Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Lab monkeys 'scream with fear' in tests

how about opening that door?

Secret documents describing how some monkeys can scream in misery, fear and anger during experiments were produced in the high court yesterday as evidence that the laws intended to protect laboratory animals are being flouted.

Excerpts from Cambridge University internal papers - one of several sites where primate research is carried out - give laboratory technicians and scientists advice on how to deal with problems during and after experiments. Presented in court by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), they describe occasions when primates are "screaming, trying to get out of the box, defecating", and state: "This is an angry animal."

Scientists and technicians are advised in the documents to "punish" the bad habits of the monkeys, stating that these bad habits include the normal self-grooming.

Richard Drabble QC, for the BUAV, told the high court yesterday that the documents contradict the general public perception that animals are well cared for and protected under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Making an application for judicial review of the legality of lab practices, he also alleged that brain-damaged monkeys at Cambridge were not provided with the 24-hour veterinary care which the government's own guidance states is necessary.

Story here.

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