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Economy

Risk Of Animal Experiments To Rise In UK After Brexit

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Canadian Science by Adam Foster via Flckr

Following Brexit, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is concerned that hard-fought EU regulations on animal experiments could be rolled back in the UK.

Decades of progress have seen the replacement of outdated animal tests with advanced non-animal techniques. Government figures released today show a rise in the number of animals used for research last year (4,142,631).

Jan Creamer, President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society said, “With the introduction of advanced scientific methods, we and the public expect to see year-on-year reductions in animal use, so this increase is not what the public wants. The prospect that Brexit could turn the scientific clock back, returning to outdated methods, is a real concern.”

Researchers in the UK have previously called for less regulation and may well now press for “cutting through the EU red tape” to make it easier to test on animals, with less scrutiny and oversight.

While the UK is unlikely to allow cosmetics testing on animals, the EU Cosmetics Directive also bans the import of products that have been tested on animals.  This key Directive prevents countries such the USA, China and others from selling their cosmetic products in Europe if they have been animal tested.

Brexit may also jeopardise proposals to phase out laboratory primate use. The EU proposals to end the use of monkeys born from parents caught in the wild would be weakened if the UK does not demand the same standards.  The EU plan would stop monkey dealers in Mauritius, Vietnam and elsewhere, from restocking their factory farms with animals captured in the wild. The UK itself does not currently use monkeys born to wild caught parents.

Proposals to reform Section 24 (the ‘secrecy clause) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (2012 Amended) (ASPA) are now also uncertain. Over two years have already passed since a Government consultation on freedom of information and Section 24 and no decisions have been given. Section 24 of the ASPA places a blanket ban on the release of details about animal experiments, preventing wider public and scientific scrutiny of decisions made by Home Office officials. The NAVS has argued for wider public and scientific scrutiny of proposals to use animals in research, especially in light of the Freedom of Information Act and its provisions for personal security.

Following the adoption of EU rules, and from last year, changes have been made to the way the ‘Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, Great Britain’ have been compiled, with actual severity of procedures published and use of animals reported at the end of the project, rather than the beginning as previously.

The Home Office figures reveal:

– Over 752,000 experiments and breeding procedures forced animals to suffer severely (185,100) or moderately (567,058). ‘Severe’ suffering can include internal bleeding, heart failure, and nerve damage. ‘Moderate’ suffering can include implanting a device into monkeys’ skulls, with common adverse effects including wound infections. 1,869,519 ‘mild’ experiments were conducted, which can include food or water restriction to motivate performance in behavioural tasks and foot shocks in mice.

– 3,405 dogs were used ‘for the first time’ in tests which can involve force-feeding compounds such as agricultural chemicals, or having toxic substances pumped into their veins. The controversial government approval of plans to expand a beagle breeding facility in Yorkshire is likely to fuel demand, warns the NAVS.

– 2,234 monkeys were used ‘for the first time’ in experiments. Monkeys are used mainly to test drugs and typically endure force-feeding or injections of experimental compounds; full body immobilisation in restraint chairs whilst they are experimented on.

– Almost a third of experiments were on genetically modified animals. Many hundreds of thousands more suffer during the creation and maintenance of animals with genetic modifications, who can suffer from deformed limbs, fused bones and painful swellings.

The NAVS studies of the use of animals in research have produced a wealth of information showing that the fundamental differences between species in their reaction to substances has produced misleading results. What is needed is replacement of outdated animal tests with advanced, scientific techniques that are more relevant to humans. The fastest growing area of science is advanced techniques and a bank of alternative methods can provide accurate human data instead of animal data.

For further information, please see www.navs.org.uk

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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