“While our focus has been on Imperial College, the committee’s recommendations
should serve as a useful framework for other institutions to review their policies
and practices.” From The Brown Report 12/2013
The Brown Report, published in December 2013, was an inquiry headed by Professor Steve Brown from the Medical Research Council after a 2012 investigation by the BUAV found numerous breaches of the law and Government guidelines in animal research at Imperial College London.
Whilst the report did not address the specific allegations from our Licensed to Kill investigation, it was very critical of practices at Imperial. It concluded that “Imperial College lacks adequate leadership, management, operational, training, supervisory and ethical review systems to support high standards in animal use and welfare.”
The criticism of Imperial College is a damning indictment. If such criticisms can be levelled at one of the world’s leading universities, then it is inevitable that there may be similar issues in other research establishments all over the country. It should not take an undercover investigation to expose what is happening in UK laboratories. There are now under 20 inspectors (following government reductions) for 4.1 million experiments and relying on the inspection regime is clearly inadequate.
The horrors uncovered at ‘world leader’ Imperial included live decapitation of rats, failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and breaches in and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences.
The BUAV has now written to over 100 universities in the UK who may be doing animal research bringing to their attention key recommendations from the report, which are not specific to Imperial College. These include:
The BUAV wishes to know whether each institution, if carrying out animal research, has undertaken, or will undertake, the suggested review of policies and practices, and whether they will publish the conclusions reached and any changes made as a result.
The public wants, and has a right to know, what happens within the animal research facilities at publicly-funded institutions. We want to know what steps are to be taken to ensure that non-animal methods are properly explored and for Universities to commit to real transparency so that the public can see that meaningful change is being achieved.