Michelle's Blog

The latest from the BUAV's Chief Executive...

15/04/2013

The BUAV goes undercover at a leading UK university

Over the years we have heard repeated claims from the UK Government and research industry that this country has some of the highest welfare standards and regulations in the world for animals in laboratories. Yet animal research is one of the most secretive of industries, and repeated calls by the BUAV for transparency that would enable the public to judge for themselves have been met with little more than lip-service at best.

I believe a genuinely informed debate is crucial – the public has a right to know what is being done to animals in laboratories with the Government’s permission.  Undercover investigations sadly remain the only way we can discover the reality of life for animals in UK laboratories.  Every time the BUAV carries out an investigation in the UK I have been truly shocked by the level of suffering inflicted on animals. 

Yesterday we launched our latest investigation into animal research at one of the UK’s leading universities, Imperial College London. Our findings were revealed in The Sunday Times yesterday. Our investigation provides a chilling insight, not only to the terrible suffering that thousands of rats and mice are subjected to inside the laboratories at Imperial College, but also to the attitude and behaviour of the researchers and staff themselves. Our investigator witnessed incompetence, neglect and macabre, harrowing scenes that would turn the stomachs of most. The animals at Imperial College were clearly viewed as dispensable tools of research with little intrinsic worth. 

Our findings have already resulted in widespread criticism. Imperial College has itself announced the appointment of Professor Steve Brown, Director of the Medical Research Council’s Mammalian Genetics Unit at Harwell in Oxford, to chair its own investigation into our findings. Whilst we of course welcome a move from the College that takes our findings seriously, an ‘independent inquiry’ headed by a well-known and strong supporter of animal research from an institution that actually funds animal research at the Imperial College is clearly anything but independent! 

So that is why we are calling on the government to set up a fully independent inquiry into the concerns raised by the report. The inquiry should be independent of the Home Office (which regulates animal experiments) and Imperial College, as well as any institution funding or supporting research at Imperial College.  

Our undercover film shows shocking and harrowing scenes of the plight of animals at Imperial College London. But with your support we can make a difference for the millions of animals used in UK laboratories. Please take a moment to sign our petition urging the Home Secretary to take action, or make a donation to help us carry out our important work.

Until next time…