In 2012 Animal rights campaigners though a freedom of information request found out that Newcastle university carried out 22,216 animal experiments between 1st January 2011 to 31st December 2011.
Vivisection means the ‘cutting up’ of living animals, but has now become more generally used as the term for all experiments on living animals as many animal experiments, such as poisoning tests, will not involve surgical procedures.
It is estimated that over 100 million animals suffer every year in laboratory experiments world-wide. Animals bred for research that are subsequently killed as ‘surplus’ are not included in these numbers.
There has been a huge increase in the number of animals – particularly mice and rats – used in genetic engineering experiments and this is predicted to continue to increase in the future. The UK is Europe’s largest user of animals for experiments.
Rats and mice are used in a large proportion of experiments, because they are easy to handle and cheap to keep. They occupy less space in a laboratory than larger animals and can produce 50 – 100 babies a year.
Rabbits are commonly used for eye and skin tests because they are easy to handle and they have a very limited ability to ‘cry away’ substances from their eyes during experiments.
Guinea pigs are also commonly used in skin testing and batch testing for substances such as vaccines. Dogs and primates are commonly used in toxicity testing, brain research, dental research and surgical experiments. The most common breed of laboratory dog is the beagle, chosen primarily because they are good-natured and a manageable size for testing procedures.
It is for this reason that Newcastle University Should Close down their animal research laboratory and start to fund the alternatives into animal testing
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