7 AUGUST 2004, Page 25

Toxic testing

From Barbara Davies Sir: [agree with much of Ross Clark's article (`The terror war we can win', 31 July). We certainly need to win this battle to safeguard the vital and excellent medical research carried out in the UK.

However, Mr Clark is wrong on one point. He says. 'The most pressing need for animal experimentation is for drugs companies to satisfy mandatory toxicology tests: these accounted for 80 per cent of the 2.7 million animal tests conducted in Britain in 2001' In fact, the safety tests for new medicines account for 11 per cent of all animal studies

in 2002; safety tests for other substances accounted for 5 per cent of the total.

Most of the remaining 84 per cent of animal studies is divided equally between basic biomedical research better to understand the body in health and disease, the development of new ways to prevent or treat human and animal diseases, and the breeding of genetically modified animals to understand the function of particular genes or to study diseases.

Barbara Davies

London WI