FRAME comment on the new UK animal R&D statistics

The UK government has released a national statistics report, “Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, Great Britain, 2020”. DDW recently reported the ABPI comment. The medical research charity FRAME’s Education & Outreach Manager Amy Beale has made further comment.

Beale said: “Whilst the headline figures in the Annual Statistics for 2020 are encouraging and show a 15% decrease in animal use since 2019, as well as the lowest number of procedures since 2004, we have to factor in the impact of the global pandemic and, despite an increased focus on research for vaccine development, much research has been put on hold or slowed during the lockdowns. This is reflected by the decrease in procedures for basic research, applied research and all other experimental procedures, except those carried out for regulatory purposes, which increased from 26% in 2019, to 33% in 2020. A possible explanation for this could be the continuation of animal research projects looking into Covid-19 treatments, and other ongoing safety assessments to meet legislative requirements.

“It is promising to see the overall number of scientific procedures using animals has fallen but we cannot unfortunately attribute this to a change in attitudes or a move towards alternatives to animals without seeing the future impact and statistics. It is, however, really good news to see a drop in the creation and breeding of genetically altered (GA) animals which marks the first significant decrease in over a decade.”

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