The UK Home Office has released the animal research statistics for 2011, which show a 2% increase overall in procedures compared to 2010 figures. A summary of the report is available here, while the full report can be downloaded here. Once again basic research and breeding of GM animals accounted for the lions share – 88% – of the total number of procedures, with mice being the most commonly used animal, bring used in 71 % of procedures.
Some other interesting trends, the number of procedures involving fish increased again, reflecting a trend over the past decade as the importance of the Zebrafish in scientific research increases. The number of procedures involving non-human primates – both new world and old world - fell substantially in 2011 compared to 2010, but the number of procedures using non-human primates tends to vary quite a lot from year to year because of the small number used overall, so it’s too early to say whether or not this is part of an overall trend.
Another interesting fact to note is that over 7o% of procedures did not require anaesthesia, and as Understanding Animal Research point out in their commentary a procedure under the Home Office regulations can be as mild as a blood draw, or indeed breeding in the case of GM animals.
Speaking of Research welcomes these figures as evidence that the biomedical research in the UK remains a vibrant despite the tough economic climate, and as evidence that scientists in the UK continue to adopt the most up-to-date animal research techniques as they further understanding of biological systems and develop new therapies for human and animal disease.
Speaking of Research