Animal Aid


Posted 9 July 1998

Animal Aid's Mad Science Awards (AAMSA) - handed out each year for pointless and grotesque scientific research - will next month be presented to government scientists using animals for weapons testing.

The five teams, all working from the Ministry of Defence establishment at Porton Down, Salisbury, have described in science publications how they variously infected with deadly virus, blasted, gassed and shot a range of species.

They revealed how their victims suffered symptoms including severe blistering, lung damage, respiratory distress and paralysis.

Several of the experiments were conducted on pigs. Rats and baby mice were also used, the latter injected directly into their brains with a lethal virus.

Porton Down used 11,221 animals in 1996, a total that has more than doubled since 1992. Six of the Home Office licences the establishment holds are for the 'substantial' category - allowing researchers to inflict the greatest level of pain legally allowed.

As well as the thousands of animals consumed in experiments, an even greater number go from the breeding units straight to incinerators - destroyed as 'surplus'. Between 1990 and 1997, around 30,000 mice and 45,000 rats met this fate, according to a recent Parliamentary answer.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

"Because of obsessional government secrecy, we are able to reveal only a few fragments of the horror story that is Porton Down. These experiments are an obscenity. Equally, they yield no benefit to human beings, given the considerable physical differences between ourselves and the animals used."

Notes to Editors

  • More information from Andrew Tyler or Becky Smith on 01732 364 546, or Mark Gold 01404 831 763. After hours: 0421 326 329.
  • Award winners each receive a diploma featuring the special AAMSA motif of a laboratory beagle stabbed with a scalpel.

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