Animal experiments at Imperial College London
The appalling plight of animals in laboratories at one of the UK’s leading universities.
In 2012 Cruelty Free International went undercover at an animal experiments laboratory at Imperial College London. We uncovered the terrible plight of animals used in research at this ‘world-leading’ UK university.
WARNING video contains footage that some viewers may find upsetting
Our investigator worked for seven months at Imperial College London, ranked as one of the best universities in the world. She documented a catalogue of misery and poor practice shedding new light on the reality of animal experiments in the UK. This included:
- animals who suffered even more than was allowed in the experiment because of staff incompetence and neglect
- a failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and pain relief
- breaches and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences which set out what can be done to the animals used in these experiments
- and the shocking way in which animals were killed.
Research was carried out on mice and rats at Imperial College. This included inflicting major organ damage and surgical mutilation, or double kidney transplants. Other animals were forced to suffer invasive surgery where tubes were implanted into their heads so that substances could be injected into their brains.
Some animals were restrained while a long tube was repeatedly forced down their throats and substances injected directly into their stomachs. Others were forced to run on treadmills to avoid electric shocks until they were exhausted.
The animal suffering was, in many cases, severe. Animals were found with weeping or bleeding head and abdomen wounds, diarrhoea, lethargy and hypothermia, and 40% weight loss, amongst many other serious symptoms.
Many animals died during or after surgery, and others had to be killed because of the level of their suffering. Methods used to kill the animals included:
- carbon dioxide poisoning in gas chambers
- Breaking the animals’ necks
- and beheading live animals with a guillotine
Researchers underestimating animal suffering.
Staff poorly monitoring the animals, leading them to suffer even more than was allowed.
Researchers lacking knowledge about how much they were allowed to let the animals suffer and when they should kill the animals to stop their suffering Staff incompetence in killing animals, leading to unnecessary animal suffering.
Using a guillotine to decapitate live rats.
Staff incompetence in surgical and other procedures, resulting in animal deaths and suffering.
Unsupervised researchers with little experience anaesthetising and carrying out surgery on animals.
Staff failing to provide adequate anaesthesia and analgesics to animals used in experiments.
Loud pop music played throughout the laboratory, adding to animals’ distress. The music was played during surgery, while animals were recovering and even during killing.
WARNING image gallery contains graphic images that some viewers may find upsetting