GeneWatch PR: Lords seek to fiddle figures on GM animals in UK labs

For immediate release 24th July 2002

GeneWatch UK response to the House of Lords' Select Committee Report on Animals in Scientific Procedures

In its report, published today, the House of Lords' Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures pays scant regard to the increasing use of GM animals in research. The Select Committee merely recommends that new strains of laboratory animals be assessed on welfare grounds, however they are produced, and that statistics be collected differently to hide the numbers of GM animals produced in UK laboratories (1).

"The report has side-stepped a key issue in animal welfare by failing to examine in any depth the increasing use of GM animals in experiments and whether this is justifiable" said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch's Director (2). "Quite shockingly the report recommends that statistics should be fiddled to exclude GM animals bred in laboratories but not actually used in experiments. We know far too little about how animals are used in our laboratories and how GM affects animals in the long term. Concealing information from the public will do nothing to promote confidence that GM animals are being given proper attention".

"The report has also denies the special nature of genetic modification of animals which represents a watershed in our relationship to the natural world, and another step towards seeing animals only as commodities, to be created for our convenience" said Dr Mayer. "GeneWatch believes that by failing to pay special attention to genetic modification, animal suffering will inevitably increase".

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For further information contact:

Sue Mayer on 01298 871898.

Notes for editors:

  1. In 2000, there were 581,740 GM animals in UK labs. Under the Lords proposal, only 118,551 would be included in statistics as they had experiments conducted upon them. The remaining animals, used for breeding, would be excluded.
  2. Sue Mayer is co-author with Jay Rutovitz of a GeneWatch UK report: "Genetically modified and cloned animals. All in a good cause?", published in May 2002. Available on

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