The History of BUAV Investigations

The animal research industry is a multi-billion pound global industry responsible for inflicting pain, suffering and death on millions of animals around the world every year. It is also highly secretive and little information about it is publicly available, except the ‘positive’ stories researchers choose to share.

In the UK, the research industry and government claim that animals in laboratories are well cared for by competent individuals and adequately protected by laws and regulations. The reality, however, is often different.
Pioneering Undercover Work

The BUAV pioneered the use of investigative work in the UK, placing undercover workers within laboratories and animal supply companies. Our first undercover investigation in 1989 at Huntingdon Research Centre (now Huntingdon Life Sciences) revealed, for the very first time, the plight of beagles in toxicity testing and caused a public and political outcry.

It provided a damning insight into the workings of the Government's much-heralded Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Going Global

The BUAV has expanded its undercover operations to countries as far afield as Mauritius, Tanzania, Indonesia, Barbados, Japan, Thailand, Belgium, Portugal, Germany and Spain.

In 1992, BUAV’s Paradise Lost investigation was the first ever in-depth investigation of the trade in primates for research, and played a major role in changing the very nature of the international trade in primates.

The revelations of the cruelties inherent in the wild-caught trade received international media coverage and resulted in source country trade restrictions, government bans on the use of wild-caught animals, and airline embargoes. In the UK, the government announced a ban on the use of wild-caught monkeys in research.

Most recently we have uncovered a massive and expanding lucrative trade in primates for research from Laos to feed the international research industry.

Hitting the Headlines

The BUAV’s investigation at the University of Cambridge in 2002 showed the deliberate infliction of brain damage on marmosets in an effort to mimic human diseases. We also investigated the use of primates in toxicity testing at Covance in 2003, an international contract testing laboratory, in Germany. Both investigations received widespread international media and political attention, including in-depth coverage on the BBC flagship political programme, Newsnight.

BUAV subsequently took the UK Government to the High Court in a landmark legal challenge concerning the way in which the Home Office regulates animal experiments.

The Results

To this day, the BUAV's high profile and professional investigations, many of which are months if not years in the making, continue to be one of the most effective weapons the anti-vivisection movement has against animal experiments.

Over the years, the BUAV has been a major force in taking on animal dealers, laboratories and governments striking at the very heart of the animal research industry. We have captured on film images never before placed in the public domain, and exposed cruelty, malpractice, breaches and irregularities in legislation, and the inadequate implementation of legislation. Above all we have exposed the grim reality of life and death for animals in the research industry.