ANIMAL rights campaigners have hit out after almost 620,000 animals were experimented on in Scotland last year.

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) said that almost 80 per cent of the tests had taken place in universities or medical schools and that the majority of animals would have been killed afterwards.

The new figures, obtained by Livingston MP Graeme Morrice, show that the total of 619,798 experiments in 2013 had dropped slightly compared to the year before. However, there were 936 experiments on dogs, a rise of 61 per cent. The number carried out on horses, pigs, birds and cats also increased.

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Mr Morrice said more should be done to phase out live animal experiments. He added: "It is disappointing that universities in Scotland are still using so many animals in outdated tests. It is very concerning that the number of experiments involving dogs, cats, monkeys and horses have increased in Scotland. These animals are suffering in pointless tests, for which there are advanced alternatives."

The statistics show that over half of all the animals used in Scotland were genetically modified.

A spokeswoman for Universities Scotland said: "Scottish universities carrying out any form of medical or biomedical research take their ethical and legal responsibilities very seriously. Efforts are continually being made to find alternatives to animal testing, but in order to advance medical and scientific knowledge to prevent diseases and treat and cure serious health issues, procedures involving animals are sometimes necessary."