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MEETING WITH THE ANIMAL HEALTH TRUST
Posted 1 September 2003
A PRESS STATEMENT FROM ANDREW TYLER, DIRECTOR OF ANIMAL AID, FOLLOWING A MEETING ON THURSDAY AUGUST 28 AT THE ANIMAL HEALTH TRUST. ANIMAL AID SCIENCE CONSULTANT, KATHY ARCHIBALD, ALSO REPRESENTED THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN GROUP AT THE MEETING.
Animal Aid had a useful meeting with the Animal Health Trust (AHT) during which a number of key issues were aired and clarified, and an ongoing dialogue was initiated. A major disappointment is that we received no commitment from the Trust that it intends to end invasive, painful experiments on horses, or even that the number conducted will be reduced.
One of the issues raised was an over-enthusiastic defence of the the AHT by the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH). In a letter sent to people who had expressed their concern about the Trust's horse experiments, the ILPH claimed, incorrectly, that the AHT does not conduct experimental surgery or invasive procedures on horses.
Animal Aid recognises, as it always has done, the value of the AHT's clinical work for companion animals. And we are happy to reiterate that point following our visit to the small animal clinical facilities. We also commend its in vitro and other non-invasive research.
The two groups, however, differ in fundamental philosophy: Animal Aid will never agree with the AHT's belief that animal experimentation can be justified in the supposed interests of "the greater good". We believe it is morally wrong to inflict suffering on any animal in an attempt to benefit others.
It was encouraging to learn that the AHT is uncomfortable with the use of unprotected 'control' horses in their infection and vaccine research experiments and is working to eliminate their use. It no longer uses 'control' ponies in its influenza vaccine studies and Animal Aid urges the Trust to press the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to accept similar data (without live controls) for all its other vaccine work.
Animal Aid notes that two lethal experiments to which we recently drew attention were not actually carried out at the AHT. Rather, the Trust made use of the the tissue obtained from the killed animals. We sincerely hope that the AHT will cease collaborations with institutions conducting lethal experiments on horses and that it will, itself, conduct no more lethal research.