BUAV: Animals killed with bioweapons in cruel experiments

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection accused researchers on Monday of causing significant suffering to animals in the past two years with experiments related to bioterrorism.

According to the BUAV, scientists blasted live pigs with explosives, forced the pigs to inhale mustard gas and infected monkeys with anthrax during experiments in a military facility at Porton Down in Wiltshire, United Kingdom, the Independent reports.

Additional experiments included the killing of guinea pigs with a toxic nerve agent and using bubonic plague-causing bacteria on mice.

"Although supporting the need to ensure the safety of soldiers and civilians in an increasingly dangerous world, the BUAV is opposed to deliberately causing suffering and death to animals in such disturbing and cruel experiments," Michelle Thew, the chief executive of the BUAW, said, according to the Independent. "We believe it is totally unacceptable to treat animals in this way."

Porton Down is subject to government regulations meant to avoid unnecessary suffering by animals in research. The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which advised the Ministry of Defense on this matter, was dissolved in 2010.

The Defense Science and Technology Laboratory based at Porton Down said that it was proud of the research its staff conducted.

"The remit to provide safe and effective protective measures for the U.K. and its armed forces could not, currently, be achieved without the use of animals," the DSTL said, according to the Independent. "DSTL operates in strict accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. All the research projects that involve animals are licensed by the Home Office. As part of the licensing process, the researchers have to convince the Home Office that the work is required, that the results cannot be obtained without the use of animals and that every step has been taken to minimize pain and suffering to the animals involved."

The BUAV said that its scientists obtained the studies from a search of the PubMed free access research database between 2010 and 2012.