The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is conducting top-secret tests in its Porton Down military research base in Wiltshire using animals that are exposed to disturbing and cruel experiments, it has emerged.
After raising concerns about the facility in parliament last month by Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, junior defence minister Philip Dunne revealed that almost 10,000 experiments were conducted on animals at the military research base last year, local media reported.
The ‘disturbing and cruel’ experiments include live pigs being blasted with explosives and forced to inhale mustard gas, monkeys being infected with anthrax and guinea pigs being killed with nerve agent, said the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), British media reported.
Meanwhile, according to the minister, more than 1,000 animals have been added to the cycle of military experiments during the last three years, and almost 10,000 pigs, rabbits, monkeys and rodents have been used in last year alone.
Dunne referred to the rise in the number of animals being used saying that the figure has increased from 8,452 in 2009 to 9,582 in 2010 and 9,882 in 2011 respectively.
Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) currently conducts 21 licensed animal procedures, most of which fall into the ‘substantial’ severity category which may cause ‘significant or prolonged animal suffering’, according to the minister.
Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock expressed shock over the number of animal experiments and said that what is more shocking is that six of six of the projects are directly funded by US defence agencies.
“I was shocked to learn that almost 10,000 animal experiments are taking place at Porton Down every year, including ones inflicting substantial levels of suffering”, said Hancock.
“The details were not included in the annual statistics published by the Home Office and many people will be totally unaware that this suffering is occurring”, he added.
Meanwhile, BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said: “It is alarming that almost 10,000 animal experiments for military purposes took place in 2011 and that many animals were subjected to the most extreme suffering categorised by the government”.
“Some of the animal research conducted at Porton Down was even funded by the US defence agencies”, Thew highlighted.
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