By Daily Mail Reporter
The number of animals used in scientific experiments rose by 105,000 last year, the Home Office said today.
Just over 3.7 million procedures were carried out in 2010 in the UK, a rise of three per cent on the previous year.
The hike was mainly down to breeding of animals that are genetically modified and those that have potentially harmful mutations, which was up by six per cent to 1.6 million.
Animal testing: More experiments were carried out on non-human primates, with a rise of 10 per cent
The increase was mainly mice and fish.
If the breeding of these animals is excluded, the total number of procedures was up one per cent on 2009, to 2.1 million.
The number of experiments on animals was on a downward trend in the decade leading up to 2000, but since then has risen overall.
Today's figures show more experiments were carried out on non-human primates, with a rise of 10 per cent overall and 78 per cent for new world monkeys, which are those found in central and south America.
There was also an increase in the number of procedures involving mice, up two per cent, birds, 12 per cent, and fish, 23 per cent.
But the number of rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses and pigs dropped, as did the number of cats, down 32 per cent, and dogs, down two per cent.
In terms of why the experiments were carried out, there was a drop in the number for toxicology safety testing, which fell 11 per cent to 391,000, but a higher proportion were performed to meet government requirements: 72 per cent of the total compared to 68 per cent in 2009.
The number of procedures carried out in the commercial sector fell four per cent.
Lab mice: The increase was mainly mice and fish
Universities carried out 10 per cent more animal experiments, and there were increases in procedures looking at cancer, immunology and pharmacology.
But the number of procedures for pharmaceutical research and development fell by 56,700.
The Home Office regulates animal testing and those carrying out the procedures are required to look at ways to ‘replace, reduce and refine’ its use.
Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said: ‘The figures released today once again show the important work being done in this country to regulate animal procedures and ensure the highest standards of animal protection are upheld.
‘The UK has one of the most rigorous systems in the world to ensure that animal research and testing is strictly regulated.
‘This government wants to take this further, and I will be making an announcement on the work we are undertaking to end the testing of household products on animals and to working to reduce the use of animals in scientific research shortly.’
The National Anti-Vivisection Society say there has been a huge increase in the use of new world primates
Jan Creamer, chief executive of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, said: ‘It is a national disgrace that the UK animal testing figures have increased for 2010 and the Home Office should be ashamed of itself.
‘There has been a huge increase in the use of new world primates, while the Home Office has pursued a relaxation of controls to make it easier and quicker to get a licence to use animals.
‘For example, GM animal use has increased by almost six per cent and the number of animals used in fundamental research has increased by 10 per cent.
‘We find it disgraceful that while the rest of Europe decreases its primate testing, as shown in the last EU statistics, the UK carries on regardless, and in some instances is even increasing animal use.’
The campaign group is encouraging supporters to make their views known to the Home Office as part of a public consultation on the topic.
It was launched in June and is due to finish in September.
Meanwhile, David Pruce, chief executive of Understanding Animal Research, said: 'Over the last 15 years, the number of normal animals used in research has gone down.
'The simple breeding of a GM animal counts as a procedure in the UK.
'The increased breeding of these animals has skewed the general trend since 1995.'