July 30, 2007, 10:14 am
Filed under: Primate experimentation

Government ordered to be more truthful about severity of experiments it
licenses in UK.

The Government was today found guilty of turning a blind eye to
substantial suffering of animals in Home Office licensed experiments and
consequently misleading the public over the extent of animal suffering
in UK laboratories.

High Court Judge Mitting ruled that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully
in licensing invasive brain experiments on Marmosets at Cambridge
University as ‘/moderate’ /rather than /‘substantial’ /suffering/. /

His ruling that the Government unlawfully licenses experiments follows a
Judicial Review hearing at the High Court in London this week. It was
brought by the BUAV based on extensive video and documentary evidence it
collected during a ten month undercover investigation of a Cambridge
University neuroscience primate lab during 2000/2001.

The investigation revealed 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 therefore
undergo far stricter assessment to get licensed.

The Judgment should mean a greater number of licenses will not be
granted, as correctly categorised ‘/substantial’/ procedures will not
pass the key /cost /(to the animal): /benefit /(to research) test. It is
also likely to mean that the percentage of licences categorised as
‘/substantial’/ will be perhaps considerably higher, and therefore offer
the public a more accurate picture of the extent of animal suffering
that goes on in UK Government licensed experiments.

‘We have proven that the Government misleads the public and Parliament
about the severity of animal experiments licensed in the UK,’ said BUAV
chief executive Michelle Thew.

‘The government can no longer pretend it has the strictest regulation of
animal experiments in the world. This case demonstrates it has ridden
roughshod over the public’s trust in this matter.

‘Now we hope taxpayers – the vast majority of whom are opposed to animal
suffering in laboratories – will be given more accurate information
about the animal experiments they fund.’

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


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