What a Blessed earful! Cameron and foghorn-voiced actor meet at Downing StreetBrian Blessed is campaigning for greater transparency over animal testing
Daily Mail Reporter
00:02 GMT, 25 April 2013
06:54 GMT, 25 April 2013
It may not have been his most hostile confrontation of the day but it was probably the loudest.
David Cameron emerged from Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons yesterday to be bearded in Downing Street by foghorn-voiced actor Brian Blessed.
The larger-than-life star, 76, was at No 10 to deliver a petition calling on Mr Cameron to end the secrecy surrounding testing on animals for research.
Prime Minister David Cameron greets Brian Blessed, who is campaigning for greater transparency on animal research
It was signed by a host of celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy and Prunella Scales.
The Government is consulting on a review of the regulations which exempt such tests from Freedom of Information rules.
A post card signed by celebrities in support of greater transparencywas delivered to 10 Downing Street
Last year Home Office figures show that 3.8million procedures were carried out on animals including dogs, cats, mice and monkeys last year.
The total, which includes some animals that have been experimented on more than once, is the highest since 1981.
It comes two years after the Coalition pledged to ‘work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research’ and 16 years after the principle was enshrined in law.
The procedures ranged from blood tests to experiments that left animals paralysed or dead.
They also included animals genetically modified to carry certain genes or develop symptoms of human diseases.
GM animals are behind the bulk of the rise in recent years, with 71 per cent of last year’s procedures carried out on mice.
The majority of the 3.8million procedures in 2011 – some 71 per cent – was carried out on mice.
Fish accounted for 15 per cent of the total, rats made up 7 per cent and birds 4 per cent.
Some 235 procedures were carried out on cats – a 26 per cent rise on 2010. All of this work related to improving feline nutrition and health.
Work on pigs also rose, while there were drops in experiments on dogs and monkeys.
Overall numbers were 2 per cent up on 2010, with an extra 10,400 procedures being carried out a day.