After extensive pressure from the BUAV, including a pending judicial review, the Government has finally conceded that the veterinarian in overall charge of animal welfare at a laboratory cannot also be a controlling shareholder. In 2009, a BUAV undercover investigation revealed substantial Home Office licence breaches at Wickham Laboratories, a contract testing facility in Hampshire. It then became apparent that the veterinary officer in charge of the laboratory owned, with his wife, 94% of the share capital. A hearing in the judicial review is due to take place in June and there is no doubt that it is this case which has forced the Home Office to act.
BUAV Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Thew, commented, “This move is long overdue. It is astonishing that up to now it has been possible for owners of laboratories effectively to be supervising themselves. We welcome the news that the Government accepts that this needs to change, and hope that they will act swiftly”