What is biotechnology?


Biotechnology involves creating or modifying animals, plants (e.g. 'genetically modified crops') or other living organisms in a way deemed to be of use to people. It includes the use of techniques to genetically manipulate and clone animals.

What we think

This rapidly developing field of science is an issue of great concern. Biotechnology is being applied around the world more widely than ever before in scientific research, healthcare, agriculture, and environmental protection - and it involves millions of animals.

  • The techniques used to create genetically altered (GA) and cloned animals have huge potential to cause pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm to animals. 
  • The techniques used are very inefficient - for every animal successfully created, up to one hundred others will have lost their lives. 
  • Using animals in this way increases the perception of animals as 'research tools', 'commodities' or 'units of production' for human benefit, rather than the complex, sentient individuals that we know them to be. 
  • The development and use of GA and cloning techniques is progressing with very little debate as to whether this is something the public approve of. 
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    The increasing use of GA animals in research and testing is reversing what had previously been a downward trend in the number of animal used in experiments (data for 2013) (PDF 296KB).

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