An Open Letter to Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Home Office Minister, has been signed by a host of politicians, scientists, academics, animal welfare experts and celebrities. The letter calls on the UK Government to set up an independent inquiry into the appalling animal suffering and wrong-doing uncovered at Imperial College London, one of the UK’s leading universities.
Support for the BUAV comes from Joanna Lumley, Morrissey, Chrissie Hynde, Moby, Jenny Seagrove and Twiggy. Other individuals to sign up include RSPCA Chief Executive Gavin Grant, Jonathan Porritt, Peter Tatchell, Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Mark Carwardine as well as leading academics such as Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, Professor Roger Crisp, Professor Janet Radcliffe Richards, Professor Robert Gardner and Dr Richard Ryder. Politicians include Caroline Lucas MP, Graeme Morrice MP, Adrian Sanders MP, Penny Mordaunt MP, Henry Smith MP, Jim Dowd MP and Kerry McCarthy MP.
The call comes following an investigation carried out by the BUAV at one of the animal laboratories at Imperial College which documented a catalogue of shortcomings that caused even more suffering to the animals in its care than was allowed in the experiments. Findings included: breaches in and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences; staff incompetence and neglect that resulted in animal suffering and distress; unsupervised researchers - with little experience - anaesthetising and carrying out surgery on animals; a failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and pain relief and the controversial use of a guillotine to carry out live decapitation.
The UK Government and research industry repeatedly claim the UK has some of the highest welfare standards in the world for animals in laboratories, yet the secrecy surrounding animal research means we are unable to judge for ourselves. The BUAV investigation lifts the lid on this secrecy with a chilling insight into the day to day reality for animals in a UK laboratory with staff admissions of their own wrong-doing and incompetence.
BUAV Chief Executive, Michelle Thew states: ‘Our investigation raises significant and far reaching questions about animal research in the UK. Despite claims by the Government and research industry that the UK has the best system of regulation in the world, we have shown that the reality for animals is very different. Standards at this leading UK University were poor, with breaches of the regulatory regime and inappropriate licensing and enforcement by the Home Office. A full independent inquiry must be carried out’.
The BUAV investigative film can be viewed here.