovery quickens, it becomes even more important if we are to maintain this momentum. This is why I believe that we should all publicly acknowledge our debt to animal experimentation,"​ he commented.

The Research Defence Society said that the show of support was not related to Wednesday's announcement that a family-run guinea pig breeding farm was to close following intimidation by animal rights extremists.

Darley Oaks Farm in Staffordshire, United Kingdom, prompted scientists to warn that further incidents could make Britain a place where it is impossible to carry out clinically relevant research.

The owners of the guinea pig farm were suppliers of animals for medical research and had been the victims of a six-year hate campaign by animal activists. In one incident the grave of the owner's mother-in-law, was desecrated.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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