Animal Aid

Animal Aid to take action against cruel Cambridge experiments

Posted 4 March 2014

Animal Aid will be joined by Cambridge activists this Thursday (March 6) as it steps up the pressure against cruel animal experiments performed at the city’s university. The day of peaceful protest will feature Animal Aid’s ‘battle bus’ and follows the recent discovery of a particularly disturbing experiment that involved the surgical mutilation of heavily pregnant sheep and the partial suffocation of their unborn lambs. The ‘procedure’ was supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

When and where

  • Thursday 6th March, 11 am, junction between Downing Street and Corn Exchange Street (postcode CB2 3DT)

Just weeks after the experiment on pregnant sheep was uncovered, an official Home Office document obtained by Animal Aid revealed that it was part of a vast research programme scheduled to use up to 4,805 pregnant animals: 3,750 rats and mice, 850 sheep, 125 pigs and 80 ponies. The thousands of pregnant animals were to provide ‘the majority of the offspring’, who would also be used in the research, and whose numbers could reach up to 7,900 (500 sheep, 300 pigs, 100 horses, 3,500 rats and 3,500 mice).

In another disturbing development, Animal Aid has uncovered at least three more experiments on pregnant sheep, each of which was approved by Cambridge University’s ethics committee, as well as receiving grant support from the BHF. Like the experiment that Animal Aid first brought to light, the three experiments involved subjecting ewes and their unborn lambs to invasive surgery in order to insert recording devices. Two of the experiments also saw the unborn lambs deprived of oxygen, either through repeated compression of the umbilical cord, or by using ‘well-established’ protocols. According to a reference given in the published scientific paper, this called for a polythene bag to be placed over the ewes’ heads and involved forcing them to inhale a gas with a low oxygen concentration.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

‘Many of the BHF’s supporters would no doubt be horrified to learn that their kind donations could have been used to support such cruel experiments. Indeed, 82 per cent of people polled by NOP have said they would not donate to medical charities that fund animal experiments. We are urging the BHF to ensure that no further funding is given to research of this kind, whether through money to support the laboratory or given to members of the research team.

‘As a world-class research institution, it is difficult to understand why Cambridge is allowing these grotesque and futile experiments to be performed within its walls. Instead, the university should focus solely on productive non-animal research, which – unlike animal experiments – can produce results that are directly relevant to people.’

Notes to Editors

  • The ‘battle bus’ is a converted ambulance that enables posters, banners and videos to be displayed. Artwork for the battle bus is available on request.
  • For more details about the experiments, please visit our Victims of Charity microsite.
  • Copies of the scientific papers mentioned are available on request.
  • For more information or to arrange an interview with Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler, please call 01732 364546.

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