Animal rights activists protest British bioweapon tests

Business News Community reports that animal rights activists in England are livid that a lab there is introducing chemical and biological agents such as anthrax, nerve gas and sulphur mustard to monkeys, guinea pigs, pigs and other animals.

The activist, according to the report, want to stop the research taking place at the Ministry of Defense test facility at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

According to the report, most testing at the lab is performed on mice, but some testing - such as the outfitting of sedated pigs in body armor to test its effectiveness prior to its use in combat - is done on developed mammals.

One activist group is calling for an end to all use of animals in the testing of warfare agents.

"These animals have been used in research to test the safety and efficacy of preventative and therapeutic strategies," Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, told Business News. "Many of these experiments involved substantial suffering and resulted in the death of the animals. Although supporting the need to ensure the safety of soldiers and civilians in an ever-increasing dangerous world, BUAV is opposed to deliberately causing suffering and death to animals in such grotesque and cruel experiments. It is totally unacceptable to treat animals in this way."

A Porton Down spokeswoman said the tests had "undoubtedly saved many lives, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but some of our recent work is used to development treatments domestically here in the UK," according to the report.