SIXTY-SIX monkeys were used in research at Oxford University last year.

The university today released figures showing that it held 86 macaque monkeys and used 66 in research.

It had turned down a request for the information under the Freedom of Information Act by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection almost two years ago – but was ordered to release the statistics by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas.

The university said the monkeys were used in research into brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s because their brains were closer to human brains than mice or rats. Some were also used in studies to develop vaccinations for HIV and other major infections. The university claimed they accounted for under one per cent of the animals housed at its Biomedical Sciences Laboratory and were only used when no other species could deliver the research answer.