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Severity of animal tests

Due to the culture of secrecy around animal testing, we’re not allowed to have the full information of how the animals are treated. However, we do have access to the scale of severity imposed on innocent animals:

There are five severity assessments:

  1. Sub-threshold: When a procedure was authorised under a project licence but did not actually cause suffering above the threshold of regulation, i.e. was less than the level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm that is caused by inserting a hypodermic needle according to good veterinary practice.
  2. Non-recovery (under general anaesthesia): When the entire procedure was carried out under general anaesthesia without recovery.
  3. Mild: Any pain or suffering experienced by an animal that was, at worst, only slight or transitory and minor so that the animal returns to its normal state within a short period of time.
  4. Moderate: The procedure caused a significant and easily detectable disturbance to an animal’s normal state, but this was not life-threatening. Most surgical procedures carried out under general anaesthesia and with good post-operative analgesia (i.e. pain relief) would be classed as moderate.
  5. Severe: The procedure caused a major departure from the animal’s usual state of health and wellbeing. This would usually include long-term disease processes where assistance with normal activities such as feeding and drinking were required, or where significant deficits in behaviours/activities persist. It includes animals found dead unless an informed decision can be made that the animal did not suffer severely prior to death.

However, Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 makes it a criminal offence to disclose any further information about animal experiments, including the purposes for each experiment, or how the animals were treated.

Which companies commissioned the testing?

Again, you’re not allowed to know. Section 24 protects the names of the household product companies that commission animal testing.

That means you could have a product containing ingredients recently tested on animals in your cleaning cupboard right now, but the government doesn’t believe you have a right to know about it. You are expected to trust the word of the companies that want you to buy their products, instead of being provided with objective facts.

Learn more about Section 24.

This is why, if you want to avoid cruelly tested products, it is more important than ever to ensure you buy brands endorsed in our Compassionate Shopping Guide.

Do you believe animals deserve to be burnt, injected, cut up or poisoned for washing up liquid?

Lead the way to a cruelty-free UK with our 60-second action!