|Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.|
Huntingdon Life Sciences Abuse Prosecution
As a postscript to our report on the government's "softly softly" treatment of Huntingdon Life Sciences in the wake of the Channel 4 documentary "It's a Dog's Life," comes the court's treatment of the animal technicians shown striking, shaking and shouting at beagles in the film.
Robert Waters and Andrew Marsh admitted charges of "cruelly terrifying dogs" but were sentenced with community service and total costs of £250 only. Uncaged, in common with the RSPCA, NAVS and other organisations, have condemned these sentences as far too lenient, and deeply regret that the law in this country seems unable or unwilling to punish such abuse of animals appropriately at any level.
Meanwhile, an undercover researcher at Huntingdon Life Science's laboratory in New Jersey, USA, has revealed yet more abuse. See our Procter & Gamble page for more details.
As a result of pressure from animal rights activists, Consort Kennels, a major breeder and supplier of beagles to vivisection laboratories, closed down in September.
Unfortunately, the Kennel's owners decided to sell the remaining dogs off as "assets," the most likely buyers being, of course, the experimenters. Over 170 dogs were being sold at £300 each, and Uncaged felt unable to stand by and allow these animals to go to the labs. Despite our doubts about giving money to the breeders we decided to buy four dogs.
The four dogs - named Willow, Eddie, Polly and Snap by their new owners - have all been found good homes, but as they have spent their entire lives in kennels they have a big adjustment to make. Three out of the four have serious problems with their teeth, and all require house-training. So far, all the beagles are responding well to a loving environment, but it is shocking to think that their entire lives have been spent imprisoned, never mind the fate that would have awaited them in the labs.
Despite the expense and the problems of re-adjustment the dogs (and their owners) face, we are proud to have saved the lives of these individual animals from vivisection and a certain early death. All the dogs from Consort have now been rescued, but even 170 lives represent a drop in the ocean when nearly three million animals are killed in British laboratories every year. That is why Uncaged continue to devote our energies to changing the minds of the public, changing the law and ending vivisection forever.
Many of you will have seen the reports in the UK press in October about the government's failure to honour the pledges it made about laboratory animals before the election.
Uncaged gave its backing to Labour in the general election as the major party with the best policies on animal issues and since the election have been lobbying the govenment and MPs continually about this very matter. In response to these (belated, it has to be said) press reports, and the public concern they engendered, Uncaged, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Naturewatch and other organisations wrote a joint letter to the government detailing the promises on which they appear to have reneged and expressing our dismay at this apparent U-Turn.
You are less likely to have heard about Barry Horne, a prisoner for animal rights offences, who spent more than six weeks on hunger strike in an attempt to persuade the government to honour its pledge to hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Vivisection. The Home Office finally agreed to meet a delegation nominated by Barry to discuss this issue only after his condition had deteriorated significantly, (we are informed he is now recovering well). Having initially objected to the criminal records of his nominated colleagues the government apparently agreed that as their criminal records all related to animal rights actions, they would disregard them in that context.
Although not everyone will agree with Barrys actions or tactics, there can be no doubting his sincerity and commitment. It is also sad that his hunger strike, which was surely newsworthy, received no coverage in the national media: it seems that they are unwilling to give the animal rights movement the comprehensive attention they give to many less serious issues.
(Joint letter to Mr Blair)