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Leading anti-vivisection group Uncaged has reacted with disappointment and suspicion over Government plans for a centre to examine animal testing.

The proposed institute, an extension of an existing Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for 'best practice in animal research', appears likely to focus on the so-called '3R's' approach to animal research: refinement, reduction and replacement.

Uncaged dismisses the 3Rs approach - developed in 1959 - as outdated and irrelevant. Campaigns Director Dan Lyons comments:

"There is now a much deeper appreciation of the fundamental scientific problems with animal experiments, and the mental and physical suffering endured by caged animals in laboratories. Simply refining or reducing animal experiments misses the basic problem and will do virtually nothing to alleviate the pain and distress endured by millions of animals. The only adequate approach is wholesale replacement of vivisection. The notion of 'best practice in animal research' is a contradiction in terms."

Uncaged is also critical of inaccurate media reports portraying the initiative as "a radical shake-up in the way animal experiments are controlled" [1]. This DTI project in fact has no direct relationship with the licensing of vivisection, which is carried out by a Home Office Inspectorate comprised mainly of ex-vivisectors. Furthermore, any 'alternative' testing methods developed by the 3R's centre may have little impact on animal testing because the Home Office has been unwilling to insist on changes that might impose short-term financial costs on the vivisection industry.

This proposal is an attempt by the Government to make it appear that it is listening to growing public disquiet over vivisection without actually doing anything. In fact, both the Government and the MRC are heavily involved in pro-vivisection posturing and are unwilling to enter into a serious, open debate about the acceptability of animal experimentation.

In the meantime, the Home Office continues to rubber-stamp animal research applications and turn a blind eye to cruel, futile and illegal experimentation. Without a wholesale, independent review of vivisection and the entire regulatory structure, this announcement in nothing more than window dressing.


  1. E.g. BBC News "Shake up of animal tests expected"
    [ news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3732321.stm ]

Uncaged Campaigns 21.05.04


Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.