The BUAV has welcomed the results of a new government opinion poll commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (and conducted by Ipsos MORI), which has shown a significant 10% drop in public support for animal experiments. We believe this drop reflects a growing unease and opposition by the public towards animal research. Recent revelations of controversial experiments taking place, such as the sewing up of kittens’ eyes at Cardiff University (exposed by the BUAV earlier this year), have caused widespread public concern. Continuing increases in the number of animal experiments taking place each year, coupled with a lack of action on the part of the Government to honour its pledge to work to reduce the number of animal experiments have, we believe, also had an impact on the public.
The research industry has responded to this drop in public support with a call for more transparency to "explain" what they are doing. The BUAV has been requesting transparency on animal experiments for many years, rigorously opposed by the research industry. In fact, Newcastle University spent a quarter of a million pounds of tax payer’s money and spent three years trying to prevent the BUAV from being given details of controversial invasive experiments its researchers were carrying out on primates.
If, however, those who do research using animals are now serious about favouring greater openness, then it is time they back up their claim by disclosing exactly what they are doing to animals and why. The public need full disclosure, not a sanitised account, of the suffering, pain and distress that are routinely inflicted upon millions of animals every year. Only with such information can there be informed debate and decision-making. Furthermore, if the research industry is genuine in its claim for transparency, then it also needs to lobby to get rid of section 24 which currently prevents the Government itself from disclosing most information about animal experiments.
The government is still reviewing this issue, and if you have not already written to your MP urging an end to Section 24 (which enables researchers to ban publication of details), please do - and let us turn the calls for transparency into something that actually makes a difference.
The BUAV is also urging the Government to take the results of this opinion poll on board and turn its words into action and publish a clear reduction strategy to start working to reduce the number of animal experiments. Please also ask your MP to sign EDM 405.