AFTER months of squirming, the Government has finally admitted it does not know if the 2.73 million animal experiments it sanctioned last year could have been avoided by using non-animal research.

This month, Home Office Minister Caroline Flint told the House of Commons that "the Home Office has not commissioned or evaluated any formal research to demonstrate that experiments on animals cannot be scientifically reproduced using other methods and subjects, and has no plans to do so."

This stunning admission comes after a panel of respected scientists published a report in the British Medical Journal claiming 'there is little evidence to support this view that animal research has contributed to the treatment of human disease'.

Despite this admission, the Government continues to blindly back animal experiments highlighted so extraordinarily when it overturned the planning inspector's decision not to allow the massive new Cambridge University primate lab. When an organisation like the National Anti-Vivisection Society is pouring more money into non-animal research than the Government itself, is this further evidence the Government is basing policy on whim, not fact.

And, if this is the case, whose whim is the Government pandering to?

Jan Creamer, National Anti-Vivisection Society