New animal research centre sets goal of phasing out tests

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The Independent Online

Government plans to scale back the use of animals in scientific research announced yesterday were criticised by anti-vivisectionists who said the board overseeing the changes included figures associated with vivisection.

Government plans to scale back the use of animals in scientific research announced yesterday were criticised by anti-vivisectionists who said the board overseeing the changes included figures associated with vivisection.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, the Science minister, announced the creation of a new national centre that will aim for "three Rs", replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in scientific experiments.

The board of the new organisation, to be called the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, would only be open to rights organisations that accepted all three Rs, Lord Sainsbury said. "Replacement is the eventual goal of the centre, but so long as the use of animals continues to be necessary, it is essential every effort is made to minimise their use and improve their welfare."

Jan Creamer, of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, said: "This is a missed opportunity for the Government. The people on the board are the same people who have always run animal experiments."

The new centre was welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, but its spokesman warned of the impact on investors if violent protests were not dealt with. "We are asking the Government for specific legislation," he said.

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