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news release

Study into primate research: pro-vivisection agenda exposed as campaigners put ban on election agenda

Uncaged Campaigns (1) can reveal that three of the four organisations behind the study, announced yesterday (23/03/05), into the scientific aspects of research on primates are part of a pro-vivisection propaganda coalition.

The Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Wellcome Trust are all members of the self-styled 'Coalition for Medical Progress' (CMP), a drug industry-backed lobby group dedicated to promoting animal experiments and preventing proper regulation.

On its website the CMP claims that: "... a research project [cannot] start until the Home Office accepts the potential benefits justify any distress or suffering that might be caused to the animals." (2) However, an extraordinary legal victory, gained on public interest grounds by Mr Lyons and Uncaged in April 2003, revealed in unique fashion a catalogue of failure and severe suffering in pig organ transplant experiments on primates. (3) A complaint against the Government's failure to enforce regulations is still been investigated by the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Uncaged also argue that the use of 117,359 animals in poisoning tests for unequivocally non-medical purposes (4) completely undermines the CMP claim that UK law requires that the suffering of animals has to be justified by the results of experiments.

Dan Lyons, director of Uncaged Campaigns, comments:

"The CMP is just the latest in a long line of organisations going back over 120 years who have been dedicated to frustrating the will of the public and Parliament. Their pretence that animal research is strictly regulated is designed to conceal the horrific truth of animal experimentation and prevent any real progress in tackling animal suffering. How can anyone have faith in an inquiry sponsored by groups with such an illegitimate agenda?"

Uncaged are also concerned that the launch statements from these organisations show that the outcome of the inquiry is a foregone conclusion. For example, the heads of the MRC and the Wellcome Trust both prejudge the inquiry by claiming that experiments on primates continue to be necessary. (5) Meanwhile, the President of the Academy of Medical Sciences implies that the goal of the inquiry is to advance the future needs of primate researchers rather than conduct an open-minded examination of the scientific issues surrounding primate experiments. (6)

Dan Lyons says:

"Unfortunately, there is no indication that this review will be conducted in an open and unbiased fashion. The scientific establishment appears to be incapable of self-reflection or genuine sensitivity to public opinion and ethical issues. What we have instead seems to be a self-serving political exercise designed to head off public pressure on the Government for a ban on primate experiments, which we will be actively pushing onto the agenda in the General Election campaign."


  1. Uncaged Campaigns is a peaceful and democratic group campaigning against animal research on scientific and ethical grounds . See www.uncaged.co.uk for more details.
  2. www.medicalprogress.org/control/legislation.cfm
  3. www.xenodiaries.org
  4. From 2003 Government statistics
  5. Non-human primate study press release: www.nhpstudy.com/NHP_study_press_release.pdf
  6. "Sir Keith Peters, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: 'There is an urgent need to adopt a more strategic approach to the future use of non-human primates in research at both a UK and global level'." www.nhpstudy.com/NHP_study_press_release.pdf

Uncaged Campaigns 24.03.05


Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.