Michelle's Blog

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


Behind the scenes

This week saw the release of the findings from the Brown Inquiry, an inquiry commissioned by Imperial College London following the BUAV undercover investigation at one of its animal research facilities in 2012. The 40 page report could not have been more damning. Not only did it deal a heavy blow to Imperial College, its conclusions and recommendations will have repercussions across the animal research industry. As a result, there has been widespread interest by the media and the findings of the BUAV investigation were reported on radio and television and in publications including The Times, Daily Mail, Independent and Nature.

The findings from our investigation make shocking reading and much of the video footage is deeply upsetting. But perhaps, the most disturbing aspect of all is the way it provides a unique, if chilling, insight into the attitude and behaviour of researchers and staff whose job it is to look after the animals in theircare.

Much of the evidence accumulated by the BUAV investigator is that spoken by the researchers and staff themselves; their own admissions of wrongdoing, lack of knowledge about their Home Office licences, neglect and incompetence resulting in unnecessary animal suffering. Statements such as ‘If the Home Office was in we would have been screwed’ after mice were found in pitiful distressed state on a Monday morning because of a failure to adequately monitor them over the weekend. Or a researcher who laughingly admitted about his project licence: ‘The license is pretty generous actually. We’ve written it so that it’s quite good at, we can do all sorts.’ Or another researcher who gave a rat a reduced dose of anaesthesia because it was late on a Friday afternoon: ‘But I won’t give it a full dose. As long as there is enough for it to be not fully under but you know not feeling too much pain.’ These are all disturbing incidents that the public has a right to know took place in one of the world’s leading universities.    

We are now awaiting the outcome of the separate Home Office inquiry into our findings. We expect strong action to be taken against Imperial College for its failings. The University needs to be held accountable for the suffering and distress that has been caused to the thousands of animals in its care.  

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 the secrecy that surrounds animal research makes it impossible for the public to judge for ourselves. Our investigation at Imperial College, like many others before, has shown the pitiful reality of life for animals inside laboratories, with breaches of the regulatory regime and inappropriate licensing and enforcement by the Home Office.

We have a long history in undertaking hard-hitting investigations and exposés of the secret world of the animal research industry both in the UK and overseas. However, we could not achieve all of this without your support. Please continue to support our important investigative work to enable us to continue to speak out on behalf of the millions of animals who suffer in silence.

Until next time…….