An adviser on animal research for the British government has called for clearer statistics on animal experiments which can be understood by the public. Professor Michael Banner, of Edinburgh University, chairs the Animal Procedures Committee. He has complained in the London Telegraph that no one really knows how much animals suffer and how many are subjected to experiments that make them suffer. Statistics which show that there were millions of “procedures” conjure up “an image of suffering on a vast scale”, he says, but in fact many of these procedures are brief and painless.
Reform the statistics’ is not a cry to get the masses to the barricades, but it would help,” says Professor Banner. “Where there is a lack of openness there is bound to be misunderstanding. Where there is misunderstanding there is likely to be suspicion. Where there is suspicion there is a climate in which extremism can flourish. And from any point of view, the existence of a threat of terrorism against researchers is a bad thing.”
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