Spread ‘peace and good will’ to all animals this festive season.
Posted 04 Dec 2023
Posted on the 28th May 2020
Today, the Home Office department that regulates animal experiments published its annual report for 2018. It contains outlines of chilling examples of neglect and incompetence.
The report describes 28 cases of ‘non-compliance’ with the law on animal experiments, or with conditions of licences to carry out ‘scientific procedures’ on animals. These cases actually represented 33 ‘separate incidents’ according to the Home Office. These included cases of unauthorised procedures, breeding more animals than authorised and failures to provide adequate food and water. In total, 100 animals either died, or were killed, as a result of these non-compliances.
Animal Aid has always been concerned about how animals suffer and die in laboratories. However, this concern is now heightened as we understand inspectors, due to COVID-19, are no longer routinely visiting laboratories to see how animals are being treated. We do not believe it is possible to monitor compliance remotely, which will lead to more suffering and neglect.
We know that animals suffer and die terrible deaths during experiments, but this suffering can be added to by instances of non-compliance. Opponents of animal experiments and those who voice their concern about how they are conducted are repeatedly assured that animal experiments are very highly regulated. However, this report, and those from earlier years, paint a picture of many defenceless animals being neglected and ignored with some of them paying with their lives – dying in terrible ways. Even the most basic provisions, of food and water, are denied to some animals.
Quite rightly, if a member of the public failed to feed or water an animal, leading to the animal’s death, this could lead to their prosecution. Shockingly, those in laboratories, neglecting animals in the same way, typically receive a ‘letter of admonition’, retraining or perhaps having a licence revoked.
In addition to being scientifically flawed, experiments on live animals are morally unjustifiable. The pain and distress which animals suffer in laboratories and the myriad ways in which they are intentionally harmed, are truly the stuff of nightmares. Animals are surgically mutilated, have cancer injected into their bodies or may be force-fed toxic chemicals or exposed to warfare agents. Pain, neglect, extreme suffering and death have no place in modern, cutting-edge science. Instead of outdated and cruel animal experiments, researchers and funding bodies should instead invest their time and money in humane, cutting-edge alternatives.
Says Jessamy Korotoga, Animal Aid Campaign Manager:
‘Once again, the “annual report” makes shocking and chilling reading. No-one could fail to be disturbed when they imagine how these animals have suffered and died. It is wholly unacceptable that, once again, there are numerous cases where the most basic needs of animals are not being met, leading to immense suffering and death. When this does happen, the penalties are, quite frankly, pathetic. It is also important to remember that these cases are only the ones we know about – how many others are going undetected, especially at the moment when inspectors are not routinely visiting animal laboratories?’