(ANIMAL TESTING/ANIMAL CRUELTY) The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) recently released footage revealing horrifying experimentation on puppies and kittens at a UK lab. The eight month undercover investigation at MSD Animal Health revealed animals as young as four weeks being used for vaccine research.
During the eight months, a shocking total of 92 beagle puppies, 10 adult nursing female beagles, at least 15 kittens, and an unknown number of rabbits, calves, and chickens were killed at the research facility.
Read the full article below for more details on the investigation and sign the petition requesting MSD Animal Health stop the testing and killing of puppies, kittens, and other young animals. — Global Animal
Express, Ted Jeory
Horrific photographs and video footage showing puppies panicking as they are injected with needles before being dissected have been taken by a brave undercover investigator who worked at the centre for eight months until December last year.
The employee, an animal science university graduate, who wants to be known onlyas Susie, was also working with the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) throughout that time.
The BUAV believes it is in the public interest to highlight the scenes because they add transparency to the public debate about animal testing.
The centre, which is in Cambridgeshire, is owned by US pharmaceutical giant Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD).
MSD states strongly it does not break any laws and adheres to all regulations. However, BUAV believes its evidence shows the animals’ suffering is not being sufficiently minimised and has asked for an independent inquiry to be carried out at the centre.
Home Office Minister Norman Baker has now revealed his department carried out “a number” of unannounced inspections at the centre in the past year and he is now demanding a full report into their conclusions.
Susie filmed playful young animals yelping and panicking after staff took them from their litters to inject large needles into their tiny veins. Their healthy mothers are also killed, almost always without any apparent attempt to find them loving homes.
The centre also uses kittens, and young rabbits, chickens and calves. The animals are used in tests for veterinary vaccines for diseases such as kennel cough, parvovirus and feline calicivirus. MSD says it is obliged by law to test the drugs on the young creatures.
However, BUAV is convinced there are alternative approaches, for example making more use of cell bacteria analysis, and that its findings will trigger a public outcry.
Susie witnessed scenes she never again wants to see.
View the shocking video footage here: http://youtu.be/Md69-iY84f0 (Warning: Disturbing Content)
She managed to save two adult dogs who were due to be killed, Bonnie and Billie, and a five-month-old puppy, Oliver.
During her employment only two other puppies were re-homed and the BUAV believes MSD should make more efforts in this area.Susie said while her former colleagues were not gratuitously cruel, she felt they had become desensitised to the gruesome nature of their jobs.
While she was there, she documented 92 beagle puppies, 10 adult nursing female beagles, at least 15 kittens and an unknown number of rabbits, calves and chickens being killed.
In some cases, the puppies were little more than four weeks old and still suckling when taken from their mothers. Animal welfare experts at the Kennel Club recommend puppies are separated from their mothers only when they are at least eight weeks old.
The pregnant mothers were brought to the centre from breeding farms in the UK and overseas.
The film shows the mothers being protective of their young as she feeds them, and the puppies running around playing with each other. However, unlike household pets, they do not experience the outdoors because MSD says it is a legally obliged to “confine” them to avoid contamination issues.
Susie would often feel nauseous when she saw the animals harmed but she was afraid she would faint and reveal her undercover camera.
She filmed the technicians holding the frightened puppies as they tried to wriggle away from the syringes. In one scene on October 15 last year, three puppies are given lethal injections.
After the second one is killed, the third senses the danger, and cries out loudly and whimpers as the laboratory staff tried to inject the lethal fluid into his small paw.
As the pup struggles and screams, a worker says: “Good boy. I know you are being very good. I think I am in, oh no, don’t do that.
“Don’t do that. Oh dear. What a fuss, what a fuss. Perhaps your leg was a bit sore from all those bleeds. Dear oh dear, that’s got you. Poor little soul.”
Referring to a puppy who was given a lethal injection, a worker says: “Put up a bit of a fight. Yeah. It is always a risk when they have been bled every day, they feel a bit sore and also sometimes if you have had several needles in, the vein will swell a bit so you haven’t got much of a drainpipe.”
In another scene, a lab technician working on a dead puppy says: “Right, I am now going to do something gruesome, what I am going to do now is just hold this poor little soul over this bin and tip all the tubey bits out. So when we are doing the head the guts aren’t falling everywhere.”
Susie said she had been psychologically affected by her experience but that exposing the conditions to the wider world would “make it all worthwhile”.
She told the Sunday Express: “I found it terrible because I knew there was nothing I could do to help them.”
She was allowed to take home puppy Oliver, who still lives with her, while Billie and Bonnie, who were traumatised, have since been re-homed elsewhere.
BUAV’s spokeswoman Sarah Kite said: “People across the country will be deeply upset to learn what is happening to puppies and kittens inside the secret world of animal research.
“It is unacceptable not only that these animals are suffering and dying in this way, but that many of them could have been released into loving homes instead of being killed and discarded for convenience sake.
“We do not believe that the company or the wider research community are doing enough to use alternative approaches to animal testing in the development of animal vaccines.”
Under the Animals Scientific Procedures Act, testing centres are required to minimise suffering and use alternative methods wherever possible. It also advocates an informed public debate on the issue.
Not a single project licence application was refused by the Home Office for tests on cats and dogs in 2012, according to a Freedom of Information request this month.
Latest Government figures show 3,214 dogs and 202 cats were used in tests in 2012, a significant increase on the previous 12 months.
After being told about the investigation at the MSD centre, Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “I take the treatment of animals very seriously. I am advised the site had been subject to a number of unannounced visits in the last year and I have asked for further enquiries to be made into the precise conclusions of these inspections.”
A spokesman for Merck said: “MSD Animal Health adheres to all regulatory standards of testing and development of vaccines and our standards for animal care meet or exceed applicable local, national and international laws and regulations.
“All MSD animal health research is performed by qualified, trained personnel. Our facilities are in full compliance with all laws and regulations, and procedures and facilities are regularly reviewed and inspected by relevant regulatory authorities.
“We are dedicated to the ethical treatment of all animals used in development of medicines and vaccines. “Measures are taken to assure that the fewest numbers of animals are used and that any discomfort is minimised.
“Whenever possible, MSD Animal Health makes significant efforts to find homes for the animals.”