The number of animals used for biochemical experiments by Trinity College Dublin more than doubled last year, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
There was an increase from 12,490 to 26,252 animals used in various tests and experiments between 2016 and 2017.
Trinity College has a range of research projects which involve the use of animals in the investigation of human diseases including Alzheimer’s and others relating to genetics, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and “age related memory loss”.
2016 saw Trinity College testing three times the amount compared to University College Cork (UCC) in the same year, with UCC having a total of 4,100 live animals used for research experiments.
In 2014, Trinity spent €400,000 on mice and rats alone. By 2016, the amount decreased to €310,000.
Laura Broxson, founder of the National Animal Rights Association (NARA) said she was “one hundred percent opposed to animal testing” and believes this practice is unnecessary.
“Today when there is a wealth of sophisticated techniques including computer modelling, tissue cultures, epidemiological studies and clinical studies available for use that offer a cruelty-free, reliable alternative to vivisection, it makes no sense whatsoever to continue to use animals.
“Animal research has been shown time and again to hold back medical progress for people…[the] arthritis painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn in 2004, caused…strokes and heart attacks…even though it appeared safe when tested on animals.”
Trinity has an Animal Research Ethics Committee (AREC) which aims to “foster ethical behaviour among the college scientific community” who wish to use animals for research.
According to a statement given with the figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, all studies are conducted on the basis of well-defined consideration and with consideration taken of the animal welfare by minimising the number of animals used and using animal tissue or other replacements where possible.
“Scientists in TCD are required to demonstrate that there are no alternatives available before the ethical review process will permit the procedure.”