How many times have we heard that a job is impossible? That's exactly what we thought when we heard about diving experiments being carried out for the navy by QinetiQ at the Centre for Human Sciences. Experience however has taught us that where there is a will, there's a way.
Every year dozens of goats are killed in decompression and recompression experiments. They are put into hyperbaric chambers and the pressure is increased or decreased to extreme levels. The animals are used over and over until the ordeal becomes too much and they die.
We had a tight time-scale, as reconnaissance had revealed this to be a busy area, surrounded by military bases. The difficult decision had been taken to only bring in one removal van, as loading any more in this area was going to bring it on top. Once dusk had settled we went to work, cutting through the perimeter fence of the ex-MOD base. Within minutes we had gained access to the goat enclosure and began rounding up the smaller animals.
As soon as everyone had a goat, and the lookouts had given the all-clear, we set off across the adjacent golf course, over a small fence nearby and jogged over open heath to the van. The van door slammed shut and as it disappeared on the road to freedom, we made our way along the beach to our vehicle.
The nine beautiful young goats all made it safely to their new homes, where they can live out the rest of their natural lives free from a crushing death in the hyperbaric chamber.
QinetiQ say that the tests are vital to help with submarine disasters, and other deep water emergencies. An example they give is of the Kursk, a Russian submarine which tragically sunk in 2001. QinetiQ claim that they gave
'useful' advice to the Russians. Despite the advice, all 118 people on board the Kursk died. The effects of compression and decompression are well known and documented.
Ascending from deep sea too rapidly causes decompression sickness (or the "bends") which can be fatal. The experiments being carried out by QinetiQ are sickening repeats, which have been going on for decades. As the French navy now use computer simulations and human trials it is high time the British MOD came out of the dark ages and began using ethical and reliable science. We call on QinetiQ to halt these experiments and hand all surviving animals over to suitable animal protection groups.
This action was carried out in memory of
July 28, 2006
Cruelty campaigners grab research goats
Animal rights activists have broken into a military research centre and taken a group of goats.
Members of the Animal Liberation Front struck after dark, cutting through wire fences and bundling the goats into the back of a van.
Nine protesters each grabbed a small goat and made off across a golf course to a waiting van.
The group said it decided to take action after learning that the animals are used for decompression tests by QinetiQ, which runs the Centre for Human Sciences in Fort Road, Gosport.
The goats were part of a herd of about 50 kept by the company, an MoD contractor, in a fenced enclosure next to the Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Club.
Police are now investigating the break-in by the ALF, which has a history of action against animal testing facilities and those connected with them.
A statement from the ALF members involved said: 'We had a tight time-scale as reconnaissance had revealed this to be a busy area, surrounded by military bases.
'The difficult decision had been taken to only bring in one removal van.
'The nine beautiful young goats all made it safely to their new homes, where they can live out the rest of their natural lives free from a crushing death in the hyperbaric chamber.'
The chamber is used for marine research. It simulates the decompression divers go through at varying depths and can result in the goats suffering from the bends, the effects of which include joint pain, visual disturbances, loss of balance, breathing difficulties, paralysis and death.
A spokeswoman for QinetiQ said the tests it carries out are under strict guidelines from the Home Office and can only be done on animals. If there was another way of doing these tests, the company says, it would not be allowed to use the animals.
She said: 'A small part of our business is dedicated to saving submariners' lives and ultimately that enables them to escape from submarines at depth.
'Our submariners are the best prepared in the world for deep sea escape.''