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BUAV calls for a moratorium on the genetic modification of animals

22/07/2011

The BUAV today urged a moratorium on the genetic modification of animals. The call has come following the statement by the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) proposing regulations to control the genetic modification or 'humanising' of animals.

The BUAV made a submission to the AMS 'Call For Evidence on Animals Containing Human Material.' The dramatic and sustained increase in genetically modified animal use raises some obvious concerns, not least the ethical debate surrounding the deliberate infliction of significant suffering and pain on so many animals as well as scientific questions including how relevant are these genetically modified animals to the human diseases being studied. 'Creating' animals with the desired genetic modification results in huge numbers of animals being born and then killed simply because they do not carry the desired mutation or gene. Many of these animals also suffer greatly because the genetic modification results in painful and debilitating conditions.

BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew commented: "In our submission to the Government on implementing its promised strategy to reduce animal experiments, we have proposed a moratorium on the genetic modification of animals. The AMS statement demonstrates that even researchers feel uneasy when animals are genetically modified to 'humanise' them. This modification is also an acknowledgment that animals are an unreliable guide to human physiology. We need to move beyond the outdated animal 'model' and take a lead in research with human scientific alternatives."