July 27, 2007, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Primate experimentation

Judicial Review shines light on Government negligence over animal
‘protection’ laws

The Government will be forced to answer allegations that it ignores its
legal duty to ensure animal suffering is kept to a minimum in UK labs,
in a case to be heard by the High Court this week (Tues 24^th – 26th July)

A High Court Judge will consider extensive evidence that the Government
turns a blind eye to substantial suffering of animals in Home Office
licensed experiments, and therefore misleads the public in its
assurances that regulation of animal research UK is ‘strict’ and that
‘animals don’t suffer.’

The Judicial Review is based on extensive video and documentary evidence
collected by the BUAV during a ten month undercover investigation of a
Cambridge University neuroscience primate lab during 2000/2001.

The investigation revealed that marmoset monkeys were left unattended
for 15 hours or more after undergoing highly invasive brain surgery –
sometimes with either no painkiller or just one dose of calpol to
relieve the pain.

The BUAV is also questioning why the Home Office assigned a ‘moderate’
suffering banding to experiments which included highly invasive
procedures such as removing of the top of marmoset’s heads to induce
strokes. The guidelines state that any procedure which ‘/may lead to a
major departure from the animals’ usual state of health and of
well-being/’ must be categorised as ‘/substantial’/, and undergo far
stricter assessment to get licensed.

The BUAV was awarded a rare costs protection order by Mr Justice Bean
last year to enable it to bring this case in the public interest after
the Home Office projected its defence costs would amount to up to
£150,000 (see notes to editor).

‘These findings entirely undermine the credibility of the Government’s
defence of animal research in the UK – namely that it is strictly
regulated and that animals don’t really suffer,’ said BUAV chief
executive Michelle Thew.

‘This case demonstrates the Government rides roughshod over the public’s
trust in this matter. The Government refuses to be held to account on
this issue – it routinely rejects FOI requests about animal experiments
out of hand.

‘It is the sad fact that the public’s only real access to information
about the reality of animal experiments is via undercover investigations
by a not for profit organisation. Furthermore, it is entirely
unacceptable that a democratic government is not held to account on
activities funded by taxpayers – the vast majority of whom are opposed
to animal suffering in laboratories’ (/see notes to editor)./


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