The BUAV has revealed sickening experiments carried out on cats and dogs in the UK and overseas. The controversial experiments, some of which were funded by the British Heart Foundation and involve animals subjected to invasive surgery and mutilation before being killed, has featured in the Sunday Express newspaper.
In one experiment, supported by a project grant from the British Heart Foundation, researchers at the University of Leeds conducted invasive surgery on 17 beagles under anaesthesia, during which their breastbones were split to expose their hearts and their necks were cut open and a tube inserted down their throats to provide artificial ventilation. Nine of the animals also had their flanks cut open and their kidneys exposed. All the animals were kept under anaesthesia and bled to death at the end of the surgery.
At Cardiff University, researchers subjected some kittens to invasive brain surgery to implant electrodes and deliberately deprived others of light or vision by either rearing them in the dark or stitching one of their eyelids closed.
Recent statistics released by the Home Office show the number of cats and dogs used in research in the UK increased during 2012. Over the last six years (from 2007 to 2012 inclusive) 1,034 cats were used in 1,612 experiments and 23,854 dogs were used in 34,669 experiments. During 2012, the number of cats used increased by 32% to 202 cats and the number of dogs used increased by 12% to 3,214.
The BUAV has also highlighted a number of controversial experiments carried out overseas but with UK collaboration or funding. We believe such experiments raise important questions and concerns as to why UK researchers are going overseas to carry out these experiments – especially in countries known for having lower standards of animal welfare and where there is less opposition, scrutiny and bureaucracy.
Michelle Thew, Chief Executive, BUAV stated:
'Members of the public will be shocked to learn that their charitable donations and taxes have been funding experiments on cats or dogs that involve highly invasive surgery, pain and distress. Such research is both unethical and scientifically questionable. There are substantial differences between humans and other animals and it is unacceptable that, despite a range of non-animal methods available, cats and dogs continue to suffer. Last year a Mori opinion poll showed a 10% reduction in public support for animal research. We are now calling on the Government to bring this suffering to an end.'
If we were to deliberately abuse their companion cats or dogs, we would expect to be prosecuted, fined, and possibly imprisoned. Yet, animals in laboratories are deliberately excluded from this protection. Therefore, whilst it is an offence to poison your cat or dog at home, it is perfectly legal, indeed profitable, for a laboratory to deliberately poison, mutilate and kill thousands of animals every year. This is unacceptable and must stop.
The BUAV 'Our Best Friends' campaign, to end the use of cats and dogs in research, was recently launched with the support of Paul O’Grady, star of the popular TV show, 'For the Love of Dogs.
To find out ways to support our campaign, please visit: http://www.ourbestfriends.org/
To sign our petition to stop kitten experiments at Cardiff University: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/stop-kitten-experiments-at-cardiff-university