Letter: Amnesty for pigs

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The Independent Online
Amnesty for pigs

Paul Vallely ("How the flying pigs became a crackling good tale", 17 January) claims that in the 1970s "Amnesty International financed experiments to torture pigs to find out whether certain kinds of torture could be used without damaging skin" and suggests that this stemmed from attitudes towards animals "embedded in English culture and law".

The incident Mr Vallely refers to took place in Denmark, when a group of doctors who were members of Amnesty International undertook experiments on themselves and anaesthetised pigs with the aim of establishing a basis for forensic proof that even small electric shocks lead to demonstrable changes to the skin.

When the Amnesty International membership learnt of these experiments, the organisation disassociated itself from the experiments and resolved at its 1978 International Council meeting that it would never undertake or be associated with medical experimentation on either human beings or animals.


Deputy Director

Amnesty International UK

London EC1