This week the BUAV launched Cat Week - a week dedicated to highlighting and raising awareness about the use of cats and kittens in research. Today the BUAV Campaigns team are in Cardiff handing in over 115,000 signatures to Cardiff University under the banner Love Cardiff: Loathe Kitten Experiments, requesting the university to stop cat and kitten experiments.
In 2010 and again in 2012, the BUAV uncovered controversial kitten research that was happening behind the university’s closed doors. The university carried out experiments which included litters of new born kittens raised in total darkness or deprived of sight in one eye by having their eyelids sewn shut. After 12 weeks, the kittens were anaesthetised and their skulls cut open to expose their brains. Images were taken of their brains’ responses to visual stimuli, after which the kittens were killed and parts of their brains removed for further analysis. The experiment was publicly funded by the Medical Research Council. Not only is the structure and function of the cat's visual system different from humans, there are humane alternative methods that can be used to study vision and the neurologic processes underlying it in people.
The petition hand-in took place at 1:15pm where a university official received the petition from the BUAV. To mark this day and raise further awareness of the campaign, a BUAV ad-van has been touring the city with eye-catching visuals stating “Over 90,000 people want Cardiff University to stop kitten experiments. Love Cardiff, Loathe Kitten Experiments.”
Since the petition launch in 2012 the BUAV has received support from celebrities and politicians.
Comedian Ricky Gervais joined the BUAV in speaking out against Cardiff University’s shocking experiments. Ricky told the BUAV: “I am appalled that kittens are being deprived of sight in one eye by having their eyelids sewn shut. I thought sickening experiments like these were a thing of the past. I support the BUAV in calling for this research to be stopped.”
Jonathan Evans MP stated:“I am supportive of the BUAV’s Our Best Friends campaign to end the use of dogs and cats in experiments. I have signed the EDM 514 to show my commitment to the issue. I was shocked to discover that kittens were being experimented on at Cardiff University and I want this to stop.”
Welsh Assembly MemberBethan Jenkins said: “The BUAV’s petition to end kitten experiments at Cardiff University has reached almost 120,000 signatures. This figure shows the level of public concern there is on this issue. I urge the Council of Cardiff University to take note and stop these cruel experiments.”
The BUAV will be finishing their day off in Cardiff by visiting Cardiff’s city centre and talking to local people to gain further support for the campaign.
BUAV Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: “Over 115,000 people have spoken out against the sickening kitten research exposed by the BUAV at Cardiff University. Our petition demonstrates the strength of public feeling about these experiments; people simply do not want a publically funded institution sewing shut kittens eyes in the name of research. I urge Cardiff University to take a compassionate stand and consign cat and kitten experiments to the history books where they belong.”
Other BUAV activities taking place during cat week include delivering a report to the Home Office providing a critical analysis of the use of cats and kittens in research.