BUAV call for transparency as Imperial College action plan leaves questions unanswered

04/02/2014

Imperial College London has published an action plan to improve welfare and use fewer animals following the findings of the Brown report which concluded that the world-leading university ‘…lacks adequate leadership, management, operational, training, supervisory and ethical review systems to support high standards in animal use and welfare’.

Imperial College’s action plan shows a number of issues that continue to remain unanswered, including the licensing of experiments and the extent to which the animals suffered as a result of the serious failings - uncovered by the BUAV investigation - on behalf of the university, its staff and research.

BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew said: “We note that Imperial College appears to have taken the recommendations of the Brown report seriously and is prepared to make organisational changes. However, the action plan talks about an increase in staff but details are absent. What steps are to be taken to ensure that non-animal methods are properly explored? Will Imperial College now commit to real transparency so that the public can see that meaningful change is achieved?”

The action plan and the BUAV response has been reported in Nature online here.

A BUAV investigator worked for seven months at Imperial College and documented a catalogue of shortcomings and wrongdoing by staff and researchers that caused even more distress and suffering to the animals in its care than was allowed in the experiments.  From negligence and ineptitude, to breaches in and lack of knowledge about the project licences, time and again the animals bore the brunt of staff and researchers’ incompetence or indifference.

The UK Government and research industry repeatedly claim that the UK has some of the highest welfare standards in the world for animals in laboratories, yet huge secrecy and a lack of transparency surrounds animal research. It should not take an undercover investigation to expose what is happening in UK laboratories.

The BUAV is now awaiting the outcome of the separate Home Office inquiry about the serious allegations of animal suffering that were found during our investigation and which led to the Brown report in the first place. We expect strong action to be taken against Imperial College for its failings.

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