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IAVS persuades Government to correct false figures exaggerating medical benefits of licensed animal tests

The IAVS has scored a significant victory after the Department of Health agreed to correct a false statement claiming that 157,924 lethal dose animal poisoning tests were for medical purposes. In fact, the tests, representing over two-thirds of Irish animal experiments in 2012, were largely for the sake of cosmetic ‘Botox’-type products.

This information which the Department had placed into the public domain was significantly misleading. The figures correspond to a huge number of animals used in extremely severe tests. To misrepresent these tests as for medical purposes provided a false impression of the picture to the public of the bioethical issues surrounding these tests.

The IAVS is grateful for Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s attention to this critical matter, after our first effort to highlight this mistake had been ignored by his predecessor James Reilly.

Here is the letter we received from the Department of Health:

Dear Ms Smalley,

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, T.D., has asked that I refer further to your recent e-mail regarding the 2012 Statistical Report on the use of Animals for Experimental and other Scientific purposes in Ireland.

I have been advised by officials in the Department that they have re-examined the individual returns submitted which provided the overall details in the above statistical report. This highlighted an administrative error whereby an entry proper to Column 8.2.1.i (Other toxicological or safety evaluations) was incorrectly inserted in Column 8.2.1.a (Products/substances or devices for human medicine and dentistry and for veterinary medicine). This has now been rectified and is reflected in the following document on the Department's website at:

In re-examining this matter the relevant officials have confirmed that the returns submitted by the relevant companies were completed correctly and the error was occurred while being collated in this Department.

I trust this clarifies the matter for you.

Yours sincerely

David O'Connor
Private Secretary