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Majority of public accept animal testing with reservations 05.09.14

British public survey reveals support for animal testing when ‘no alternatives’ on offer

The results of a survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show that a majority of the British public accept the use of animals in scientific (medical) research ‘where there is no alternative’.

Of the 969 respondents questioned, 68% agreed that they can accept the use of animals in research for medical purposes where there are no alternatives – which can include computer modelling, in vitro testing or MRI scanning.

Results also revealed that 60% accepted the use of animals in research to help our understanding of the human body and 64% accepted use to increase understanding of animal health, again provided no alternative exists. Around half agreed that animals should only be used in medical research into ‘life-threatening or debilitating diseases’.

Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman said: “Animal research is currently essential to help deliver life-changing and life-saving new medicines for conditions such as dementia, cancer and heart disease. The results of this survey show that the majority of people accept this, but that there is room for improvement on openness and transparency within the field. I support the recent steps taken by the life sciences sector to increase peoples’ understanding of why and how animals are used in research, and for the on-going effort to develop alternatives to the use of animals, where possible.”

The biennial survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI, investigated public awareness of, and attitudes towards, the use of animals in scientific research, as well as the possible alternatives. It is an important tool to improve government understanding of public attitudes to the use of animals in research, but also identify and tackle the myths that still circulate.

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