In response to our piece on animal rights activists, we hear from the founder of advocacy group, Speaking of Research
Close your eyes and imagine an animal testing laboratory. What do you imagine? Smoking beagles? Cramped, overcrowded cages? Rows of suffering dogs and cats? Perhaps you visualise something akin to PETA’s recent flash game where mixed martial arts fighters travel around a blood-soaked “lab” beating up sadistic scientists (see image below).
Open your eyes. Blink away the image. Now open your mind to another. Rows and rows of mice, group-housed, with appropriate food and water, temperature, humidity and environmental enrichment, cared for by dedicated veterinary and animal care staff.
Let’s get a few facts straight. Over 97% of the 4 million animals used in the UK are either mice, rats, birds or fish. Contrary to their frequent appearance on placards, cats, dogs and primates together account for less than 0.2% of research. Animals can only be used where there is no non-animal alternative. Are these animals as free to roam as they are in the wild? No. Are they free from starvation, predation and the environment? Yes.