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World Day for Laboratory Animals: the UK still uses cats and dogs in experimentation

Beagles are used for testing in UK laboratories dog-cat-sad
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The 24th of April has been declared around the world as the day of recognition of animals used for experiments in laboratory settings and has been the catalyst for the movement to end their suffering. 

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 24/04/2019, 07:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:47

While the UK is well-known for its high welfare standards, animals are not exempt from its laboratory testing. Michelle Thew, chief executive of Cruelty Free International said: “We force more animals to suffer in painful experiments than any other country in the EU”. 

Perhaps most appalling is the fact that these experiments seem to be useless, with around 1,700 animal tests a year being carried out only for household products. 

Dogs and cats are tested too 

And while we may think of mice, rats, and rabbits being the only test subjects (which is just as shocking), cats and dogs are being used too. A study in 2017 showed that 190 cats and 4,932 dogs were used in various laboratory experiments within a year.

Beagles are typically used for laboratory experiments as they are a laid-back breed willing to be handled by humans.

A shocking undercover investigation was carried out in 2013, and showed puppies and kittens being given lethal injections to test animal vaccines. They were later cut up and their bodies were closely examined. 

And it's still legal

While these practices can make animal lovers uncomfortable, they are not illegal. The use of animals in experiments is regulated in the UK by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act (1986), and as long as the animals are bred and used in licensed premises, and the project as well as the researchers licensed, the procedure is considered legal. 

The RSPCA has conducted several campaigns to bring awareness towards this problem. According to the RSPCA, the necessity and justification for using animals should always be critically reviewed, everything possible must be done to speed up the development of human alternatives, every possible step should be taken to reduce the numbers of animals used, and to significantly reduce their suffering and improve their welfare.

You can visit Cruelty Free International to know more on how you can help prevent further testing on animals. 


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