Published: 00:01, 22 March 2018
| Updated: 21:18, 22 March 2018
Animal welfare campaigners will stage a demonstration after it was revealed the University of Kent's use of mice in laboratory tests quadrupled last year.
The Animal Justice Project and the university's, Animal Rights Committee say numbers increased from 76 in 2016 to 476 in 2017 at the university.
They will use a creative stunt using more than hundred toy mice and visuals to raise awareness at the university's Jarman Plaza from 11am to 1pm today.
Claire Palmer, Animal Justice Project founder, says academic staff have refused to debate the issue and is pushing for a complete ban. "The professors there are happy to sacrifice animals and accept public funding, yet refuse to debate with a fellow scientist to justify animal experiments. This is absolutely unacceptable in modern-day Britain – a Britain where compassion towards animals is growing – and we demand answers now.”
But the university defended its positions saying their work has provided a significant contribution to the research into understanding biological sciences and to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in both humans and animals.
A spokesman at the University of Kent, said: "Whilst the university works continuously to ensure the numbers of animals used is kept to a minimum, numbers used will fluctuate from year to year, depending on individual project requirements.
"For 2017, this was a total of 476 mice used in regulated procedures all classed as mild or sub-threshold."
A statement added: "The university is committed to ensuring that animals are used when there are no alternative methods and after a ethical review by our Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body.
"We are also committed to ensuring that researchers use the minimum number needed to meet their research objectives and to achieving the highest standards of animal care and welfare.
"It should be emphasised that this research is ultimately aimed at developing new drugs and therapies to treat major diseases.
"We have invited students' representatives to meet and discuss our use of mice, the steps we take to minimise their use and the significant contributions our research has made to the understanding of the biological sciences and to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in both humans and animals."