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Lab test horror: Terrified rabbits starved for 30 hours then put in stocks and injected with drugs
An undercover investigation has revealed that bunnies are being subjected to excruciating drug tests after being starved for up to 30 hours, denied water, then locked into vices – with some not surviving the ordeal.
Some may feel that dying would be a better option for the rabbits, because those that did live through it were simply re-used and kept in bare metal cages that drove them half-mad.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, or BUAV, spent eight months at Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire secretly filming their procedures – and say that the lab inflicted ‘appalling suffering’ on thousands of animals in tests that are ‘crude, archaic and extremely cruel’.
Torture: The rabbits are kept in stocks for hours at a time while drugs are injected into their ears
Among the lab’s subjects are a colony of around 100 rabbits which are used to test the side effects of antibiotics, blood filters and saline waters.
BUAV say that the test substances are injected into an ear vein that sometimes results in painful damage to the ear and weeping eyes. In other instances a temperature probe is inserted into the animal’s rectum and left for hours at a time.
The rabbits clearly find these tests uncomfortable and distressing. Those that are too weak to be used again are killed afterwards, the others are returned to bare metal cages that just add to the suffering.
Trapped: Dozens of bunnies are test at simultaneously in tests BUAV say are cruel and archaic
Rabbits are naturally social and inquisitive animals and the undercover operative discovered that with opportunities to mix and burrow denied to them, some were displaying signs of mental distress such as repetitive pacing and biting of the cage bars.
What’s more, some of the rabbits are used over and over again for months at a time.
BUAV insists that many of the tests are not required by international law and point to a recent Home Office report on the Wickham Laboratories that was highly critical of it.
The report found that staff training at the facility was ‘poor’, non-animal alternatives were not properly explored and some animals were killed in an entirely inappropriate way, such as mice being put to death by workers who broke their necks with a pen on the floor.
Caged: The scared rabbits find their metal cages very distressing with some continually pacing and biting the bars
The report also stated that some of the tests ran for far too long.
‘We continually review the requirement for these tests and have reduced the number of substances tested in this way,’ a Wickham Labs spokesman told the Sunday Mirror. ‘Paramount to us is the well-being of our laboratory animals.’
For more information visit www.buav.org.
No way out: BUAV's undercover investigator films this rabbit in a cage it may spend several months in