While there was an increase of just over two per cent in the number of animal procedures for 2003 over the previous year, the figures have to be set against a backdrop of increased Government funding for biomedical research as well as a 12.4 per cent jump in the number of compounds in the pre-clinical research and development pipeline.
“The pharmaceutical industry is committed to the principles of the ‘3Rs’ of reducing the number of animals used, refining procedures and replacing them with other means where possible,” said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.
“This commitment remains, and the reasons for the small rise in the number of procedures – many comparatively minor, such as collecting blood samples – can be directly related to the increase in the pre-clinical R&D pipeline. This research will produce important new medicines in areas such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”
The 2003 figures, produced by the Home Office, show that the majority of the procedures – 85 per cent – involved rodents. The figures also show that fewer than one per cent of procedures were carried out on dogs, cats, horses and non-human primates collectively.
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