The government has been accused of breaking its promise to reduce animal experimentation after figures released on Tuesday showed that the number of medical tests of animals rose by 8% last year.
While the Home Office insisted that animal testing is a key part of scientific research in the UK, animal welfare groups attacked leaders for not doing enough.
Among them was Michelle Thew, the chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), who said that the government had "failed" its pledge to cut animal testing, adding that: "This lack of progress is completely unacceptable. We need to see meaningful and lasting changes for animals in laboratories."
In 2012 a total of four million procedures took place, 317,200 more than the previous year but defenders of animal research, including the Wellcome Trust and a number of other scientific charities, argue that research goes a long way towards finding treatments for serious human diseases and and helps us better understand human and animal biology.
So, should the government being doing more to curb animal testing?
Blogging for the Huffington Post UK today, the BUAV's Michelle Thew, argues that the government has lost control of its targets, arguing that there has been no "serious effort" is being made to cut animal testing.
She says: "The Government would be reflecting public opinion if it at least took action to cut back speculative and non-medical research. Instead, it looks on impotently as the figures spin out of control."
However, the UCL Institute of Neurology's Professor Elizabeth Fisher argues that while animal research brings up ethical dilemmas, the likely benefit of the research usually outweighs the harm:, adding that we owe many cures and treatments to animal testing and must continue to do so for the greater good.
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