You are here:

Our UK RAT list highlights animal tests that must be replaced for the sake of animals and good science

Published on


Bunny and Beagle RAT List

Help us to achieve a cruelty free UK

Our new UK Replace Animal Tests (RAT) List highlights five animals tests which already have an accepted non-animal replacement available and yet are STILL being conducted in the UK.

Stopping these tests would save at least 80,000 animals every year in the UK alone – see the full list here

Even though robust non-animal methods have been developed that can now replace, wholly or in part, a number of animal tests across several product sectors, these methods can take much longer to replace animals than most people think. In recent years, alternatives to animal tests such as skin irritation, skin sensitisation and various batch safety tests have taken years to be completely accepted and, in many cases, the animal test is still being conducted. 

We estimate that there are over 56,000 tests on mice measuring the potency of Botulinum toxin (Botox) in the UK every year. The toxin is injected into the abdomens of mice, causing them to become increasingly paralysed over three days. Higher doses cause the mice to suffocate to death without intervention. Approximately half of the mice die during the test and any survivors are killed at the end of the test. A cell-based method has been developed by Botox manufacturers which replaces the mouse test, but the mouse test, inexplicably, continues. 

We also estimate that each year there are over 27,000 uses of animals, including mice, rabbits, sheep and goats, to produce antibodies – proteins used in a variety of applications including diagnostic tests and medicines. Animals are injected with a substance to stimulate the production of antibodies, which are then harvested through the removal of their blood, spleen cells or abdominal fluid. The animals often suffer during this process, and are killed when they are no longer considered useful. Phage display technology, which won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2018 and is endorsed by the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing, produces a wide range of antibodies which are better quality and more stable, relevant and consistent than those produced in animals. 

Our CEO, Michelle Thew, said: “The UK could stop these five tests now with no negative impact on the safety and effectiveness of products. Since non-animal methods are usually cheaper, faster and more accurate than the animal tests they replace, it is in the interests of animal welfare and good science to speed up the process, overcome these hurdles and replace these animal tests as a matter of urgency. 

“Consigning these animal tests to the past is a fast and easy way to reduce the number of tests carried out in the UK every year, but we will not rest until every laboratory cage is empty – and we can’t do it without you!” 

You can support our Target Zero campaign, to add your voice to our call for an end to animal testing in the UK. Click here to find out how to post your own Target Zero picture on social media – feel free to add a superhero cape and please tag us using #IAmATargetZeroHero.