ALED JONES (HAS, July 7) is wrong to claim that the Government spends more on animal research than is spent on public healthcare.

In 2013, the Government spent well over £100bn on the NHS.

During the same year, the entire UK science budget totalled just £2.59bn – 50 times less. This money covers all scientific research, from space exploration to optical fibre technology to medical research, of which animal research is a small but vital component.

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In contrast to the “puppies and kittens” mentioned in his letter, they make up less than half a percent of research animals, and cats are mainly used for veterinary research, such as vaccines for the UK’s 8.5 million pet cats.

Most research animals, some 97 per cent, are mice, rats, fish and birds.

It is illegal to test cosmetics on animals or use an animal if there is an alternative.

The public debate is not well served by the sort of distortions repeated in Mr Jones’ letter.

Dr Elisabeth Harley, Understanding Animal Research.