Animals Poisoned, Crushed, and Starved to Death: Home Office Reveals the State of UK Laboratories

Posted by on November 10, 2022 | Permalink

The list you are about to read may seem like an extract from a horror book, but this is the reality for thousands of animals in UK laboratories. The new 92-page annual report by the Home Office’s regulator of animal experiments reveals how monkeys, dogs, mice, fish, and other animals were suffocated, crushed, boiled alive, or left to starve or died due to other failures in laboratories or the incompetence of the people charged with looking after them.

These horrific 92 pages provide further proof that no regulations can prevent animals from being tormented in laboratories.

In 87 cases, experimenters neglected to provide animals with food or water, leading to nearly 300 mice, rats, fish, primates, and other animals suffering or even dying of starvation or dehydration. Here are just 10 examples of incidents that happened in UK laboratories in 2019 to 2021. Each one raises issues of flagrant incompetence, poor standards of care, and a blatant disregard for life:

  1. Experimenters mistakenly moved boxes containing 112 rats to a rubbish compactor where they were crushed. This occurred as a result of individual error, despite the establishment’s robust systems and process. PETA exposed this case after hearing from a whistleblower.
  2. A primate was able to crawl behind restraint equipment in their enclosure where they became trapped and died. It took experimenters several days to notice the animal’s absence.
  3. Experimenters removed the mother instead of the male occupant from a cage of newborn pups, resulting in the death of the eight pups.
  4. Two rats were killed from a head restraint being applied too hard while a blood sample was taken.
  5. The failure to confirm that animals were dead following an attempt to kill them humanely resulted in animals being left alive after the initial killing step. In addition, animals were killed and dissected in the presence of live animals.
  6. An isolator alarm and fan were switched off in error, resulting in the death of 16 rats from suffocation.
  7. Four dogs were administered a substance that was not authorised for testing, while 60 rats died after being overdosed with a substance.
  8. Experimenters operated on the incorrect leg bone of a sheep, leaving the animal to suffer from a fracture, while another experimenter performed the surgical removal of a kidney on a rat without adequate pain relief.
  9. A total of 1,300 fish were poisoned to death when a chlorine tablet was accidentally added into the reservoir tank. In two similar cases, experimenters left the system drain taps open, leading to unobserved drainage of a tank and causing 740 fish to suffocate to death.
  10. A personal licence holder decapitated three mice without authority. A further three mice were accidently put through a cage-washing machine, meaning they were scalded to death.

The Punishment for Killing Living, Feeling Beings? An Angry Letter

The report gives details about the types of action taken against establishments and experimenters. For example, if the breach is thought to be minor, the inspector will give advice. In more serious cases, a compliance letter is sent out.

Imagine your kidney being removed without painkillers, being left to suffocate to death alongside hundreds of your cagemates, or being administered an overdose or poison. All the victims were sentient beings who felt pain and fear just like humans do, however, in most cases, those responsible for this immense suffering and death were just reprimanded via a letter.

The qualities that make these gentle, eager-to-please beagles great companions also make them animal experimenters’ preferred victims.PETA US

Animals Do Not Want to Be Experimented On

Animals do not deserve to suffer behind the closed doors of laboratories in the hands of people who treat them as test tubes with whiskers, paws, or fins.

They don’t want to be drugged, gassed, discarded, or cut up for “science”. Their overwhelming natural instincts are to be free and to protect their own lives.

Animal-Free Science Is the Way Forward

Instead of wasting millions of pounds on tests that produce dubious results, we must shift to advanced animal-free research that is actually relevant to humans.

PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal provides a detailed strategy for ending experiments on animals and replacing them with humane and human-relevant alternatives, including treatments that use patient-derived and donated stem cells, human genome information, advanced computer modelling, and human organs–on-a-chip.

Take a Stand Against All Experiments on Animals

Urge the government to move away from archaic tests and embrace science relevant to the 21st century. Sign our petition to support PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal: