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PETA Demands Government Investigation Into Cardiff Kitten Experiments

For Immediate Release:
1 August 2012

Contact:
Ben Williamson +44(0)7525411733; BenW@peta.org.uk

London – PETA has sent an urgent letter to the Parliamentary under secretary for equalities and criminal information, Lynne Featherstone MP, at the Home Office asking her to investigate the approval given by officials in her department for experiments at Cardiff University in which kittens had their eyelids sewn shut and were later killed. PETA argues that since the experiments were redundant and not applicable to people and since more useful information could have been obtained without the use of animals – through brain imaging and analysis of human post-mortem tissue, among other methods – the experiments may have been illegal under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Thirty-one kittens (and their mothers in some cases) were used in the research, which took place in 2010 but has only recently come to light. Kittens were raised in total darkness for up to three months in the experiment, while others had one eyelid sewn shut after a month of life. Others were reared in the laboratory in "normal" conditions for up to a year. All were subjected to brain surgery and killed at the end of the experiments, which were supported by a Medical Research Council grant, paid for by taxpayers. The results of the experiments were published in the European Journal of Neuroscience in 2012, but the paper makes no reference to the treatment of human conditions, and the experiments have no direct application to the study of human-eye diseases.

"We urge the Home Office to review the entire approval process for this cruel experiment", says PETA President Ingrid E Newkirk. "The public is profoundly and rightly troubled that such experiments could ever have been approved in the UK. Our law is permissive and weakly enforced. The system itself is under scrutiny, and British taxpayers deserve answers."

PETA's letter is available here http://blog.peta.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/PETA-UK-letter-to-Lynne-Featherstone-MP1.pdf For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.

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