Animal research needed

Michelle Thew (Letters, 19 January) makes serious allegations concerning the proposed revision of animal research regulations in Europe. The proposed changes will bring regulation in Europe up to UK standards, where strict animal welfare rules are enforced by Home Office inspectors, who can visit any facility without warning. All projects here also undergo a critical assessment of their scientific value and impact on animal welfare before they are approved.

While it may be possible to replace animals in some areas of medical research, they remain vital to others, a prime example being the stem cell medicine that has been much in the news recently. Limbal stem cell transplants to cure corneal blindness (your report, 19 January) were developed thanks to studies of mice and rabbits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Animal research should be tightly regulated, but not to the point that medical innovation is choked.