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Stop animal research at Imperial College London

April 17, 2013

Warning: Contains Graphic Footage

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Please click and sign petition HERE

Background | Source BUAV

New BUAV investigation uncovers appalling animal suffering and wrongdoing at leading UK University

The BUAV has released harrowing footage following an investigation at Imperial College London that sheds new light on the reality of animal experiments in the UK. A BUAV investigator worked for seven months at Imperial College, ranked as one of the best universities in the world, and documented a catalogue of shortcomings and wrongdoing by staff and researchers that caused even more distress and suffering to the animals in its care than was allowed in the experiments. Findings included: breaches in and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences; a failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and pain relief; incompetence and neglect and highly disturbing methods used to kill animals.

The findings from the investigation appeared in the UK Sunday Times on 14th April:

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 huge secrecy and a lack of transparency surrounds animal research. This BUAV investigation, like many others before, has shown the true reality of animal welfare standards at Imperial with breaches of the regulatory regime and inappropriate licensing and enforcement by the Home Office.

Key concerns raised by the BUAV investigation include:

• Underestimation of the degree of suffering in project licences. Experimental protocols were given a ‘moderate’ limit even when it was foreseen that animals would die and the anticipated adverse effects clearly called for a ‘substantial’ classification of the research. One research project involved kidney transplantation, a major procedure by any standard. Some rats had both their kidneys removed via abdominal surgery and were left with just one (transplanted) kidney.

• Poor monitoring of animals resulting in suffering and breaches of humane endpoints (the point at which further suffering must not take place). In one case, where mice were found to be in a distressed state on a Monday morning, a senior technician stated: ‘I am so disgusted. Those poor mice’ and ‘If the Home Office was in we would have been screwed if they saw those mice.’

• Researchers lacking knowledge of the severity limits of their project licences, and the humane endpoints they were supposed to apply. When asked about the severity limits on their licences, many researchers did not know. One said: ‘So do I get to call a friend?’. Not knowing the severity levels and endpoints could result in animals being subjected to even more pain and suffering than permitted.

• Poor application of the methods used for killing animals, leading to unnecessary suffering, and the controversial use of a guillotine to carry out live decapitation.

• Poor surgical and other procedures resulting in animal deaths and suffering. One researcher, for example, raised concerns about the competence of a colleague: ‘I think you should keep an eye on XXX because he makes many mistakes.’

• Unsupervised researchers, with little experience, anaesthetising and carrying out surgery on animals. One researcher anaesthetising a rat to re-staple a surgery wound admitted: ‘I’ve never done this before.’ and ‘I only came down here for the first time yesterday so I haven’t even seen these rats before.’

• Failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and analgesics. There were several occasions when animals appeared to be inadequately anaesthetised, either as a consequence of inadequate monitoring, use of inappropriate anaesthesia, or deliberately – due to fears about losses of animals during surgery. One researcher who did not want to wait for hours for a rat to recover from anaesthesia on a Friday afternoon stated: ‘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.’

Pop music was played at high levels throughout the facility, adding to animals’ distress. The music was even played during surgery itself, while animals were recovering, and during killing.

The BUAV is urging the UK Government to:

Revoke the Establishment Licence of Imperial College London;

Set up an inquiry, wholly independent of the Home Office, into the concerns we raise.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive, BUAV stated: “Despite claims made by the Government and research industry that the UK has the best system of regulation in the world, this shocking BUAV investigation shows that the reality for animals is very different. Standards at this leading UK University were poor with breaches of the regulatory regime and inappropriate licensing and enforcement by the Home Office. This investigation raises significant and far reaching questions about animal research in the UK. A full independent inquiry must be carried out as a matter of urgency. The public will expect no less.”

Investigation film:

(warning: the film contains footage of animal suffering that you may find upsetting)


Please sign and share our petition calling on the Home Office:


why we ask do you hurt us so,
what is it you think that you
are going to know.
how can you see us day
after day,
and still mistreat us in
so cavalier a way.
you humans feign superiority,
but you behaviors reek
of inferiority!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

6 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    April 17, 2013 1:14 pm


    why we ask do you hurt us so,
    what is it you think that you
    are going to know.
    how can you see us day
    after day,
    and still mistreat us in
    so cavalier a way.
    you humans feign superiority,
    but you behaviors reek
    of inferiority!


  2. April 17, 2013 1:15 pm

    signed petition and shared in several places thanks Stacey im rabidly against animal testing!! Great poem Karen


  3. April 17, 2013 2:11 pm

    This is so EGREGIOUS and these people should be punished!!! What the F*! is wrong with humans??????? ARGH!!!!


  4. Ellen Gaston permalink
    April 18, 2013 3:48 pm

    Just a boondoggle for grant money. Sick and corrupt.


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