Standard of UK Laboratories Hits Rock Bottom

Posted by on April 25, 2024 | Permalink

The standard of care and quality of life of animals in laboratories has hit rock bottom. Animals in UK laboratories are treated as mere test tubes – a piece of equipment to be handled carelessly and thrown away at the end of the day. The new Animals in Science Regulation Unit annual report from the Home Office reveals how perpetrators were given but a slap on the wrist for horrific non-compliance and incompetence in UK laboratories in 2022. From euthanising the wrong animals to contaminating fish’s water, the animals’ suffering is compounded by careless experimenters.

In the last five years, reports of non-compliance have almost doubled. In 2022, experimenters caused 16,062 animals to suffer unnecessarily due to their incompetence, but some incidents go unreported, meaning the number of living, feeling beings affected would have been much higher. Among the victims were mice, fish, chickens, rats, frogs, primates, hamsters, guinea pigs, sheep, cows, dogs, ferrets, and a horse, a pig, and a rabbit.

The following are 10 examples of ineptitude, poor care, and a blatant disregard for life:

  • Thousands of mice were not given pain relief before or after they were experimented on – meaning they could feel every single moment of pain.
  • Many mice died from flooded cages and rats suffocated from lack of ventilation after experimenters failed to provide animals with adequate care. Animals were also exposed to continuous light – imagine trying to sleep at 3 am with bright fluorescent lights glaring over you.
  • Once again, as seen in many other reports, primates and other animals were deprived of food or water. Some were forgotten by experimenters and left for up to six days, resulting in death by starvation or dehydration.
  • Experimenters forced mice to lose weight and live with painful tumours for longer than what is considered “humane” in violation of rules put in place to reduce the level of suffering an animal is subjected to.
  • Many animals were misidentified, leading to the wrong primates being sedated or having their blood taken.
  • Seven guinea pigs were injected in the brain, without permission from the Home Office.
  • Fish tanks overflowed due to blockages, causing fish to be carried out by the flow of water and suffocate on the floor. Other fish died from contaminated water, poor water quality, raised water temperature, equipment failure, or becoming trapped in equipment.
  • Carelessness led to rats being injured or dying after they were dropped on the floor.
  • Killing methods were not performed promptly or competently, causing rats to suffer more than the Home Office considers necessary.
  • The report mysteriously records that an animal “was found with [a] missing limb, which had not been previously detected”. This ambiguous case raises alarm bells – how did this happen? Questions go unanswered with incompetent experimenters.

Careless Experimenters Remain Unpunished

Most of the people responsible for these atrocities were merely reprimanded in a letter from the Home Office – a slap on the wrist for murdering animals. Not a single perpetrator had their licence suspended.

This injustice is speciesism – if a doctor were to accidentally inject chemicals into the wrong patient, they’d be fired.

Animals Don’t Want to Live in a Laboratory

Speciesism means that some animals receive love in a cosy home while others are electrocuted in a cold laboratory. Yet all animals – whether they’re a cat, dog, fish, mouse, chicken, or any other species – are living, feeling beings who experience a range of emotions, from pain to joy and loneliness to fear.

Just like humans, they don’t want to be drugged, gassed, or cut up in cruel experiments. Yet humans treat them as test tubes with whiskers, paws, or fins.

Image shows monkey at WNPRC

Animal-Free Science Is the Future

Humans and other animals are biologically, metabolically, and physically different. Testing on other species is not only cruel but also bad science that can hold us back from making scientific breakthroughs.

The world’s forward-thinking scientists are developing and using non-animal methods of studying diseases and testing products that are actually relevant to human health.

These modern methods include sophisticated tests using human cells and tissues (also known as in vitro methods), advanced computer-modelling techniques (often referred to as in silico models), and studies with human volunteers. These and other non-animal methods are not hindered by species differences that make it difficult – if not impossible – to apply the results to humans, and they usually take less time and money to complete.

Help End Experiments on Animals

Urge the government to implement PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal, which provides a roadmap to ending all experiments on animals. Sign PETA’s petition now: