Animal testing - has FOI made it more open?

Over 500 leading UK scientists and doctors have pledged their support for animal testing in medical research but have acknowledged that, where possible, such experiments should be replaced by methods that do not use animals. The scientists have signed a declaration reaffirming that animals are required in order to achieve advances in medical research that enable "people throughout the world to enjoy a better quality of life".

The Research Defence Society, which drew up the statement, says it is not related to the news that a family-run guinea pig breeding farm was to close last week following intimidation by animal rights extremists.

Adolfo Sansolini, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said: "We are concerned that in 15 years doctors and scientists still appear committed to the unethical and potentially dangerous use of animals for medical research. We did have high hopes with the Freedom of Information Act coming into force in January that animal experimentation would finally become more open, but this was not to be the case. All the public gets to see are short summaries of licences written by the scientists themselves."

Scientists declare their support for animal tests (The Guardian, 25 August 2005)