Short items

Animal rights activists hit research

UK research is being put at risk by the latest tactics of animal rights protestors - targeting the airlines and ferry companies that import test animals. Using letter writing and Facebook campaigns, a succession of companies have now refused to carry the animals and the effects are starting to be felt in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. While most animals used in UK research are bred in the country, scientists claim that those that are imported are often the most important, with rare genetic mutations. 
The Times, 14 March 2012 

Nestl? ditches artificial additives 

Nestl? has become the first major confectioner to remove all artificial colours, flavours and preservatives from its products. This is the result of a six year programme, which has seen over 80 ingredients replaced and was the reason why, for a time, blue Smarties disappeared while a natural blue colouring was found. 
Daily Mail, 2 March 2012 

Lab burger with cheese 

Artificial meat, grown in the lab, could be cooked up as soon as October, according to Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The burger will contain over 3000 strips of artificially grown beef muscle that started life as stem cells. Of course, being the result of over five years’ work, the initial burger will cost around ?200,000, but ultimately Post sees the meat as a viable alternative to the traditional, from an animal, variety. 
The Guardian, 9 February 2012 

Antibiotic resistance on the rise 

The growth of antibiotic resistance now poses as great a threat to human health as diseases like Aids and pandemic flu, say experts. This slow increase is threatening to turn common conditions into untreatable diseases. But as more antibiotics are lost, new ones are not replacing them. 
The Independent, 20 February 2012