Television presenter and animal advocate, Wendy Turner-Webster, today joined the BUAV to hand in a petition addressed to Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Secretary of State. The petition, signed by over 65,000 people calls for an independent inquiry into disturbing evidence of animal suffering and poor practice uncovered by the BUAV during its investigation at Imperial College London, one of the UK’s leading universities.
Wendy Turner-Webster stated: ‘I am pleased to support the BUAV today in its call for an independent inquiry. This petition demonstrates the strength of public feeling. I was shocked when I read about the terrible animal suffering uncovered by the BUAV. It is shameful and unacceptable that such suffering and neglect can take place at one of our top universities.’
Others to support the BUAV call today are wildlife expert and television presenter, Chris Packham, and Bill Oddie, naturalist and TV presenter.
Chris Packham stated: 'I was appalled by the poor standards and animal suffering uncovered by the BUAV at Imperial College London. This investigation shows that life for an animal inside a UK laboratory is very different – and far worse – to that portrayed by the Government. I support the BUAV call for an independent inquiry into the findings and the concerns they have raised.'
Bill Oddie said: 'When there are better ways, using animals is reprehensible, inflicting cruelty and pain is utterly indefensible. This report is distressing evidence that some of the methods at Imperial College should be totally outlawed. It is unlikely of course that this is the only instance of such practices. Clearly a nationwide (indeed worldwide) investigation is needed, and stricter laws applied and enforced. BUAV have my complete support. As time goes by, experience may change beliefs, or at least amend them.'
Wendy Turner-Webster, Bill Oddie and Chris Packham join a number of other celebrities, who recently signed up to an open letter to Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Home Office Minister calling for an independent inquiry - including Joanna Lumley, Morrissey, Chrissie Hynde, Moby, Jenny Seagrove and Twiggy.
The BUAV investigation documented a catalogue of shortcomings that caused even more suffering to animals 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.
BUAV Chief Executive, Michelle Thew states: ‘We are delighted to have Wendy Turner-Webster join us today. 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. We urge the Home Office Minister to set up an inquiry, wholly independent of the Home Office and Imperial College, into the concerns we raise.’
For further information, please visit http://licensedtokill.buav.org