Sheffield University: Protesters crash open day demanding an end to animal testing in research
A large banner reading "End Animal Testing" was drapped over the concourse outside the Sheffield Students Union.
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Animal rights protesters crashed a Sheffield University open day over the weekend to demand the institution stop using animal testing in its research.
The Sheff Against Animal Experiments group dropped a large banner reading "End Animal Testing" over the concourse during the University of Sheffield open day on Saturday, October 21.
Johanna Grace, aged 27, a former Sheffield University PhD student, said: "I took a stand during today’s open day to make everyone aware that the social licence for animal testing has expired, but Sheffield University still participates in the outdated practice.
"We have so many modern alternatives available that do not require trading innocent lives for high failure rates."
The protesters handed out leaflets to passers by, who would have been attending to find out more about the university, potentially before applying to study here. The leaflets allege experiments conducted on animals at the university includes "exposing gerbils to 100dB of noise, drilling holes into the legs of rats and injecting cancer cells, and paralysing mice".
In response to the protesters, a spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: "As part of our efforts to remain at the forefront of medical and scientific advances, which results in lifesaving treatment for people with chronic and degenerative diseases, we conduct limited research using animals.
"This research contributes to ground breaking developments in understanding and treating major diseases such as cancer, deafness, heart disease, Parkinson's and other neurological conditions which devastate millions of lives every year.
"Our scientists are fully committed to finding other alternatives to research which is currently dependent on animals.
"We only use animals where no other alternatives are available and we are committed to using species of the lowest neuro-physiological sensitivity wherever possible, such as zebrafish, which are increasingly used in pioneering research."
According to Sheffield University's own figures, animals used in research include approximately 25,045 Zebrafish, 20,546 mice, 249 birds, 56 rats, 22 gerbils and 23 pigs.
The protesters were keen to point out Sheffield Hallam University have moved away from animal testing and no longer perform animal experiments.
Isabella, a 19-year-old Biomedical student at Sheffield University, said: "It is unacceptable that my university is dragging its heels on this issue, and in some cases going backwards.
"The past three years of data shows that the number of pigs being tested on has quadrupled, they are highly intelligent and sensitive individuals that do not deserve to be subjected to this cruelty."
Further information on the University of Sheffield's animal research can be found at www.sheffield.ac.uk/rpi/ethics-integrity/animal-research.