We are marking World Day for Laboratory Animals (24 April) by challenging the Government and scientists to prove that they are genuinely committed to effective regulation of animal experiments and to reducing the use and suffering of animals.

We want an independent inquiry into the recent BUAV footage showing serious alleged breaches of animal welfare at Imperial College London.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said:

“It’s all very well for the Government and organisations promoting animal research to trot out the same tired sound bites about the UK having rigorous controls on animal experiments and everyone operating to the highest possible standards. But the public will make up their own minds.

“When we saw last week’s video footage, which appears to show serious malpractice, appalling incompetence and a flagrant disregard for animal welfare at a leading UK university, we asked how this was allowed to happen. We, along with the rest of the public, demand reassurance that action is being taken to ensure such unacceptable practices are not occurring in other labs.”

The new regulations need to be clear and concise

New animal experiment regulations came into force in the UK at the start of the year. We are concerned that there is confusion and a lack of clarity regarding how these new controls are being implemented in practice, especially in larger academic institutions. We are also concerned that the number of Home Office Inspectors and the number of inspections they make has decreased in recent years.

Gavin continued:

“The RSPCA has repeatedly warned that a more hands-off approach to regulation from the Home Office could result in standards slipping in some establishments. Research establishments and the Home Office need to see the expose of Imperial College London as a loud wake-up call. Animals have suffered and that is a serious breach of public trust.”

At the end of 2012, organisations across the UK, including Imperial College London, signed up to a Concordat on Openness in Animal Research claiming animal research in the UK is undertaken to ‘the highest welfare standards’.

Gavin said:

“Talk is cheap. Those involved in animal research and testing must back up their claims of concern for animals with real evidence of action.”

Take action

Join us in calling on the Home Office to launch an independent inquiry into the unacceptable practices uncovered at Imperial College London.

We can’t do it without you

  • To help support the RSPCA, please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. Text costs £3 plus one standard network rate message.
  • Find out more about our work with lab animals.