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Born to Die - Chicks, Rabbits & Calves

As well as dogs and cats, the BUAV’s investigation has uncovered cruel experiments at MSD Animal Health using baby chickens, rabbits and calves.


On 9th September 2013, 101 chicks arrived at the laboratory – they were just one day old. Within days of arriving, before the experiment even began, 15 chicks had died.

A second chicken experiment started during November 2013.  This time the chicks were hatched from eggs on site. One hundred chicks were used in the experiment. They were killed in January 2014 at just 8 weeks old.

These poor chicks spent their short lives cooped up in the sterile environment of a laboratory.  They never got to feel the sun on their feathers or scratch around in the ground. 

But the BUAV was able to help a lucky few.  Our investigator managed to rescue some of the chickens and the BUAV has placed them in safe forever homes where they can play under the sky, enjoy a dust bath, and forage in the earth.



During the BUAV investigation, thirty rabbits arrived on 1st November 2013. On 3rd November, three rabbits were found dead.  Days later, a further rabbit was found dead and after one week on 13th November, another was unable to stand and was killed for welfare reasons.

During the experiment some of the rabbits suffered with swollen eyes, black tumours on their genitals, eyes and noses, swollen, lumpy ears and laboured breathing. They had to be killed due to the severity of their symptoms.

On 9th December, the remaining young rabbits were bled by cardiac puncture under anaesthetic and then killed by lethal injection.



Our investigation has uncovered that even calves were used in experiments. 

The calves arrived at the laboratory at around 2 weeks old, and were shot to death around 6 months later.  During their short lives they were kept for long periods in small stalls. 

Calves, chicks and rabbits don’t belong in laboratories.  They should be able to enjoy a life of freedom outdoors.  

Please help the BUAV end the appalling killing of the animals born to die in UK laboratories.