GOVERNMENT POISED TO ALLOW PUPPIES AND KITTENS TO BE
CLUBBED TO DEATH IN BRITISH LABORATORIES
Choosing to lower welfare
standards to new EU Directive level
Uncaged has discovered that the
Government intends to adopt new EU rules that would allow newborn puppies,
kittens, ferrets and fox cubs to be killed by a blow to the head. The
statement is buried in a lengthy Home Office Consultation Document setting
out how it intends to implement a new EU law on animal testing
The plans can be found on page 4 of an Appendix
discussing proposed 'Methods of Killing' . It
supports the introduction of 'Concussion/percussive blow to the head' as a
method of killing 'neonate' dogs, cats, ferrets and foxes - newborn animals
up to a few weeks old.
In some countries, this method is occasionally
used to euthanase farm animals. However, one veterinary handbook
"Percussive blow to the head may not
always result in death in small piglets and lambs. Restraint of the animal
is necessary and may be stressful. Operator fatigue may lead to inefficient
application and result in poor welfare to the animal. The method is
physically exhausting for personnel."
Another veterinary textbook
 describes this method of killing as "Manual Blunt
Force Trauma", observing:
"Common acceptable tools used for manual blunt
force include ball peen hammers, steel rods, wooden clubs and pipes...
Consistency of delivery is a challenge, therefore manual blunt force trauma
is questionable in terms of reliability and effectiveness... One of the big
problems with blunt force trauma is that caring stockpeople who are good at
taking care of infant animals often do not want to use this method."
Despite these warnings, Home Office officials comment that this method is:
'Likely to be humane'. This suggests a disturbing lack of regard for animal
welfare on the part of the Government.
Many animal handlers in
laboratories refuse to kill animals because they fear it will desensitise
them . If the traditional methods of killing, such
as injection or gassing, are that disturbing, then this raises fears about
the kind of callous mentality that will be fostered in people who destroy
young animals in such violent fashion.
By proposing to allow this killing
method, the Government is demonstrating that it is willing to ditch existing
higher welfare standards in the UK.
Dr Dan Lyons, Uncaged Campaigns
"The barbaric methods of the Canadian seal hunt are
poised to arrive in British labs and breeding establishments. The only thing
the Government appears to care about is any 'poor public perception', with
no real concern whatsoever for the animals themselves."
General lack of
regard for animal welfare and democracy
The Home Office consultation
exercise on how it will 'transpose' the new EU Directive on animal
experiments  into UK legislation will set the scene
for animal experiments for a generation. Currently approximately 3.5 million
animals are used in experiments likely to cause 'pain, suffering, distress
or lasting harm' in the UK every year.
However, there is no reference to
reducing animal experiments or reducing suffering as Home Office
'Transposition Objectives' in the consultation document (Paragraph 26).
Also, there is no reference to respecting 'the ethical concerns of the
public' as stipulated by the new Directive (Recital 12). Similarly, the Home
Office has not considered the impact on animal welfare in its Impact
Assessment . Therefore, disregard for animal welfare
is built into the very foundations of the Home Office strategy.
Office intends to use the European Communities Act to impose new legislation
area without proper parliamentary scrutiny. Uncaged believes that because
this is an issue with enormous animal welfare, scientific and public
interest implications, any new laws should be introduced as primary
legislation to ensure full democratic accountability.
Many of the
provisions in the EU law are weaker than existing UK measures and there is
widespread concern that, under pressure from industry, the Government is
determined to take this chance to lower many UK standards to the EU level.
The Home Office Consultation document contains a vague reference to
retaining some stronger UK measures, but analysis of the document reveals
that these are relatively scarce.
These are some of the worst threats to
animal welfare from the Home Office's preferred options as outlined in the
Could open door to more experiments on cats, dogs
Permitting painful killing methods not currently allowed, such
as decapitation of adult birds or smashing the heads of newborn puppies' and
Trying to ensure that no current animal experiments are
prevented under new laws
Considering lowering competence standards of
Intends that it will no longer be compulsory for researchers
to inform Inspectors if they break regulations
Proposing even less
independent assessment of experimental proposals
Allowing millions of
poisoning tests on animals and the breeding of GM animals without proper
assessment or accountability
Proposing to maintain excessive secrecy
Proposing to weaken current UK restrictions on the repeated use of an animal
in experiments, which could lead to more prolonged, distressing ordeals for
Considering allowing even smaller cages for animals
Contemplating the decimation of the Inspectorate with some labs only visited
every five years
Weakening the powers of ethical review bodies and
national advisory committee
Exercise formally closes on 5 September. In the following months the
Home Office will consider submissions.
What you can do
produced a template consultation response for you, which can be
downloaded here - the suggested answers are in green. It focuses on what
we see as the most critical questions. You need to fill in the relevant
details at the very start, and then edit it if you wish/as you see fit.
Please send it to:
Animals Scientific Procedures Division
4th Floor, South-West
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
Please send a copy of
this briefing to your MP as well to alert them to this looming danger -
get their contact details from
Please send an urgent donation to
support this crucial campaign, cheques or postal order payable to �Uncaged
For further information, including links to the text
of the new Directive, visit the Home Office Consultation
REMEMBER DEADLINE FOR THIS STAGE OF THIS BATTLE IS 5
Daily Mail Article 03.09.2011
http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/45ax1.pdf , p194.