Felix, a monkey in the Oxford University laboratory, was used in a sequence of experiments for a year. He was trained to perform repetitive movements and had electrodes surgically implanted in his brain. He was deliberately brain damaged to create symptoms of Parkinson's disease and had the effects on his brain and ability to move measured in tests. Then he was killed.
Felix may be gone, but it's not too late to prevent more animals from suffering as he did.
The license permitting this work allowed the highest level of suffering legally permitted in the UK. Now, the UK has an opportunity to change the law -- a law that controls the fate of more than 3.5 million animals like Felix every year.
Urge the UK government to protect animals and enhance science and human health: Support the most progressive and compassionate measures possible when reviewing the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
Dear Ms May
I, the undersigned, hereby request that the UK government introduces the most progressive and compassionate measures possible when it reviews the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 over the next few months.
[Your comments will be inserted here.]
Not many years ago, a small macaque monkey named Felix was killed after enduring a year of painful experiments at Oxford University. Subjected to an escalating sequence of procedures, including deprivation, "conditioning", invasive surgery and the deliberate infliction of brain damage before being killed, the suffering he faced was legal under current UK law. Every year in the UK, millions of animals are caged, poisoned, restrained, cut open, brain-damaged and subjected to painful, distressing and needless procedures. Regrettably, the new EU Directive 2010/63 has not put an end to animal experimentation. Nevertheless, the review of the 1986 Act that now follows its introduction offers the government an opportunity to protect animals and promote modern, humane and effective non-animal science in the UK.
To prevent even more animals from suffering as Felix did, I urge the UK government to ensure that the new Act:
1. Contains measures designed to maximise development and uptake of non-animal methods and to apply the strictest possible limits on the permissibility of animal experiments that the Directive allows.
2. Ends the secrecy surrounding the control of animal experiments by opening up the regulatory process to the Freedom of Information Act.
3. Permits absolutely no dilution of existing animal protection measures, including the existing bans on Great Ape use and severe and prolonged suffering; the absolute requirement to use non-animal methods wherever available; a requirement for full and detailed scrutiny for every licensed procedure; frequent inspections of animal facilities; housing requirements and euthansasia methods.
The government must also ensure that any new legislation is presented in full to Parliament and that all MPs are given the opportunity to scrutinise and vote on the bill.
Every animal experiment taking place in the UK is currently approved by you, as Home Secretary. In the name of Felix and millions like him, please do not miss this opportunity to protect animals and enhance science and human health.