The BUAV is calling for Northern Ireland to exercise its powers to take swifter action to curtail animal experiments following a 14% decrease in the number of animal experiments. New statistics show that 18,311 experiments were carried out on animals in Northern Irish laboratories in 2010, including 13,137 mice, 743 rats, 1,667 chickens, 36 equines, 69 rabbits, 69 dogs, 35 cats and 32 ferrets. Although power is devolved on this issue, the Northern Ireland Executive continues to follow animal testing policy from Westminster.
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The BUAV is especially concerned about the repeated use of animals in several experiments. In 2010, 8 dogs were used in 69 procedures, 36 horses, donkeys or other equines were used in 85 procedures, and 379 cows were used in 815 procedures. The use of mice and fish in Northern Irish laboratories has also been significantly and steadily increasing.
The BUAV’s Chief Executive, Michelle Thew states: “Although animal experimentation is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland, policy from Whitehall still continues to be cut and pasted. We are disappointed that Northern Ireland has neglected this important issue. Northern Ireland should be taking the lead in imposing stricter controls on the use of animals and providing more transparent information for the public. We urge all concerned citizens to write to their MLA asking them to sign the motion tabled by Chris Lyttle calling for Northern Ireland to have its own policy on the licensing and regulation of experiments on animals.”