Live pigs 'blasted with explosives and monkeys infected with anthrax during cruel experiments'

 

Live pigs were blasted with explosives and forced to inhale mustard gas, and monkeys infected with anthrax during “disturbing and cruel” experiments at Porton Down, it was claimed today.

Scientists at the top secret military research establishment in Wiltshire were accused of causing "substantial" suffering to animals in the past two years.

The alleged evidence was collected by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) from papers published in scientific journals.

In one study, reported in the Annals of Surgery in 2010, explosives were said to have been detonated eight feet from pigs that had been anaesthetised, wrapped in blankets, and placed on trolleys.

The animals were said to have suffered blast injuries and blood loss, after which an attempt was made to resuscitate them. Eleven out of 28 died, it was claimed.

Other pigs suffered severe lung damage after inhaling phosgene and mustard gas, two lethal chemical weapons, according to the BUAV. They were eventually killed, it said.

In a further experiment, funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), marmosets were infected with anthrax before being treated with an antibiotic, it was alleged. Four animals died and those still alive at the end of the study were killed and dissected, it was claimed.

This study was published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents last year. There were no reports of pain relief or other supportive measures and the monkeys must have "suffered immensely" before experiencing a painful death, said the BUAV.

Two other experiments reportedly involved killing guinea pigs with a highly toxic nerve agent, and injecting mice with the bacteria that cause bubonic plague.

Michelle Thew, chief executive of the BUAV, said: "Although supporting the need to ensure the safety of soldiers and civilians in an increasingly dangerous world, the BUAV is opposed to deliberately causing suffering and death to animals in such disturbing and cruel experiments. We believe it is totally unacceptable to treat animals in this way."

A number of experiments were funded by US defence agencies, or conducted in collaboration with them, said the BUAV.

Porton Down is subject to the normal Home Office regulations intended to avoid unnecessary suffering by animals used in research.

But the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which previously advised the Ministry of Defence on the care of animals used in experiments, was dissolved in 2010.

Ms Thew added: "It is... unacceptable that at a time of growing public concern regarding the use of animals in research, there is no advisory body that could at least provide an element of independent overview on the care and welfare of animals used in warfare research."

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) based at Porton Down said in a statement that it was "proud" of the research undertaken by its staff.

It added: "The remit to provide safe and effective protective measures for the UK and its Armed Forces could not, currently, be achieved without the use of animals.

"DSTL operates in strict accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. All the research projects that involve animals are licensed by the Home Office. As part of the licensing process, the researchers have to convince the Home Office that the work is required, that the results cannot be obtained without the use of animals and that every step has been taken to minimise pain and suffering to the animals involved.

"The Home Office, their inspectors and their independent Animal Procedures Committee (APC) make both announced and unannounced visits several times a year to ensure compliance with these guidelines. The MoD's Animal Welfare Advisory Council (AWAC) was dissolved as it duplicated this work."

International collaboration resulted in burden sharing and reduced the necessary use of animals in experiments, said the statement.

The BUAV said its science team obtained the reports from a search of the PubMed free access research database conducted between 2010 and 2012.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition