GM Animal Tests In
UK 'Out Of Control',3604,356640,00.html
The RSPCA has warned that experiments involving genetically engineered animals may be getting out of control, and has called for greater scrutiny.
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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