22 July 2009 - The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research has reacted to Home Office statistics that reveal that Britain’s animal experiments have reached a 17-year high.
The figure reached 3.7 million experiments - a 14 per cent rise since 2007 - similar to levels seen in the early 1990s.
The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research said that far greater progress to replace animals with alternatives should have been made.
The organisation added that this is 'a wake-up-call moment for policy makers' and it is calling on all major political parties to commit to devising a 'roadmap to replacement' that will identify key target areas for increased funding, technology development, research and development and political support in order to progressively reduce and ultimately replace animal experiments.
There were 3.656 million animal experiments started in 2008, involving 3.583 million individual animals - a 39 per cent increase since Labour came to power.
There were significant increases in the experiments on GM animals (now 36.5 per cent of all procedures); monkeys (16 per cent rise); cats (17 per cent rise); pigs (95 per cent rise) and fish and amphibians (85 per cent and 82 per cent rise respectively).
March 27 2009 - British scientists that developed an advanced three-dimensional (3-D) model of human breast-cancer in a test tube have won a prize for replacing animal experiments in medical research.
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) gave the award to Dr Deborah Holliday, based at the Department of Pathology and Tumour Biology, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, and colleagues from Queen Mary's, University of London, who made a multi-cellular 3-D model of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a pre-invasive lesion that is the main precursor to breast cancer and accounts for 20 per cent of all breast cancer.
The model uses human cells from cancerous and healthy breast tissue donated by volunteers.
It is set to help replace experiments that use up to 400 mice per test, typically involving implanting tumours, abdominal drug injections and serial harvesting of tumours.
The 3-D replacement model accurately replicates what happens at a cellular level in normal and malignant human breast.
It contains all the different cell types present in breast tissue and is physiologically relevant and capable of complex and functional studies, including the identification and screening of novel therapeutic targets.
13 March 2009 - MEPs have voted in favour of the creation of new EU facilities to develop alternatives to animal experiments.
The vote by the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee in Brussels marked a key stage in the revision of Europe's 20-year-old animal experiments law, Directive 86/609/EEC.
Replacing experiments on live animals with more reliable and modern techniques is a major ethical and scientific priority, said the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research charity.
But it says Europe-level efforts to develop alternatives are too narrowly focused to impact on the majority of research areas where animals are used.
The Dr Hadwen Trust said that while much progress has been made in finding alternatives to animals in regulatory toxicity testing, most animals in EU laboratories are used in basic medical research, where far less effort has been focused.
MEPs are now supporting proposals that would see increased funding and co-ordination to bridge this gap in non-animal research.
11 March 2009 - Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research has urged MEPs to be wary of industry melodrama and scaremongering when considering proposals to update Europe's animal experiments directive.
Better animal protection, a phase-out of primate experiments, improved transparency and real progress on non-animal alternatives have been proposed.
Emily McIvor, policy director at the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, said: 'The revision of Directive 86/609 is a great opportunity for Europe to genuinely make a better deal for animals in laboratories.
'But the animal research industry is lobbying aggressively to destroy virtually every reasonable animal welfare improvement, including a ban on using offspring born to wild-caught primates.
'The arguments they are using are often little short of scaremongering, exaggerating the validity of animal tests and seeking to convince MEPs that new welfare measures are prohibitively costly.
'The Dr Hadwen Trust is urging MEPs to be wary of such self-serving melodrama and to seize Europe's exciting opportunity to lead the world in replacing animals with advanced ethical techniques.'