Time for change
Dr Brett Cochrane, Group Head of Science at the Dr Hadwen Trust, stated today that the UK has an opportunity to lead the world in the field of non-animal medical research. Dr Cochrane issued his call to the scientific community in response to today’s Home Office announcement that there had been no overall decrease in the numbers of animal procedures conducted in 2013. The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to funding non-animal biomedical research.
Said Dr Cochrane, “This is disappointing but not surprising. The use of animals in biomedical research continues because, in many instances, there is a lack of vision, both politically and scientifically, to put human relevancy at the forefront of this research. Despite the marginal increase in the overall number of procedures, there is some encouraging news. An area of animal use, of high importance to the DHT, is that of fundamental biological research and the latest statistics reveal that there has been a significant decrease of 11% in the number of procedures performed, however, there is still much work to be done.”
He continued, “The UK has an enviable reputation for excellence in scientific research. We have an opportunity to lead the world in the field of non-animal medical research. It is time to do things differently, to drive a change in mind-set. The DHT is proud that through our portfolio of cutting-edge biomedical research, we have demonstrated that tangible progress can be made in understanding devastating human diseases without resorting to experimentation on animals.”
Dr Cochrane added, “It is extremely frustrating that we receive many more requests for funding than we can accommodate so it is clear that there could be even greater, faster progress. As a minimum, there should be increased government funding in this area. Additionally, some of the large medical charities could show adventurous leadership and explicitly earmark an increasing percentage of their funds each year for non-animal research.”
He said, “We recognise that developing alternative methods will be more challenging in some areas of research than in others. Developing animal alternative technologies on this scale is not something that the DHT, nor indeed any single organisation, can achieve on its own. It is time to work together. It is time for the government to take the lead. It is time to define and implement a clear, robust plan to completely phase out, in a prioritised and staggered manner, the reliance on animals.”
Dr Cochrane concluded: “We urge those who are concerned by the Home Office statistics to think seriously about supporting the work of the DHT. With a solution-focussed and collaborative approach, this time next year we should be discussing progress, not statistics.”
For further information about the Dr Hadwen Trust and details about its portfolio of research please visit www.drhadwentrust.org
NOTES TO EDITOR
1. The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity. Since 1971 grants have been awarded to over 160 non-animal medical research projects including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney, heart and liver disease. Over the last 5 years alone the DHT has funded over £2.25 million worth of animal replacement research projects across the UK at student, PhD and post-doctoral level. To date, the Dr Hadwen Trust continues to be the UK’s leading charity provider of grants solely dedicated to animal replacement medical research.