News - Wickham labs

Serial offenders caught out again



Daily Echo. 1 December 2010.
Poor practice in killing methods at Wickham Laboratories.

A CONTROVERSIAL animal testing laboratory has been ordered to improve, after a damning report said that it may have allowed animals to suffer unnecessarily.

An investigation by the Home Office into Wickham Laboratories revealed “poor practice” in methods of killing mice and called for improvements to be made in the humane killing of animals.

The report was launched following a series of animal cruelty allegations by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), which infiltrated the laboratory. These included claims that staff were incompetent when it came to killing mice humanely, using either “cruel poisoning tests” or breaking their necks on the floor in the corridor.

Although inspectors found some potential breaches of the lab’s animal testing licence, many of the accusations were found to be unsubstantiated, and testing was confirmed to be “entirely legitimate”.

Of the report’s 12 key findings, problems were identified in four, including the poor practice of killing mice, where it was found to be “inconsistent, at times incompetent and requires improvement”.

The report also agreed with the BUAV that tests were running too long and should be stopped earlier, stating “this may have caused additional unnecessary suffering to protected animals”.

But there was no evidence to back up the majority of concerns raised by the BUAV, and it was confirmed that all testing of botulinum products is for medical purposes and not for cosmetic products or ingredients.

Michelle Thew, BUAV chief executive, said: “We are pleased that the Home Office has substantiated many of the BUAV’s findings, some of which echo our previous investigation of this establishment.

"In light of this report, we call upon the Government to remove the licence from Wickham Laboratories and urgently ensure that the available non-animal alternatives are used.”

Wickham Labs has accepted the findings of the report and has already made improvements in the areas highlighted. Chris Bishop, who has overall responsibility for animal care at Wickham Labs, said: “We have taken seriously the issues raised in this report. Over the last year we have improved our practices and we constantly strive to improve the care of our
animals.

“We are proud of the contribution we make to the world around us and paramount to this is the welfare and care of our research animals.”

 


BBC News. 30 November 2010.
Wickham animal test lab 'suffering unnecessary'.

A research laboratory may have allowed animals in its care to suffer unnecessarily, according to a Home Office report.

An inquiry was launched into Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire after an anti-vivisection group made a series of claims against the facility.

The Home Office rejected most of the claims but upheld others, including concerns about the suffering of mice. The laboratory said it had already taken steps to improve practices. The Home Office said Wickham Laboratories had been guilty of "a number of potential breaches" of its licence conditions.

It upheld concerns about the length of time some mice were kept alive during testing and inconsistencies in the way they were euthanised. The report said mice "routinely" died "in extremis" rather than being euthanised "at an earlier and more appropriate end point".  "It is believed this may have caused additional unnecessary suffering to protected animals in contravention of Condition 6 of the Project Licence," the
report added.

Chris Bishop, head of animal welfare at the laboratory, said: "Wickham Labs is granted licences by the Home Office to use animals because of the vital importance of ensuring that products are safe for the public and for patients. "We have taken seriously the issues raised in this report. Over the last year, we have improved our practices and we constantly strive to improve the care of our animals."

 

 


Portsmouth Today. 30 November 2010.
Animal lab 'guilty of breaching its licence'.

AN ANIMAL testing laboratory breached its licence on several occasions, according to the Home Office.

An investigation was launched into Wickham Labs after complaints of animal cruelty by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) group.

An undercover investigation alleged that mice routinely died in cruel poisoning tests rather than being 'humanely' killed by staff. The group also claimed that staff incompetence in the way mice were killed led to their suffering – including the practice of neck breaking with a pen on the corridor floor.

In a report released today, the government said that while the majority of concerns raised by the BUAV in their report 'have not been substantiated', it identifies 'a number of potential breaches' of its licence.

'Action to deal with these issues is now in hand,' said the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information,Lynne Featherstone.

'Accordingly, the review recommends measures for stricter oversight of Wickham Laboratories and to ensure that procedures for the handover of establishments between inspectors are always carried out fully. These are being taken forward as a matter of urgency. Action is also in hand to identify and take forward wider lessons to be learned from the review
BUAV Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: 'We are pleased that the Home Office has substantiated many of the BUAV's findings, some of which echo our previous investigation of this establishment.

'We are very disappointed, however, that an opportunity to properly enforce non-animal methods has been missed. 'Yet again, despite the Government's claim that we have the best animal-testing regulations in the world, our investigation has clearly shown unnecessary animal suffering and law-breaking in a UK establishment.

'In light of this report, we call upon the Government to remove the licence from Wickham Laboratories and urgently ensure that the available non-animal alternatives are used.'


http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20101130/tsc-lab-animals-may-have-suffered-4b158bc.html
Yahoo. 30 November 2010.
Lab animals 'may have suffered'.

A laboratory infiltrated by animal welfare campaigners may have allowed animals in its care to suffer unnecessarily, according to a Home Office report. Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire was found guilty of "a number of potential breaches" of its licence conditions.

The issue came to light after the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) placed an undercover worker in the laboratory for eight months. Her secretly filmed footage was said to have documented "appalling suffering inflicted on thousands of animals". As a result, an investigation was launched by the Home Office Inspectorate responsible for monitoring animal testing.

A Government statement said most of the concerns raised by the BUAV had not been substantiated. However, the report had identified "a number of potential breaches of the conditions of Wickham Laboratories' certificate of designation and of one project licence." Action to deal with these shortcomings was "now in hand", it said.

The BUAV maintained that mice at the laboratory routinely died in "cruel poisoning tests" involving a product containing botulinum toxin. Rabbits also suffered by being restrained in stocks for many hours at a time while they underwent tests, said the group.

BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said: "We are pleased that the Home Office has substantiated many of the BUAV's findings, some of which echo our previous investigation of this establishment. We are very disappointed, however, that an opportunity to properly enforce non-animal methods has been missed."

Wickham Laboratories welcomed the Home Office report, pointing out that it had found no evidence of the testing of cosmetic products or ingredients. Animal testing for cosmetics is banned in the UK.

The company accepted the report's finding that animals may have suffered unnecessarily as a result of tests continuing for too long. It also accepted that the way mice were killed was "inconsistent" and "at times incompetent".

Chris Bishop, head of animal welfare at the laboratory, said: "Wickham Labs is granted licences by the Home Office to use animals because of the vital importance of ensuring that products are safe for the public and for patients. We have taken seriously the issues raised in this report. Over the last year, we have improved our practices and we constantly strive to improve the care of our animals."