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Home office questioned

THE GOVERNMENT was forced to answer allegations that it is ignoring its legal duty to ensure animal suffering is kept to a minimum in UK labs, in a case being heard by the High Court this week as week go to press.

A High Court Judge considered extensive evidence that the Government turns a blind eye to substantial suffering of animals in Home Office licensed experiments, and therefore misleads the public in its assurances that regulation of animal research UK is ‘strict’ and that ‘animals don’t suffer.’

The Judicial Review is based on extensive video and documentary evidence collected by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection during a ten month undercover investigation of a Cambridge University neuroscience primate lab during the years 2000/2001.

The BUAV was awarded a rare Costs Protection Order by Mr Justice Bean last year to enable it to bring the case in the public interest after the Home Office projected its defence costs would amount to up to £150,000.

A Costs Protection Order is a discretionary measure the courts have in order to ensure cases against public institutions can be brought in the public interest by individuals or groups that would otherwise be unable to take the risk of having to pay compensate the institution for their legal costs if their case is unsuccessful.

A judgement on the findings of the hearing is not expected to be delivered for several weeks, with September or October being touted as possible months for the publication of any ruling.