Adolfo Sansolini, Chief Executive of the BUAV says: "Whilst we are thrilled that this Bill means companion animals could be more adequately provided for, with welfare agencies given the power to act before suffering has occurred, protection for the millions of animals in UK remains lacking. Many of these are companion animal species, exactly the same as your dog or cat on the sofa at home.
At the last count, almost three million animals were used in animal experiments last year, including over 5,000 dogs, 100,000 birds, 200,00 fish, almost 15,000 rabbits, plus horses, cats, ferrets and millions of rodents. In contrast to the Animal Welfare Bill, the law governing animal experiments offers no meaningful protection.
Whilst most people would, quite rightly be punished for deliberately poisoning, burning, blinding or electrocuting their family pet, researchers can apply for a Home Office license to do any of these things perfectly legally. It is still legal under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, for animals in laboratories to be subjected to poisoning, burning, blinding or electrocution, but also to be deprived of food, water or sleep; applied with skin and eye irritants; subjected to psychological stress; deliberately infected with disease; brain damaged; paralysed; surgically mutilated; irradiated; gassed; force fed, electrocuted and killed.
Many people believe that such procedures are necessary for “life-saving medical research” to take place, but the reality is that less than 25% of vivisection is for applied medical research, most of it is to profit pharmaceutical companies. We would argue that whatever the reason, to cause such suffering in another sentient being, for whatever reason, is simply unethical.
Whereas pet owners will have a “duty of care” to ensure their companion animals are provided with a suitable environment; the ability to express normal behaviour; and to be housed with, or apart, from other animals depending on their need, it is normal for animals in laboratories to be unnaturally caged for their entire life in cages not sufficiently enriched. This deprives them of the opportunity to performing their full repertoire of normal behaviour such as exploring, resting, climbing, grooming, foraging, nesting and social behaviour, and causes much suffering even before procedures begin.
How can this still be legal in a nation full of “animal-lovers” such as Britain?"