Rats beheaded with scissors and mice kept in a 'pitiful state': Imperial College London vows to overhaul treatment of animals in labs after video emerges showing 'appalling suffering'

Footage was obtained by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection

Imperial College London intends to “significantly” improve its treatment of animals in laboratories after an undercover investigation appeared to show rats being decapitated with scissors and other animals facing “appalling suffering” at the hands of assistants.

Footage obtained by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection appeared to show workers at the university – which is a world leader in scientific research – beheading animals with a guillotine and breaking the necks of others using a metal rod.

In response to a review, Imperial pledged to take immediate action, admitting there was “significant scope for improvement” in the way its labs treat animals used in experiments.

The BUAV says its members infiltrated labs at Imperial, which led them to discover rats wriggling during operations in which they were supposed to be anaesthetised, technicians decapitating baby rats with scissors, and mice kept in an emaciated and “pitiful state”.

 

The College approached Professor Steve Brown, the Director of the Medical Research Council’s Mammalian Genetics Unit at Harwell to lead the review, which accused the university of complacency and made 33 recommendations for sweeping reforms it felt were needed to improve Imperial’s treatment of animals.

According to the MailOnline, the university was criticised for an over-reliance on agency staff, and for running an ethical committee that was not fit for purpose. An ethical committee is the body that evaluates the way animals are used in experiments and attempts to minimise long-term reliance on vivisection.

The independent experts stressed that they were not investigating the specific claims made by the BUAV, and were instead focussing on general treatment of animals at Imperial.

Prof. Brown said: “Our investigation identified a number of serious concerns on the conduct, management and oversight of animal research at Imperial College.”

He added: “While our focus has been on Imperial College, the committee’s recommendations should serve as a useful framework for other institutions to review their policies and practises.”

Imperial said it accepts all the report’s recommendations, but stressed that it only uses animals when it deems them essential to developing new treatments or medical advances.

The BUAV called the conclusions a “devastating indictment”, adding: “If such criticisms can be levelled at one of the world’s leading universities, then it is inevitable that similar issues arise in research establishments all over the country.”

The Union added: “It should not take an undercover investigation to expose what is happening in UK laboratories. The system overseeing animal experiments is broken and needs a drastic review.”

The Home Office says it is carrying out a separate inquiry into the specific BUAV claims, adding that it intends to prosecute anyone breaching animal research regulations.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Engineering Design Manager (Mechanical)

£35000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: ENGINEERING ...

Year 3 Welsh Teacher vacancy in Penarth

£110 - £120 per day + Travel Scheme and Free training: Randstad Education Card...

Male Behaviour Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

£55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

SEN Learning Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

£55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star