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Wickham Labs on Trial
In a case that will expose the lies of government claims on
vivisection the key defendant in a conspiracy trial at Portsmouth Crown Court
beginning on Tuesday March 29 will admit he entered the animal testing facility
of Wickham Research Laboratories specifically to recover secret files detailing
ongoing large scale animal testing of the widely used cosmetic treatment Botox.
This story is a scandal.
The raid took place in December 2003 in the Village of Wickham in Hampshire.
Over 700 mice being used in the ongoing toxicity tests were removed from the
commercial contract testing labs along with documents detailing the tests.
Wickham Laboratories use the notorious LD50 test described by many including
government officials and scientists as crude and unscientific. The LD50 involves
injecting a test substance into the stomachs of a group of animals and
monitoring their suffering until half are dead. The survivors are then killed.
The death of the remaining is equally as cruel. The animal may be held to the
table by the back of its head and with a yank of the tail have its neck broken,
others go by lethal injection. Most go into the Carbon Dioxide Chamber where
they writhe in agony until they are dead.
The New Labour Government made big its pledges to ban the use of the LD50 and
implement available safe reliable scientific alternatives while at the same time
praising itself for teasing a voluntary ban on cosmetic tests from the industry.
These well publicised achievements gave a semblance of credibility to a
Government on the defensive over its lack of promised action on vivisection at a
time when Barry Horne was himself slowly dying in prison in protest at the
Government inaction and many others were demanding the same elsewhere. The
Government pre 'ban' described the LD50 test as a severe procedure' the worst
of all the tests, which would only be used in exceptional scientific
circumstances' post ban.
However, documents recovered reveal that Wickham killed in various ways well in
excess of 50,000 animals in just one of their labs in 2003 using the LD50
method. Up until the boom in the use of Botox as a cosmetic the number of
animals killed in LD50 test decreased dramatically, but tests increased
significantly in 2001 and again in 2002 and so on in line with the increased use
of the cosmetic injections.
Animals injected with the toxin, one of the deadliest poisons known to man,
suffer days of agony in their tiny plastic cages as muscles paralyse eyesight
deteriorates and they suffocate to death. These are recognised symptoms but
there may be many hidden ones, not that it matters as their deaths are merely
statistics, which permit the makers of the product to then inject it into people
as safely tested on animals! Testing such a dangerous compound on animals in
this way is not only cruel but also misleading and puts human health at risk.
Botox was originally developed for therapeutic use but now exists in a legal no
mans land allowing the manufacturers to test it as a drug but sell it as a
cosmetic. As a cosmetic its use is unmonitored.
It is only through the recovery of these documents that this information has
been made public otherwise these facts may never be known. How many of us are
honestly content that such secrets are given official sanction when the
consequences for both humans and animals alike are so dire? It is the contention
of those who raided these laboratories, on the back of information provided by
an insider, that without full public access to the facts surrounding the shady
secretive world of animal research and testing the only way is to infiltrate and
carry out more raids of this kind, otherwise we may never know until it's too
late just what cruelties and what dangers are created in our name. The
alternative official approach has failed.
Keith Mann, one raider put to trial for his actions said: 'It's time for change.
Time to stop forcing deeper into bunkers the activists and others seeking to
expose the truth and instead bring all animal research in to the public domain.
This case better than any exposes the need for dramatic changes. Further
restrictions on the rights of protestors and tighter security around these
facilities signals a step back for humanity.'
Mann's legal defence (Section 2/3 Theft Act 1967) contends that he acted in good
faith/ to prevent a crime through this incursion at Wickham.
This is not a minority issue, nor a trial between researchers and activists this
is about access to the facts, something that all free people are entitled to and
a Judicial Review is one answer. If this prosecution succeeds the future of
human endeavour in the essential yet highly contained world of research and
testing will remain in the hands of animal researchers, product manufacturers
and their parliamentary representatives. Nothing will change. Secrets will
remain secret and the dangers hidden. A successful defence will invite a long
overdue public debate on the efficacy of animal testing and official biased in
support of the same.
Many of the rescued mice were recovered and returned to the lab and put to death
following a detailed National Crime Squad surveillance operation investigating
Contact 07944874590 for more information, and copies of internal secret lab
documents detailing Botox tests on animals at Wickham.
From Sacred Cows & Golden Geese -- The Human Cost of Animal Experiments by Ray
Greek MD: 'Of all the tests, the LD50 is arguably the most stupid'
Animal Aid Outage Spring 2004: 'Not only is the LD50 test appallingly cruel, but
it has also long been acknowledged to be so crude as to be meaningless in terms
of risk assessment for humans'
Dr Moneim A Fadali Animal Experimentation - A Harvest of Shame:
'Three major flaws render the LD50 utterly invalid, of no force, with no reason
It does not determine the safe dose of a substance tested
The test cannot, never could, identify what side effects a test substance may
cause in a human being.
There are basic differences between different species'