The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is a UK anti-vivisection group with a history of infiltrations to labs and unsubstantiated allegations against labs. A newly published report from a government investigation reveals just how far the BUAV bent the truth when they made false allegations against the University of Cambridge last year.
Fool Me Twice
In October, 2014, we wrote about how two separate investigations by the Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU; the Government’s inspection unit) found allegations by the BUAV to be almost entirely groundless. In both cases the allegations had followed an infiltration by a BUAV activist.
The first report investigated the BUAV’s allegations against Imperial College London:
Over 180 individual allegations, made by the animal rights organisation, of non-compliance were investigated. Of these, all were found to be unsubstantiated apart from five formal non-compliance cases which have been completed – one category A and four Category B [none of which involved significant, avoidable or unnecessary pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to the animals].
A second ASRU report into BUAV allegations against a pharmaceutical company conducting tests on veterinary medicines found:
No non-compliance with authorised programmes of work was detected apart from two minor issues with no welfare implications.
Our detailed investigations and review of available records and other evidence, does not support the allegations in the investigation report.
So twice last year the BUAV has been found misleading the public with their unsubstantiated claims.
Third Time Lucky?
In the post “The BUAV – Spies, Lies and Videotapes” we discussed an infiltration by the BUAV at Cambridge University. The infiltration and subsequent “expose” regarded research on sheep into Huntington’s and Batten’s disease. The allegations made were that there was “…distressing animal suffering, unlawful regulation by the Home Office, in adequate care of animals and inadequate enforcement by the inspectorate”. The 32-page report by the BUAV was supplemented by a four-and-a-half minute edited video (put together from hours and hours of footage by the infiltrator) but when ASRU officials wrote to them requesting further video footage they might have, the BUAV replied that “there was nothing further they wished to share with ASRU”. One guesses hours of footage of Cambridge University researchers abiding by the laws and regulations was not in BUAV’s interest to share. It also proves that the BUAV’s aim is not to address animal welfare issues at Cambridge, but to score points in their stated effort to “end all animal testing”. This month ASRU released their report into the allegations.
Cambridge had previously provided a strong rebuttal of each the claims made by the BUAV. These claims appear to be a mix of exaggerated information and flatly false information. For instance Cambridge noted:
It is alleged that a lamb had to be euthanized at a UK airport after becoming sick during transit from New Zealand. One of the lambs did appear disorientated on arrival in London, but was cleared by the Veterinary surgeon as being fit to continue his travels. No adverse effects were seen in any of the animals on arrival in Cambridge a few hours later.
ASRU’s report is equally clear about this claim [p.13]:
In summary, we conclude that this allegation is simply untrue in relation to the sheep imported for the Project Licence holder’s research. No animals required euthanasia or were found dead on arrival a Heathrow Airport.
And some of their allegations appear to be of the BUAV’s own making. Cambridge noted:
We are careful to avoid causing stress to the Batten’s disease sheep. As their disease develops, they become confused and can become agitated, particularly when approached by unfamiliar people or surroundings. Thus the animal care team is careful not to isolate any sheep from its flock-mates, allow interaction with strangers, or make sudden or unnecessary changes to their routines. It appears that the BUAV infiltrator not only disrupted their routines in the making of the undercover videos, but also isolated the animals. This will have made the sheep appear more agitated than they are when under routine care.
ASRU have added that [p.13]:
The Establishment has mechanisms in place for whistle-blowing, and it is of note that no animal welfare concerns had been raised by any staff at the Establishment, including the animal rights organisation’s infiltrator…
A similar comment was made in the ASRU report into the Imperial allegations. The conclusion to the ASRU report makes damning reading for anyone who believed in the integrity of the BUAV.
Our detailed investigations, and review of available records and other evidence to do not support any of the allegations made by the animal rights organisation
None of these allegations has been substantiated nor has any allegation given us further cause for concern with regard to compliance with the requirements of the legislation at this Establishment.
Sound familiar? Once again the inspection reports have found the BUAV telling lies, with their spies and their videotapes.
Of the £1.3 million that BUAV spent in 2014 (not including money spent by their three associate companies, Animal Properties, BUAV Charitable Trust and Cruelty Free International), around £200,000 was spent on “Investigations”. Any curious journalist should be asking the BUAV whether they were paying these infiltrators, how much these payments were, and what they expected (video wise) from their employees.
To remind people of what we have said before. These are not casual whistle blowers, but people who are working at animal research facilities with the express intention of creating horrifying videotapes. Be it a school, a hospital, a factory or a restaurant, there are few businesses for which you could not create a cleverly edited 5 minute shock video having secretly filmed for hundreds of hours.
One has to wonder how many BUAV infiltrators are in labs around the UK. Moreover, one wonders, how many BUAV infiltration videos were never publicised due to the lack of shocking footage (even after clever editing)?
Speaking of Research