The United Kingdom has announced that it will set up a national center to study means of reducing the use of animals in research and improving the animals' lives, but has been hit with allegations that the new institution is little more than a token gesture.

The use of animals in scientific studies is high on Britain's public agenda, thanks in part to the highly visible and sometimes extreme actions of animal rights groups. Responding to those public concerns in 2002, a House of Lords Select Committee report proposed that a new facility to focus on replacing, refining, and reducing the use of animals be established.

On May 21 this year, government ministers announced their intention to set up a National Centre for Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research under the directorship of Vicky Robinson, currently head of the Medical Research Council's Centre for Best Practice for Animals...

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