Report from the Home Office’s ASRU highlights a drastic rise in cases of non-compliance with laws around animal testing and the protection of animals in laboratories
A new report from the Home Office’s Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) has shed light on the widespread issue of non-compliance in animal testing and animal protection laws. Cruelty Free International is calling for the government to take the matter seriously and properly enforce the laws surrounding animal protection and animal testing.
Increase of 107% in cases of non-compliance in animal testing
The report, recently published by the ASRU, the regulator overseeing the use of animals in research and testing in Great Britain, and covering the years 2019 to 2021, shows an increase of 107% in cases of non-compliance with the law by individuals and establishments using animals in experiments between 2018 and 2019.
As a result of this non-compliance, animals are suffering and dying
As a result of this non-compliance, animals are suffering and dying.
Kerry Postlewhite, Cruelty Free International’s Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs said: “The very least these animals, which are ultimately condemned to suffer and die in experiments, deserve is consideration for their welfare.”
In light of this shocking report, animal protection NGO Cruelty Free International is calling on the government to intervene and demanding proper enforcement of the law protecting animals.
Examples on non-compliance of animal testing and animal protection laws in 2019, 2020 and 2021
Cases of non-compliance recorded in 2019 included:
- 112 rats crushed to death in a trash compactor
- 120 fish dying after water drained from a tank due to failure to close the valve
- 8 new-born mouse pups dying after their mother was removed from cage instead of father
- 5 rabbits left without water for over 45 hours
- 2 monkeys left without food or water for more than 16 hours
- 4 dogs given a substance not authorised for testing
A primate died after being trapped behind a restraint device
In 2020, the following non-compliance cases were recorded:
- A primate died after being trapped behind a restraint device which was not noticed by staff
- 16 rats suffocated to death after an isolator alarm and fan was switched off
- 2 rats died due to excessive head restraint during blood sampling
More examples in 2021 highlight the widespread issue of non-compliance of animal protection laws:
- 4 mice died after receiving an intravenous injection containing fragments from a pestle and mortar
- 740 fish died after water drained from a tank due to failure to close the valve
- A mouse died after becoming trapped during a cage change and wasn’t discovered for five days
- A sheep underwent surgery on the incorrect limb bone leading to a fracture.
*It is important to note that the above examples are a very select and small number of the cruelty and death inflicted upon animals every day in laboratories around the world
Failure to provide food and water accounts for nearly a quarter of non-compliance cases
Every year, animals die because they have not been provided food and/or water.
It may come as a shock, but failing to provide these basic necessities – food and water – accounted for 15-22% of non-compliance cases between 2015 and 2018.
Most cases are reported by the individuals or establishments themselves, but a small number are identified each year by ASRU. It is thought that some cases remain unreported and unidentified.
ASRU has the authority to refer cases of non-compliance for prosecution, but in this instance chose not to take this course of action for any of the cases reported, instead issuing “letters of reprimand”.
We are calling on the regulator to seek justice for these animals
Kerry Postlewhite, Cruelty Free International’s Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, commented:
“All of these cases show a lack of care for and interest in the wellbeing of animals used in laboratories. The very least these animals, which are ultimately condemned to suffer and die in experiments, deserve is consideration for their welfare.
The very least these animals, which are ultimately condemned to suffer and die in experiments, deserve is consideration for their welfare
“We are calling on the regulator to seek justice for these animals and enforce the law properly – crushing sentient creatures in a trash compactor should result in more serious consequences than a sternly worded letter.”