I WAS appalled to read Richard Mountford’s letter about animal research (HAS, July 16) as its claims were outrageously misleading to the general public.

It should not be forgotten that “animal research” also means research into diseases like feline HIV and animal nutrition.

The letter did not mention that 95 per cent of procedures are deemed “mild” or “moderate” by the Home Office, such as taking a blood sample, which is partly why most animals do not need anaesthetic.

More than nine out of ten experiments involve rodents or fish, and almost half referred simply to the breeding of a laboratory mouse.

It is illegal to use an animal in an experiment if there is an alternative, and the techniques listed by Mr Mountford, such as tissue cultures and computers, are already used by researchers, but are found wanting in terms of discovering treatments or cures for diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis. If these alternatives really were enough to replace animals, it would be illegal not to use them.

Chris Magee, London