- The RSPCA has warned that experiments involving genetically
engineered animals may be getting out of control, and has called for greater
- Home Office figures published last week showed a 14%
rise in scientific procedures involving genetically modified animals between
1998 and 1999, up by 63,000 to 511,000.
- The RSPCA is calling for tighter legislation and wants
an independent body to consider the ethical, social and welfare implications.
- Its senior scientific officer Vicky Robinson said it
was vital to scrutinise the clinical relevance of using GM animals in research.
- "While we acknowledge that some applications of
the technology may bring benefits, we are concerned that GM animals may
be produced simply because it is possible, and not because it is necessary.
This is unacceptable."
- The RSPCA is urging laboratories to consider alternative
methods of research and to avoid duplicating data. "It is crucial
that all those involved in producing, using and caring for GM animals
make every effort to reduce the number of animals used, minimise suffering
and improve welfare," said Ms Robinson.
- Experiments on genetically modified mice, a standard
procedure for testing genetic links to human diseases, represented the
biggest rise in testing, up by 51,000.
- The RSPCA has previously warned of plans by the European
Commission to test thousands of chemicals on millions more animals over
the next 10 years.
- The charity said the rapid pace of biotechnology research
had fuelled its fears of a "massive" Europe-wide increase in
animal testing without adequate controls.
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