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UNI'S 15,000 EXPERIMENTS ON ANIMALS; Mice, rabbits, sheep, cattle and fish used by city scientists.

Byline: LORNA HUGHES @lorna_hughes

A MERSEYSIDE university carried out more than 15,000 experiments on animals.

The University of Liverpool said it used 15,289 animals during 2013 - while Liverpool John Moores University revealed researchers used rats and mice to investigate the effects of "endurance" and "sprint interval" training methods.

University of Liverpool animal experiments included 13,605 mice as well as rabbits, sheep, cattle and fish.

LJMU said 89 rats and mice were used in investigations into the effects of programmed endurance and sprint interval training in a mouse hind limb muscle.

They were also used for research into stem cell therapies for heart muscle regeneration and an investigation into arthritis therapies.

The University of Liverpool did not reveal the nature of the experiments.

The figures were released through a Freedom of Information Act request on the number of animals used in experiments at universities.

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) praised LJMU for supporting the use of alternatives to animal tests - but the University of Liverpool today defended their use and said the research made a vital contribution to the treatment of major health problems.

The University of Liverpool said figures for the numbers of fowl (743), sheep (272), cattle (232) and other fish (96) referred to the number of procedures, not number of animals.

It said mice, rats, rabbits, zebrafish, other fish and poultry were generally euthanised at the conclusion of procedures.

Cattle and sheep, which generally only have blood samples taken from them, are released back to stock.

None of the rats used by Liverpool John Moores University survived the procedures they were used in.

A spokesman for the University of Liverpool said: "Research involving animals continues to make a vital contribution to the understanding, treatment and control of a range of major health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness. While new methods have enabled scientists and medical researchers to considerably reduce work involving animals, there is overwhelming scientific consensus that some work must continue for further fundamental advances to be made.

"The university embraces the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement and is committed to the development of alternative methods such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology and human clinical research.

"Where the use of animals remains essential, we ensure that the number used is minimised and that procedures, care routines and husbandry are refined to maximise welfare as far as possible."

BUAV head of science, Dr Katy Taylor, said: "Liverpool John Moores University has been leading the way with its support of alternatives to animal tests such as computer models. "Therefore, it comes as a great disappointment to learn of the comparatively much higher number of animals used by the University of Liverpool."
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 27, 2014
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