THE announcement last week that there has been a hike in the number of animals used in experiments - nearly three million in 2005, 34,000 more than in the previous year - is both shocking and disappointing.

Animals suffer horribly in laboratories and for what?

To yield data that cannot reliably be applied to humans.

More than 240 MPs have recently signed an Early Day Motion expressing their concerns over the reliability of animal experiments "particularly in light of the large numbers of serious and often fatal adverse drug reactions that were not predicted by animal studies".

And a 2004 survey of doctors found that 82 per cent were concerned that animal data can be misleading when applied to humans.

Doctors and politicians are speaking up.

it's high time the Government listened and directed its attention and our taxes away from misleading and painful tests on animals and toward state-of-the-art, human-based research that would really benefit human health.

K FOWLER-REEVES Animal Aid Tonbridge Kent