Baby animals used to grow pathogens at secret government laboratory

Posted on the 2nd July 2019

Animal Aid has discovered further terrible ways in which animals are made to suffer at Porton Down, the secret government laboratory.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, we obtained the minutes of internal meetings which contained summaries of some of the experiments being conducted there. They have shown how:

  • Baby animals are used for ‘Pathogenic propagation’– to grow pathogens to be used in the experiments. New-born animals are chosen because they ‘have no immune system to fight disease and thus allows [sic] the agent to propagate’. (A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.)
  • Once these are grown in baby animals, the pathogens were used in experiments on other animals where terrible symptoms are expected. Some of the signs researchers ‘expect to see’ include: congestion in animals’ eyes, abscesses, neurological issues and problems with balance.
  • A report concerning the breeding colony of monkeys at the establishment explains that one female was ‘unsuccessful at carrying pregnancies to full term and was euthanised’.
  • A review of a completed project describes how animals were force-fed ricin ‘directly into the stomach’. (Ricin is the chemical which was used to kill Georgi Markov, with an umbrella, near Waterloo Bridge in 1978.)
  • The conditions for the animals, quite apart from the torment of the procedures themselves, appear to be woefully inappropriate. The minutes state ‘To try and reduce stress within the breeding rooms all animals have been placed down one side of the room, so they no longer have visual sight of other animals’. It has been known for decades that being unable to escape the gaze of other primates can be extremely stressful for these animals.
  • Additional stress for the animals was also caused by noisy refurbishment work. The minutes explain that: ‘the animals found the noise levels stressful resulting in a couple of caesarean sections and fighting’.

Animal Aid is calling for an immediate ban on all warfare experiments on animals. Says Jessamy Korotoga, Campaign Manager:

‘Animal experiments do not generate data which can be reliably translated to humans, so they are scientifically flawed. Adding to this the immoral act of exposing animals to compounds and weapons which have been specifically designed to harm and kill humans, warfare experiments are clearly indefensible. Animal Aid, its supporters and many parliamentarians want to see a ban on warfare experiments on animals immediately.’  

There is currently an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament which not only outlines the horrors of warfare experiments on animals, but also calls for a ban on the practice.

Contact your MP today to ask them to sign EDM 291

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