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BUAV set to take Home Office to court in July

Judicial review will bring unprecedented legal scrutiny of animal ‘protection’ laws

Evidence that the Government fails to protect animals from suffering in UK labs by misinterpreting the laws which are designed to protect them is set to be considered by the High Court on 23rd July 2007.

The BUAV’s case points out Government failure to protect animals in UK labs from substantial suffering due to its misinterpretation and ineffective enforcement of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

The Judge will consider the BUAV’s case against the Home Office, which is based on extensive video and documentary evidence it collected during a ten-month undercover investigation in a Cambridge University neuroscience primate lab during 2000/2001.

The undercover investigation revealed that marmoset monkeys were left unattended for 15 hours or more after undergoing highly invasive brain surgery. This is in direct contravention of the Home Office requirement that the animals have 24-hour veterinary assistance on hand to ensure post-operative suffering is kept to a minimum.

The BUAV is also questioning the Home Office license approval system as it allowed severe procedures (including the removal of the top of marmoset’s heads to induce strokes) to be categorised as ‘moderate’ rather than ‘substantial.’ The guidelines state that any procedure which ‘may lead to a major departure from the animals’ usual state of health and of well-being’ must be categorised as ‘substantial’, which is designed to give additional protection to the animals.

The BUAV was awarded a rare costs protection order by Mr Justice Bean last year to enable it to bring its case in the public interest after the Home Office projected its defence costs would amount to up to £150,000.

“We believe the evidence uncovered by the BUAV investigators at Cambridge makes a mockery of Government assurances that its ‘strict’ protection laws mean animals don’t suffer in UK labs,’ said BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew.