As part of their Campus Without Cruelty campaign, the Animal Justice Project (AJP) has released a report about the University of Nottingham’s (UoN) involvement in animal testing.
The report from AJP claimed that the University is one of the biggest users of animals in experiments in the UK, with 25,449 animals being experimented on.
They go on to report that 132 experiments were classed as severe, which according to the Home Office, means the highest level of suffering inflicted on animals.
In addition, the report claims that animals such as hamsters, ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs ‘are routinely abused at Nottingham University.’
“[UoN] is the 16th largest user of animals among universities that provide data on their website”
A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham, however, has pointed out factual problems with the report:
“The University of Nottingham is not one of the biggest [users of animals in experiments in the UK]. It is the 16th largest user of animals among universities that provide data on their website (and other non-university institutions and companies will also be much larger in their animal use).”
Regarding the 132 out of the 25,449 experiments that were classed as severe, the UoN spokesperson pointed out: “that is 0.52%. That is low given that 3.9% of all procedures on animals in the UK were considered severe.”
“The description of ‘Severe procedures’ is [also] misleading. The Home Office guidance states that ‘the characteristics of severe procedures are that they cause a major departure from the animal’s usual state of health and well-being. It would usually include long-term disease processes where assistance with normal activities such as feeding and drinking are required or where significant deficits in behaviours/activities persist. […]’”
“The description of ‘Severe procedures’ is [also] misleading”
Talking about the treatment of animals, the spokesperson stated:
“All the procedures using animals at the University of Nottingham are regulated by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act 1986 and meet the strict guidelines set out by the Home Office. Our researchers, often working under the guidance of qualified veterinary surgeons, are committed to ensuring that no animals are caused unnecessary suffering as a result of these procedures.”
The report by AJP goes on to mention that the University is receiving funding from well-known charities to conduct experiments on animals.
For instance, in 2014 Arthritis Research UK gave the University £2 million to carry out animal experimentation for 5 years. These studies have included rats being injected with arthritis inducing substances to their joints and then researchers attempting to determine pain thresholds. This is even after the researchers themselves have stated that these experiments can “only guide, rather than accurately predict, results of research in humans.”
“the cruel experiments carried out at Nottingham University are causing immense suffering to thousands of animals each year”
Daisy Hall, Senior Researcher for Animal Justice Project, comments that “the cruel experiments carried out at Nottingham University are causing immense suffering to thousands of animals each year. This has no place in civilised society and is unnecessary – using animals as ‘models’ for research into human disease such as arthritis is outdated and futile due to the many interspecies differences.”
A Veterinary Science student at the University told Impact: “I personally feel that animal experimentation should be limited to only when absolutely necessary, and every effort should be made to eradicate the need for animals during the development of treatment for human use.”
The University of Nottingham provided further information with these statements:
“The statement released by the Animal Justice Project is not a fair representation of the important scientific work that takes place”
“The statement released by the Animal Justice Project is not a fair representation of the important scientific work that takes place at the University of Nottingham involving animals.
“Of the 25,449 procedures conducted in 2016, 95% were on mice, rats or fish. This information, including information on all species, is freely available via our website.
“Our work into arthritis offers hope to the 10 million people in the UK who suffer this painful condition. We hope our ongoing studies will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of chronic pain and improved therapies for this debilitating condition.”