Animal testing: cruel practices and insufficient controls?

A former animal scientist in a laboratory and a researcher who is a member of a confidential ethics committee in the Animal Testing association. They denounce the brutal killing of rabbits, the infernal rate of samples taken from animals, as well as the insufficient control by the authorities. Accusations that, if true, would amount to cruelty. The 30 Million Friends Foundation calls for a ban on animal experimentation when alternative methods exist.

This could relaunch the debate over animal experimentation. Interviewed in March 2021 by the Animal Testing association, two whistleblowers – who wished to remain anonymous – reveal the horror of animal testing labs. One of them testifies to her experience as an animal worker in a laboratory specializing in rabbit breeding, located in western France, where she worked between 2017 and 2019. [ a pu consulter son contrat de travail, NDLR]. The second, a researcher still working in a large French laboratory according to Animal Testing, denounces the “ interest conflicts which, according to her, would get in the way of ethics committees – responsible for evaluating animal experimentation projects – of which she claims to be a member. Revelations made public by the diary Releasewho was able to speak directly with the two protagonists.

Dead rabbits hitting them against an iron sheet

The former employee says she worked at a service dedicated to rabbit serum samples. To obtain the precious blood fluid destined for the pharmaceutical industry, the animals would be anesthetized there and regularly removed with a needle at the level of the ears and heart. The 30-year-old man denounces the living conditions of the animals, which would be detained” for two in small cages without ever seeing the light of day “: ” some are so stressed they bite their paws to the bone ; there are some that eat all the hair on the neck and make big wounds “, she describes. Conditions that, according to her, are conducive to accidents: “ They had some kind of mezzanine installed in the cages […] The problem is that it’s not very suitable, and the rabbits get their paws stuck in it and break them, so we have to put them down. […] We find at least 3 or 4 like this a day. »

When rabbits are anesthetized and pricked in the heart, they start to howl!

Sent by her employer for a few days of training at the Veterinary School of Nantes, the former technician would then have learned of a very high sampling rate for the animals: “ [Les formateurs] told us that we shouldn’t take more than 4 tubes a week, while we take 12 in less than a week ! » « When they’re numb and you poke them in the heart, they start screaming “, breathes the young woman, reporting the case of an animal in great suffering: “ The rabbit started spitting blood from its mouth, its eyes rolled back. […] [Ma responsable] told me “you take it” […] and they took him out, when he was dying. Finally, she witnesses the slaughter of excess rabbits in the roe deer’s litters – as well as the ” euthanasia » of injured animals – in a barbaric way: « We caught ’em, then we slammed ’em against a sheet of iron […] We beat rabbits almost every day “, she says.

Experiments with animals “to occupy the teams”…

So many alleged infringements, which however would go unnoticed by the veterinary services, with the teams being warned in advance of the next checks. ” We know that day there will be controls, so inevitably they make us polish everywhere “, acknowledges the former employee. By presenting himself as a researcher in another laboratory, a second witness tends to confirm this opacity. ” There is a control of the studies, but no control of the animal during the studyshe regrets. I saw dogs that didn’t even have a blanket and lived all day, 24 hours a day, on concrete. According to this complainant, animal experimentation is not always justified by scientific interest: You have not only scientific issues behind these studies, but economic issues as well. […] and, I heard with my own ears : “because teams have to be busy” ! “.

If the chair of an ethics committee is responsible for animal experimentation, it is a setup.

Responsible for evaluating scientific study projects involving the use of animals, ethics committees would prove insufficient to fulfill their safeguarding role, according to this researcher who claims to have participated in it within her own business. ” There is a minority of people on an ethics committee who have spoken out against a study […], because too heavy, insufficiently justified and because the animal cages no longer complied with the regulationsshe remembers. The alert was given, but the study had begun […]. We asked to stop the study immediately, which was not done. » « If the chair of an ethics committee is responsible for animal experimentation, and if three-quarters of the ethics committee is composed [de ceux qui la pratiquent] – study directors, animal caretakers and technicians – [alors] it’s an act, there’s no counter-power “, she adds.

9 out of 10 French people against animal testing

Through its #Controlonsleslabos campaign, the Animal Testing association urges the government to ” put an end to the impunity of French laboratories by drastically tightening controls » carried out by the veterinary services of these structures. In total, more than 1.8 million animals were used for science in France in 2019, according to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. The 30 Million Friends Foundation is sending a petition to European authorities to encourage Member States to end animal testing, which has already been signed by more than 370,000 people. Once it has been shown that alternative methods exist, 89% of French people are in favor of banning all animal experiments (Barometer of the Foundation 30 Million Friends – Ifop, 2021).


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