International Animal Rights Day: 10th December 2000
This was the third year of candle-lit vigils at sites of animal abuse,
held to commemorate International Animal Rights Day (IARD). These vigils
also commemorate the Universal Declaration of Animal
Rights (UDAR), which was launched 3 years ago on the 50th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (UDHR). Uncaged Campaigns
joined forces with Cambridge group Animals People and Environment (APE)
to hold a candle-lit vigil outside the main offices of Imutran. More.
The High Court hearing (see below) will carry over on Monday 18th December
at 10.45am. The Vice Chancellor has agreed with an Imutran appeal that
the hearing should not be open to the public.
Straw Vetoes Inquiry into Horrific Primate Suffering - High Court Hearing
will put Home Office on Trial
In an extraordinary announcement, the Home Secretary has refused to investigate
a research programme involving the horrific suffering and deaths of hundreds
of higher primates. The research into cross-species transplant experiments
also involved breaches of the law and was littered with hundreds of errors,
some of which had painful and lethal consequences for the monkeys concerned.
Imutran Ltd, the Cambridge-based biotech subsidiary of the multinational
drug company Novartis, was responsible for the research programme. On
Thursday 14th December (commencing 2.00pm) Imutran will attempt to obtain
an injunction against anti-cruelty group Uncaged Campaigns and the organisation's
Director, Dan Lyons, at the High Court in London to prevent the evidence
from being placed in the public domain.
Several thousand pages of documents leaked to Uncaged Campaigns from
Imutran in spring were reported on by the Daily Express on September 21.
They reveal starkly how monkeys and wild-caught baboons had been observed
shivering, unsteady, in spasm, swollen, bruised and with blood and pus
seeping from wounds after Imutran scientists had transplanted transgenic
pig hearts and kidneys into the primates. In one of the most grotesque
studies, one monkey which had a pig heart transplanted into its neck was
seen holding the transplant which was "swollen red" and "seeping
yellow fluid" in its final days. The experiments were performed at
controversial testing company Huntingdon Life Sciences, who were responsible
for many of the errors in the conduct of the research.
The episode highlights the cosy relationship between Home Office Inspectors
- charged with regulating animal research - and the establishments they
are supposed to regulate. These experiments were conducted with the blessing
and support of the Home Office, despite a legal ban on "severe"
suffering (1). Breaches in laws and regulations went
unpunished even when they lead to the suffering and death of animals.
After the story was revealed in the Daily Express and by Uncaged Campaigns
on 21 September, the Junior Home Office Minister Mike O'Brien announced
that allegations of wrongdoing in animal research would be investigated
by the Home Office Inspectorate, and overseen by the advisory Animal Procedures
However, in a quite breathtaking move, a subsequent announcement by Home
Secretary Jack Straw has quashed the inquiry (3).
Dan Lyons, author of the 150 page Diaries of Despair report based on
the documents, comments:
"This is the most deplorable and desperate reaction I have
witnessed from this Government. It is clearly a last-ditch attempt to
keep a lid on what will inevitably be an embarrassing episode for the
"The Home Office appears to be content for companies involved
in vivisection to break the law and inflict horrific suffering on animals
- and is committed to protecting them from justice. This is a scandal
of profound significance."
The injunction hearing will effectively put the Home Office on trial.
One of the central arguments for the Defence is that there is a clear
public interest in the facts about this research being widely known because,
among other reasons, there is evidence that:
- The Home Office has failed to regulate the research properly because
of its indulgent attitude to the researchers and corresponding disregard
for animal welfare, in contravention of the Animals (Scientific Procedures)
- Imutran's experiments caused severe suffering, which is illegal (4).
- Imutran have distorted the truth in their public statements about
the success of the research and the welfare of the primates.
Dan Lyons comments:
"The stakes in the case could not be higher. Apart from being
a test case for freedom of expression under the new Human Rights Act,
the Home Office is effectively on trial. We have a very strong case
and, if the judgement is favourable to us, it will send a clear message
to the Government that it can no longer bend the rules and flout the
law in favour of powerful commercial interests. By publishing the documents,
we have merely sought to stimulate public debate and try to ensure that
the Home Office gives the interests of animals the consideration that
the law and the public demands."
