Steven Agnew MLA: Rise in experiments on live animals is disturbing

Steven Agnew MLA is disturbed at a rise in the use of live animals in experiments across Northern Ireland, according to figures released by the Department of Health.

The Green Party leader said: “Across Northern Ireland, 24,166 live animals were used in experiments last year, up almost 3,000 on the previous year.

“According to these stats, on average every day last year 66 animals were subject to often painful and damaging experiments.

“Mice were used in around half of the experiments, a third involved cows, with 102 dogs as well as 90 cats experimented upon.

“These animals were subjected to procedures that are often painful, distressing and which cause long term harm.

“Specifically, 8,000 procedures were described as moderate or severe which inflict pain, suffering and sometimes death upon the animal.”

Steven Agnew MLA added:

“I’m disturbed at this rise. I want to know why we are using more animals in experiments rather than seeking alternative methods.

“I’ll be writing to the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health to ask how we can phase out the use of animals in these often painful and deadly experiments.”



  1. 1.In the UK the use of animals in scientific procedures is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, an animal protection measure that requires licensing and oversight of all places, projects and personnel involved in such work. The general system of control under the 1986 Act is explained in detail in the Appendix. The purpose of this publication is to meet the requirements of the 1986 Act to collect and publish statistical information on the use of protected animals in regulated procedures during the previous calendar year and to lay that information before the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  1. 2.The full report can be accessed via:

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