Pressure mounts for inquiry into Government collusion in horrific
Hundreds of pages of documents obtained in two leaks reveal Government
complicity in promoting horrific pig organ transplant experiments
on monkeys and baboons at the controversial Huntingdon Life Sciences
An extraordinary legal victory followed a two-and-a-half year 'David
& Goliath' struggle to overturn a court injunction hastily granted
to Novartis that banned publication of the documents. However, Sheffield-based
anti-vivisection group Uncaged Campaigns successfully argued that
evidence of Government collusion and malpractice meant that there
was an overwhelming public interest in the disclosure of the documents.
The stunning information is published today at www.xenodiaries.org
and reported in a major piece in The Observer (p.3 - "Exposed:
secrets of the animal organ lab" ).
The documents reveal:
- Government licensing of severe primate suffering, breaching
- Active collusion between Government and the company to downplay
suffering and evade regulations
- Failure of Government to enforce the legally required cost-benefit
assessment - allowing horrendous pain and distress despite the
consistent lack of progress in the research
- Breaches of Huntingdon Life Sciences' licence conditions - ignored
and hidden by Government
- Misleading Parliamentary answers by Ministers concealing tragic
- Research personally authorised by Ministers
- Inaccuracies and bias in the Government's internal cover up
of the allegations
Despite the injunction, the call for an independent inquiry into
the scandal has already received support from the RSPCA and over
100 MPs across the party spectrum. Lib Dem MP Norman Baker is to
write to the Home Affairs Select Committee to ask them to investigate
the evidence of Government malpractice.
Dan Lyons, director of Uncaged Campaigns, comments:
"The documents demonstrate without a shadow
of a doubt that the government has deliberately connived to help
researchers avoid the rule of law, resulting in the infliction of
truly harrowing suffering on animals in deeply flawed series of
experiments that led up a blind alley for six years.
"Ministers and officials have conspired to mislead
Parliament and the public, and have shown contempt for due process.
There is an urgent need for an independent inquiry to get to the
bottom of this horrific affair. The legal victory and the damning
evidence will result in huge pressure on the Government to end systematic
bias in policy on animal research."
Notes for editors
Uncaged Campaigns, 20 April 2003