- Paragraph 5.42 of the Guidance on the Operation of the
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 states: "The Secretary
of State will not license any procedure likely to cause severe pain
and distress that cannot be alleviated." Article 8 of European
Directive 86/609 stipulates: "If anaesthesia is not possible, analgesics
or other appropriate methods should be used in order to ensure as far
as possible that pain, suffering and distress or harm are limited and
that in any event the animal is not subject to severe pain, distress
- Written Answers, Wednesday 1 November 2000, in reply
to question tabled by Eileen Gordon (Romford)
- Written Answers, Wednesday 29 November 2000, in reply
to question tabled by Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey). Letter
from Mike O'Brien MP to Dan Lyons, 29 November 2000.
- See Note 1.
For further information, interviews and confirmation of
the court hearing time please contact Dan Lyons - 0114 2831155 / 07733
326068. Home Office correspondence and more background information are
available on our dedicated website at www.xenodiaries.org.
Uncaged Campaigns 12.12.00
3rd International Animal Rights Day
On 10 December, International Animal Rights Day (IARD), protesters
against animal cruelty around the world will be holding candlelit vigils
outside establishments responsible for causing suffering to animals. The
protesters will be remembering the animals who have suffered and died
at the hands of these establishments.
The idea was the brainchild of Sheffield-based animal rights organisation
Uncaged Campaigns, who have recently hit the headlines in the Daily Express
with their shocking revelations of British pig-to-primate organ transplant
experiments (see www.xenodiaries.org).
The date, 10 December, coincides with the anniversary of the United Nations'
endorsement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights back in 1948.
The campaign was launched on the 50th anniversary of the human rights
declaration, and aims to achieve international recognition of animal rights
within another 50 years
Stars such as Joanna Lumley, Spike Milligan and top barrister Michael
Mansfield QC have signed the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights (copy
to follow) which is the basis of the campaign. The declaration has also
been endorsed by 32 different animal protection societies from 19 countries
Dan Lyons, director of Uncaged Campaigns, explains the reasons behind
"We want people to recognise that all animals, not just humans,
deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. In order to protect
the welfare of animals, we must respect their right not be hurt and
killed by human beings who should know better. The world believes in
human rights because we are capable of feeling physical and emotional
pain, and because we have a will to live. But all animals share these
features, and so, logically, we should honour their rights."
Uncaged Campaigns will be holding a vigil between 4pm and 7pm on Sunday
10th December outside Imutran (Maris Lane, Trumpington, Cambridge), the
company responsible for conducting the pig-to-primate organ transplant
experiments featured in the Daily Express. As the paper reports, baboons
and monkeys were observed "Huddled, shivering, unsteady, in spasm,
vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea. Some have blood or pus seeping
from wounds." Four days after the suffering of Imutran's victims
was exposed by Uncaged Campaigns and the Express, the closure of the company
was announced by its parent company Novartis, who will now be conducting
the horrific experiments in the US and Canada rather than Britain. Imutran
Ltd. will cease trading on 31 December 2000.
Diaries of Despair
Imutran versus Uncaged Campaigns and Dan Lyons - case adjourned again
On Wednesday 18 October 2000 the case was adjourned again because Imutrans
legal team claimed that they required more time to consider a proposal
we have made. Although we opposed the application for an adjournement,
it was successful and, consequentially, the full hearing has been delayed
and now will not take place until the end of November due to prior commitments
of the counsels for each party and the Vice Chancellor (the senior judge
of the Chancery Division of the High Court). The case is being heard by
Lord Morritt. Lord Morritt is Richard Scott, who conducted the Arms
to Iraq enquiry in the 1990s. A precise date for the hearing
has yet to be set. Unfortunately, this means that Imutrans injunction
suppressing the dissemination of our campaign leaflet and the Diaries
of Despair report remains in place until the dispute is settled
in or out of court.
Imutran costs claim rejected
At yesterdays hearing, Imutran also attempted to force us to pay
several thousands of pounds (the words of their counsel) of
Imutrans legal costs, which they claim total over £81,000.
