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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 the raid.

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 to be:

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'
 

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