WRITE TO YOUR MP ABOUT THE EDM

EDM 516, entitled 'Imutran Ltd', states:

"That this House calls upon the Government to establish an independent inquiry to investigate the conduct and regulation of pig-to-primate organ transplant research performed by Imutran Limited at Huntingdon Life Sciences, as reported in the Daily Express and in the 'Diaries of Despair' report published on 21st September 2000, in order to investigate the level of compliance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and accompanying regulations; and to consider the adequacy of the Home Office' regulation of the research programme and its response to the concerns raised in the Diaries of Despair reports and to make recommendations concerning the regulation of animal experimentation."

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 516: Imutran Ltd. Use the sample letter below, or use the information in the introduction and briefing to write your own. If your MP is unable to sign (parliamentary convention prohibits ministers or parliamentary private secretaries from doing so) please ask them to air their concerns regarding this issue to either David Blunkett or Angela Eagle. The EDM is a really important part of this campaign as it provides a vital step in pressuring the Government to take the necessary action against Imutran and Huntingdon Life Sciences, and countering their callous attitude to animals imprisoned in laboratories.

"I have today received a very detailed briefing from Uncaged Campaigns which sets out in great detail as to why this Early Day Motion is important. I therefore have no hesitation in signing it."

This is a quote from an MP who was lobbied by an Uncaged supporter. Click here to read the briefing. (This is also available as a PDF file.)

If you are not sure who your MP is, you should either contact your local council's electoral department, or try this link: www.parliament.uk/directories/directories.cfm. Some MPs can be directly emailed via the Parliament website.

Sample letter

House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

EDM 516 - Imutran Ltd

Dear .................

I am writing to you to ask you to sign Early Day Motion 516, entitled "Imutran Ltd." The motion calls for an independent inquiry into the Diaries of Despair scandal following the leaking of details of the most extreme programme of cruel animal experimentation to take place in the UK in the last decade. The animal experiments in question involved the transplantation of genetically-modified pig organs into hundreds of higher primates - the 'cousins' of human beings. The research was sponsored by the biotechnology company Imutran Ltd (part of Novartis Pharma) and took place at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).

The documents reveal a number of issues of grave concern, particularly in connection to the potentially illegal severity of animal suffering caused and the relationship between the Government and the animal-testing companies that are supposed to be regulated by the Government.

In addition to deaths en route to the UK, the researchers' own words reveal the horrific consequences for the primates, despite UK and European regulations that prohibit 'severe' suffering: "... severe anaemia..."; "...cervical abscess eroding the internal jugular vein leading to haemorrhage and collapse of the animal..."; "... collapsed and died because of bronchopneumonia..."; "Five animals had to be killed because of gastrointestinal toxicity, resulting in severe diarrhoea..."; "...transplant 'swollen red' and 'seeping yellow fluid'..."; "...huddled... shivering... unsteady... in spasm... shaking... grinding teeth... ".

These effects were predictable results of the traumatic surgical procedures and the extremely high doses of experimental immunosuppressive drugs which caused cancer, internal bleeding, infections and complication due to chemical toxicity - but still could not prevent rejection of the foreign organ. Indeed, scientists advising the Government on this matter (i.e. the UKXIRA) have recently concluded that the research had lead up a "blind alley" and that whole organ xenotransplantation was unlikely ever to succeed (incidentally, a view that critics such as Uncaged Campaigns have been promulgating for several years). The evidence of the potential for new viruses to cross the species barrier via xenografts is another major concern that decreases the likelihood of net benefits flowing from xenotransplantation. Yet, a cost-benefit assessment of the research is supposed to be a key aspect of the licensing process.

In addition to demonstrating the cavalier and disdainful attitude of the Government to the rule of law, the documents also reveal that Government ministers have misled Parliament in order to protect Imutran and HLS from criticism when mistakes and breaches of regulation have occurred.

Please note that the RSPCA has also recently voted overwhelmingly in favour of asking the Government to establish such an inquiry. The combination of deliberate regulatory failure and Government dishonesty and malpractice gives rise to the urgent requirement for an independent judicial inquiry into this affair. It is transparently clear that the recently completed review by the Chief Inspector is a fix which lacks independence, thoroughness and integrity.

It is vitally important that Parliament holds Government to account when evidence of regulatory bias and failure is uncovered. This is particularly the case when the victims of those failures are innocent animals subjected to the most horrific forms of research. EDMs are one of the few ways that concerned members of the public can work with their MPs to raise issues of public interest that the Government may not be keen to deal with adequately.

If you require any further information about the need to sign EDM 516, then please refer to the briefing on the subject which you will have received from Uncaged Campaigns, the publishers of the Diaries of Despair report, who will be more than happy to assist.

Yours sincerely,

....................

Please forward any replies you receive from MPs. Don't be surprised if you receive a hopelessly inadequate, or misleading reply. BE PERSISTENT! We need your support and participation to achieve this as quickly and as effectively as possible.

 

Baboon in cage
Credit: Organ Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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