Source: Sunday Times Online
ANIMAL rights extremists are planning a terror campaign against staff at a Scottish laboratory that has experimented with rabbits fitted with cosmetic breast implants.
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has warned Inveresk Research International, in East Lothian, that it will use similar tactics to those which forced the closure of the Hull family’s Darley Oaks Farm in Staffordshire, including fire-raising and criminal damage. The Hall family’s farm had been supplying Huntingdon Life Sciences, the animal testing company, with guinea pigs.
An ALF spokesman said that activists from south of the border would travel north to mount the biggest campaign in Scotland for the past 15 years.
It follows the publication last week of internal Inveresk documents on the website of Animal Defenders International (ADI), the pressure group. An ADI report accompanying the documents, which features on the ALF website, alleges that unnecessary suffering has been endured by rabbits, dogs, rats and monkeys at the lab. Other websites linked to ALF described Inveresk as an “animal death camp”.
The documents revealed that breast implants had been inserted into the backs of white rabbits to test for tissue compatability. The rabbits were killed a month after the experiments were concluded.
Photographs from the laboratory also showed rows of dogs restrained by harnesses with masks clamped over their noses, being forced to inhale fumes.
The report alleged that several beagles had a toxic drug mistakenly pumped into their lungs, causing a painful death, and that 10 rats were killed after being forced to breathe paint for more than 30 minutes.
“With ADI highlighting this area of animal abuse, Inveresk will become a target,” said an ALF spokesman. “This research unit would be better spending its time on real medical programmes rather than working on a Scottish version of The Island of Dr Moreau.
“(The campaign will include) raids to liberate animals and economic sabotage ranging from graffiti through to major arson attacks on empty buildings. Intimidation pales into insignificance when you consider the terrible indignity and torture carried out in these units behind closed doors”.
Inveresk said it had stepped up its security measures.
“Needless to say, the wellbeing of our employees is a major concern since it has become apparent that a number of activist groups have become more extreme in their modus operandi,” said a spokesman.
“It would be irresponsible of us to disclose the additional measures we have taken but you may assume that we are more diligent in this area.”
The company defended its record, claiming that ADI and other animal rights activists had made unfounded accusations about the nature and timing of the work Inveresk conducts. The breast implant tests referred to had taken place more than five years ago, he said.
The company’s animal testing was humane and it was engaged in developing medicines and other products that were important for human health, he added.
“Inveresk is dedicated to helping our pharmaceutical customers to develop safe and effective drugs and medical devices that fight human diseases such as Aids, cancer, diabetes and myriad life-threatening illnesses that affect millions of people every year.