Laboratory dog cages could be made smaller
The size of cages holding beagles awaiting experiments could be reduced under new Government proposals, animal welfare campaigners warned yesterday.
The Home Office published fresh plans for animal testing that it said would mean higher standards in Britain than in much of the European Union and would ensure special protection for primates, dogs and cats.
But the RSPCA raised the alarm over suggestions that the minimum cage size for beagles could be reduced from 4.5 sq m to 4 sq m. Barney Reed, its senior scientist, said: "We believe the current minimum UK pen size is already far too small for active, intelligent animals such as these dogs."
Testing on dogs fell 2 per cent in 2010, with 5,782 experiments being made on just over 3,700 dogs, more than 99 per cent of which were beagles.
The proposals, due to come into force next year, were in response to a new EU Directive designed to guarantee minimum levels of animal welfare. Lynne Featherstone, the Home Office minister, said: "While we recognise the need to use animals in order to help develop potentially life-saving drugs... we are also working to reduce the use of animals in research."
The number of experiments on animals rose steadily over the last decade to just over 3.7 million in 2010, but the Coalition agreement committed the Government to reducing the figure.
Mr Reed said the RSPCA was pleased the Government had largely avoided the temptation to lower standards, but he added: "Much more needs to be done if we're going to make faster progress with reducing lab animal use and suffering."
Troy Seidle, Director of Research and Toxicology at Humane Society International/UK, described the proposals as a "mis- sed opportunity to advance humane science without animal suffering". "The Home Office's response offers little in the way of reform in the way... experiments are regulated in Britain, and is unlikely to do anything to significantly reduce the number of animals subjected to experiments."
The UK Bioscience Sector Coalition, said the moves would "maintain the UK's high standards of animal welfare, while cutting needless red tape".
A Home Office spokesman added: "We will maintain all current UK standards for animal care and accommodation for all species."
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Almost 40m gallons of drinking water discarded – because a man urinated in it
Peaches Geldof funeral: Private ceremony to be held at same place as her mother Paula Yates on Easter Monday
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 3 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...