24% Increase in Numbers of Animals Used for Invasive Scientific Research in Canada

A lab mouse used for testing. Photo courtesy of Rama, Creative Commons.

A lab mouse used for testing. Photo courtesy of Rama, Creative Commons.

A recent Animals in Science Policy Institute press release indicates that the number of animals used for science research in Canada increased by 24% according to the latest annual report released by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. This dramatic annual increase demonstrates the hollowness of the research community’s professed commitment to replacing the use of animals with new technologies and approaches. The largest increases are for fish, birds and non-human primates.

We know that Queen’s University is one of the last Canadian universities to do experiments on non-human primates (NHPs) such as monkeys. No wonder Queen’s has repeatedly refused to disclose information about its research on NHPs (and other animals), since it would have to explain to the public why these numbers continue to increase, when other institutions are shutting down NPR research altogether. In refusing to disclose information, Queen’s insists that the statistics are too “sensitive” (i.e. the public would be upset by them), and that the numbers need to be put into “context”. (Of course there is nothing stopping Queen’s from providing “context”, or explaining its rationale for harming and killing animals.) We can only surmise that the University is terrified of any outside scrutiny of their research programs.

In the growing climate of public concern for treatment of non-human animals, and insistence that their use be ethically and scientifically justified, Queen’s knows that some of its research activities simply wouldn’t pass muster.

For more on this story, see “Latest stats show whopping increase in animals used for Canadian science” in the National Observer.