Imutran is a part of Novartis, the Swiss-based multinational pharmaceutical
company whose sales last year totalled £12.6 billion. Imutrans
manoeuvre would have resulted in the bankruptcy of both Uncaged Campaigns
and Dan Lyons, author of the Diaries of Despair report. This in turn would
have potentially stopped us from being able to defend ourselves in a full
hearing where our case could be presented. However, the judge would not
rule on Imutrans costs claim, ensuring that the issue of costs can
be settled at the proper time, after the case has been fully heard.
Despite the intense and intimidating legal attack launched by Imutran
against us, we are determined to stand firm in order to allow an informed
and open public debate about the suffering that Imutran have inflicted
on hundreds on higher primates in their pig-to-primate organ transplant
research at Huntingdon Life Sciences over the past six years.
This follows the hearing on Tues. 10th October, when the judge decided
that he was too busy to deal with the matter in the time allotted.
Uncaged Campaigns and Dan Lyons are the defendants in a claim brought
by Imutran, a subsidiary of the multinational drug firm Novartis, which
aims to prevent the dissemination of leaked confidential documents which
detail the companys pig-to-primate organ transplant (xenotransplantation)
experiments (see below). Imutran contracted the controversial commercial
testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) to conduct the research
between 1995 and earlier this year.
Uncaged Campaigns published the leaked documents in order to allow verification
of the claims made in the report and facilitate informed public debate.
Our central aim is to persuade the Government to set up an independent
judicial enquiry into the affair.
Imutran have attempted to suppress dissemination of the report and the
documents, claiming breach of confidentiality and copyright. Our defence
is that there is a clear public interest in the true facts of this research
programme being available for public discussion, especially given the
doubts over the Home Offices ability and political will to enforce
animal research regulation adequately.
As an editorial discussing secrecy in science earlier this year in the
New Scientist pointed out: Openness is the only way forward.
On Thursday 21st September the Daily Express ran the first of a series
of three stories about pig-to-primate transplant experiments conducted
by Cambridge, UK, based Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) on behalf of Imutran/Novartis,
the company attempting to make animal-to-human transplants (xenotransplantation)
a reality. These were based on Uncaged Campaigns' devastating report,
Diaries of Despair, which was published after months of research scrutinising
a cache of leaked internal documents. The report revealed:
"The shocking truth behind Britain's most high-profile animal
experimentation project...The secret papers show horrific animal suffering
despite claims to the contrary. They also reveal researchers have exaggerated
the success of work aimed at adapting pig organs for human transplant."
Daily Express 21.09.00
Imutran Attempt to Suppress Xenotransplantation Debate
Uncaged Campaigns and Dan Lyons, the author of the Diaries of Despair
report, are both currently the subject of a High Court Injunction preventing
the dissemination of internal information or statements based on internal
information from Imutran. Imutran obtained the injunction by arguing that
the publication of the leaked documents breached their commercial confidentiality
and endangered the personal safety of individuals named in the document.
The injunction was obtained on 26 September 2000, prior to a full hearing
on 10 October 2000, and has been adjourned again until mid-November (see
We are confident that the initial injunction will be overturned because
we believe that there is an overwhelming public interest in the disclosure
of this information.
For more information, including ready-made letters to email, go to our
dedicated website at www.xenodiaries.org.
Links to the Daily Express Articles:
This case is proving very costly in terms of legal bills, and our resources.
Financial help is desperately needed so that we can win this case for
the sake of animals caught in the vivisection industry. Please make any
cheques payable to 'Uncaged Campaigns' and send them to the address at
the bottom of this page.
Stop EU Chemical Testing Program
The European Union (EU) is intending to launch a chemical testing
program which proposes to test over 70,000 chemicals on 10 million animals
over a 20 year period. A Europe-wide campaign to stop these animal tests
has been organised jointly by PETA and the British Union for the Abolition
of Vivisection (BUAV).
A website has been set up which outlines exactly what the EU chemical
testing program will consist of, our objection to it and what you can
do to help stop it.
The website is www.stopEUchemicaltests.com,
or telephone BUAV on 0207 700 4888, or PETA on 0208 870 3966.
Please circulate the information on this site as widely as possible.
It is very important for the Commission to receive letters, petitions
and postcards from as many EU countries as possible opposing this program.
The information on this website should help convince politicians and civil
servants in the EU that non-animal tests are both the most accurate and
Max Newton, Uncaged Campaigns & Tony Vernelli, PETA