BUAV delivers its report on the use of cats in research to the Home Office

05/06/2014

The BUAV has today delivered a critical analysis on the use of cats and kittens in experiments to the Home Office. The report is entitled 'What is happening to cats?’ and has been delivered during the BUAV’s Cat Week – a week dedicated to highlighting the use of cats in laboratory research. The BUAV campaign and report has already received widespread national attention and media coverage.

The BUAV carried out a comprehensive review of scientific literature involving cat experiments in the UK and our findings provide a shocking insight into the suffering and cruelty cats and kittens endure in UK universities. Over the last five years, from 2008 to 2012 inclusive, at least 855 cats were used in 1,304 experiments, much of it driven by university researchers who want to find out how cats ‘work’. Experiments carried out included:

•      Deliberate deprivation of light or vision by rearing kittens in the dark or stitching eyes closed

•      Invasive brain surgery to implant electrodes in cats’ heads

•      Lengthy surgical procedures during which the cats are only ‘lightly’ anaesthetised

•      Paralysis during surgery using chemicals to prevent cats from moving or breathing

•      Repeated behaviour testing and brain recording whilst being held in small Perspex boxes

•      Infection with deadly diseases with no mention of pain relief and sometimes no treatment

The rationale underlying all animal experiments in the UK is that the ‘ends justify the means’ and that animal suffering and loss of life is permissible if it is of benefit to humans or other animals.  Yet, as the BUAV Report outlines, the information gained from cat research has little direct relevance to humans because of the fundamental nature of the work and the substantial differences between the two species. Research on cats is cruel, unnecessary and unpopular. Sophisticated, humane and human-relevant techniques can be used instead.  The BUAV is calling on the Government to listen to public opinion and take decisive action to ban experiments on cats.

The BUAV’s Our Best Friends campaign, which aims to end the use of cats and dogs in experiments, has received much high profile support including that from Ricky Gervais, Paul O’Grady and Chris Packham. Join the campaign and sign the petition at ourbestfriends.org/petition.