A laboratory mouse as it looks over the gloved hand of a technician.

London - The number of experiments carried out on animals is at a 30-year high - fuelled by the breeding of GM animals.

British Home Office figures show that 3.8 million procedures were carried out on animals including dogs, cats, mice and monkeys.

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 percent of last year’s procedures carried out on mice.

Charities which fund medical research say many significant advances in medicine have roots in animal testing, such as kidney dialysis and polio vaccines.

But animal rights groups said the latest figures were “deeply distressing”.

Dr Penny Hawkins, of the RSPCA, said: “Efforts are being made to reduce animals’ suffering in experimental procedures but much more needs to be done.” - Daily Mail