Ann Widdecombe supports the BUAV Cat Week and delivery of report to Home Office

05/06/2014

As part of its Our Best Friends campaign - to end the use of cats and dogs in UK research – the BUAV has dedicated this week from the 2nd June to highlight the use of cats in laboratory research.

During Cat Week, the BUAV is delivering a report to the Home Office. The report entitled, 'What is happening to cats?,' is a critical analysis on the use of cats and kittens in experiments.

In support of the activity, Ann said: “It is time to end cruel and unnecessary experiments on cats and kittens in the UK.”

Cats are often used in fundamental (curiosity-driven) biological research. This usually focuses on the visual and nervous system and can involve experiments in which cats are deprived of their sight or subjected to lengthy, invasive brain experiments from which they do not recover.

In 2012, the BUAV uncovered research at Cardiff University on litters of new born kittens who were 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, yet the structure and function of the cat's visual system is different from humans’. Instead, there are humane alternative methods that can be used to study vision and the neurologic processes underlying it in people.

Under the banner ‘Cats and dogs are our best friends – they don’t belong in laboratories’, the BUAV is callingfor the Government to end their use inexperimentsin the UK.

Over five million families in the UK share their home with one or more cats yet these much loved animals are still being used in cruel tests.

Members of the public who wish to back the Our Best Friends campaign can sign the petition at ourbestfriends.org/petition