Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

MRC conflict of interest exposed:

Posted: 5 June 2006. Updated: 14 April 2011


‘Trojan horse’ call for ape research used to justify primate experiments

NAVS (The National Anti-Vivisection Society), Britain’s oldest and most established campaigner against animal experiments, today condemns the use of primates in experiments. This comes hard on the heels of an MRC (Medical Research Council) publication, ‘Primates in Medical Research’, in which scientists from the MRC and the Wellcome Trust seek to justify their work with primates.

Jan Creamer, NAVS chief executive, commented: “NAVS does not believe the MRC publication is a serious call for chimpanzee experiments in the UK but rather a strategy to increase monkey use. Significant numbers of primates are already being used in pharmaceutical and neuroscience research, contributing to the UK’s regretted reputation as the vivisection capital of Europe.”

As no UK labs have used apes for 20 years, there are currently no labs with the facilities for such animals.

However, Oxford University’s new facility, which is being built, will house primates. NAVS says this is a conflict of interest for Colin Blakemore head of the MRC who will experiment on monkeys there.

Last year the UK government signed a UN declaration with African nations to try and stop genuinely hungry people consuming chimps to extinction. To use these animals in labs would be at odds with such conservation measures.

The UN Environment programme says that great apes face extinction within the next 50 years, if not sooner.

____________________________ENDS _____________________________

  • Founded in 1875, the NAVS is the world’s first anti-vivisection group and continues to lead the campaign for animal experiments to be replaced with non-animal methods.
  • Laboratory animals suffer terribly at every stage of their lives; the law allows the infliction of pain and suffering on animals that would, in other circumstances, be illegal.
  • For each recorded use of an animal in a laboratory, a further two to three animals have been killed after a miserable short life, simply because they are surplus to requirements.
  • The NAVS spends £300,000 a year on grants to scientists conducting non-animal research, and urges the Government to focus on replacements for animal tests, for the sake of both people and animals.

Examples of medical progress without animal testing

The link between cancer & smoking; the artificial hip; inhalation anaesthetics; drugs for leukaemia, beta blockers for blood pressure, and more. Surgical techniques such as cataracts, appendix, bladder stones, ovarian tumour.

Examples of species differences

Morphine calms people & rats but excites cats and mice; penicillin is a useful antibiotic for people but kills guinea pigs; tamoxifen was developed as a contraceptive – worked in rats but opposite effect on women – now a successful breast cancer treatment in women – yet causes cancer in rats.

Anti-Parkinson’s disease drug Tolcpone/ Tasmar withdrawn for link with liver disease; anti-depressant Seroxat linked to liver damage.

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