MORE than half a million animals were experimented on in Scotland last year, new research has revealed.
The figures show that during 2013 in Scotland, 619,798 animals were experimented on under regulated procedures under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
Monkeys, cats dogs and horses were just some of the animals subjected to tests.
Figures for Britain climbed to 4.12 million last year, the highest on modern record, despite a UK government pledge to reduce the experiments.
However, in Scotland the figures were slightly less than in 2012, when a total of 623,194 animals were used in tests.
According to the UK government figures, experiments on dogs increased 61 per cent to 936, primate experiments increased 21 per cent to 702 and horse experiments increased 10 per cent to 1,887.
Mice were used in 406,502 experiments (a 12 per cent increase), guinea pigs in 1,390 experiments (up 5 per cent), increase), pigs in 597 experiments (a 13 per cent increase), birds in 17,224 experiments (up 19 per cent) and cats in 11 experiments (a 450 per cent increase).
Nearly 80 per cent of animal experiments in Scotland took place in universities or medical schools. The majority of animals would have been killed at the end of the experiment.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has expressed its dismay at figures.
NAVS president Jan Creamer said yesterday: “It is shocking that so many animal tests take place in Scottish universities. These experiments are mainly curiosity-driven, and cause a great deal of suffering.
“We must urgently address the lack of scientific and public accountability.”
Graeme Morrice, Labour MP for Livingston, said: “Although there has been a slight reduction, it is disappointing that universities in Scotland are still using so many animals in outdated tests. Many of my constituents share my concerns about these high numbers, which is why I am joining the NAVS in calling for more progress to be made towards phasing out these unreliable animal tests.”
The statistics show that over half of all the animals used in Scotland (335,116) were genetically modified. Genetic modification (GM) is one of the key areas in animal experimentation and has seen the biggest growth.According to NAVS, the process involves animals being given a deliberate genetic defect and prolonged suffering arises from repeated surgeries, egg collection, implantation, and repeated blood and tissue testing.
The animals live in tiny spaces in sterile and barren environments with no stimulation.
An investigation by NAVS found that monkeys are specially bred on the island of Mauritius to be used for laboratory experiments in the UK. Earlier this year, one of their investigation teams gained access to a breeding facility and recorded horrific scenes of baby monkeys torn from their screaming mothers to be tattooed and pregnant monkeys manhandled.
The UK government is currently undertaking a review of secrecy in animal experiments.