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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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FRAME concerned over animal pain experiments

Mouse on test tubesResearch showed that mice exhibit similar facial expressions to humans when they are in pain. It involved injecting them with various substances such as mustard oil and chilli extract and then videoing the animals.  


But FRAME Scientific Director Dr Nirmala Bhogal has branded the investigation ethically wrong.  She said: “Intentionally subjecting any sentient animal to pain simply to assess how the pain manifests is ethically unacceptable. This kind of research should not be conducted for its own sake.” 


There are a number of existing tests to gauge pain in laboratory animals but none of them is entirely reliable. All are based on human interpretation of what the animal might be experiencing.  


Dr Bhogal added: “FRAME can only hope that the pain scoring system, now devised, will be put to good use. For instance, it might be possible to incorporate video monitoring of facial expressions into studies with the goal of identifying ways to minimise the pain and suffering of other animals.” 


The latest figures issued by the Home Office show that in 2008 experiments on mice in the UK went up by 197,000. Mice, rats and other rodents accounted for 77 per cent of the total 3.7 million scientific procedures carried out on animals that year.  


FRAME’s ultimate aim is the elimination of the need to use laboratory animals in any kind of medical or scientific procedures.  FRAME is dedicated to the development of new and valid methods that will replace the need for laboratory animals in medical and scientific research, education, and testing.


Where the use of animals is currently necessary, FRAME supports the reduction of numbers involved to an unavoidable minimum and refinement of the experimental procedures to minimise any suffering caused.


Archived May 17 2010