Experiments involving animal subjects increased by 3 percent last year in the United Kingdom, according to a report released by the government’s Home Office yesterday (July 13). Just over 3.7 million experiments on animals were initiated in the UK in 2010, an increase of 105,000 over 2009. Animal experiments have been steadily increasing since 2000, though there was a slight dip from 2008 to 2009.
The hike can be attributed to the expanded use of genetically modified and mutant mice, used in 1.6 million experiments, up from 1.5 million in 2009, the BBC reports. Overall, mice were the overwhelming subject of choice, with fish and rats taking a distance second and third. Use of fish grew by 23 percent from 2009 to 2010, the highest increase for any animal, while use of rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and pigs fell.
Britain is Europe's second largest user of animals for research, according to Troy Seidle, director of research and toxicology for Humane Society International UK, who spoke to the BBC.