BUAV – Help the Dogs

The BUAV has uncovered, for the very first time, the dark secret behind the medical research industry – the mass production of man's best friend. Stop them making a killing with dogs' lives.

Day: March 16, 2022

End the Use of Dogs in Research

End the Use of Dogs in Research

End the Use of Dogs in Research – To our shame the United Kingdom is Europe’s biggest user of dogs for vivisection.

In 1998 nearly 7,000 dog experiments were performed in the UK, using 5,575 dogs.

Hundreds more were killed for their blood and organs, or simply because they were ‘surplus to requirements.’

Over the years, the BUAV has campaigned consistently to end the use of dogs in research.

By visiting our website you can see for yourself just why dog experiments are so cruel and scientifically unjustified.

Please join our campaign, and help the BUAV to end their suffering once and for all.…

The Breeding Industry – Factory Farms for Dogs

The Breeding Industry – Factory Farms for Dogs – “Breeding dogs purely for scientific research, that is for the purpose of experimentation, as if their lives were irrelevant, is science gone mad. In the end, nothing good can be produced from the crazed ambition that demands this supply of animals or the incomprehensible greed that produces them.” Julie Christie, actress.

By far the most common breed of dog used is the beagle; of the 8,185 experiments performed on dogs in 1999, 7,317 used beagles.

Cross-breeds (853 procedures in 1999) and others such as greyhounds are also used but in smaller numbers.

UK law stipulates that certain species of animals (including dogs) used for experiments should be ‘purpose-bred’ (however a loophole does exist that will allow the use of non-purpose bred animals in some circumstances).

Therefore most dogs which end up in the laboratory, started life in a ‘breeding factory’, as part of the ‘puppy production line’.

In 1999, the BUAV exposed the British arm of one of the world’s biggest breeders of animals for vivisection, Harlan (UK) Ltd.

A BUAV investigator infiltrated the company, employed in the dog breeding unit at Harlan’s site in Belton, Leicestershire, as part of a gruelling 10 month undercover investigation.

Her diary and video evidence reveal the shocking truth behind the heavily guarded security gates of Harlan UK, and for the first time ever blew the lid on the secret world of the breeding industry.

She catalogued numerous breaches of government guidelines, the mass killing of perfectly healthy dogs considered ‘surplus to requirements’, and the miserable daily existence of bored and overcrowded young dogs who often violently attacked each other.

Go to our Making a Killing pages to read our investigator’s harrowing report.

Breeding animals for the vivisection industry is big business.

The parent company of Harlan UK, US based Harlan Sprague Dawley, claims to supply over 200 stocks and strains of animals in nine countries world-wide, including genetically manipulated and surgically altered animals, as well as animal by-products such as blood and organs.

Commercial breeders such as this advertise their animals over the internet and in trade publications where animals such as dogs, cats, pigs, primates and rabbits are simply referred to as ‘research products’ or ‘global toxicology models’ and customers can order any number of animals from a ‘product guide’.

The companies promise ‘fast processing’ of orders and overseas shipments, and their adverts show pictures of happy, healthy looking dogs or cats being cuddled by laboratory technicians.

The truth behind the glossy advertising is of course very different; what the advertisers do not show is the appalling pain and suffering these animals endure once they reach the client.

When challenged about the use of animals in testing, the vivisection industry often defends itself by emphasising the fact that they are ‘purpose-bred’ for vivisection.

The implication is that they are somehow different from ‘ordinary’ animals and should not therefore be seen in the same light as our own pet dog or rabbit.

The truth of course is that animals bred for use in vivisection have the same capacity to suffer both physically and psychologically as any other animal, the only difference being that purpose-bred animals are never intended to live out their life in a loving home. They are simply born to die in a laboratory.…

Examples of Dog Experiments

Examples of Dog Experiments

Examples of Dog Experiments – “No-one who has ever enjoyed the loyal company of a dog could condone this callous treatment of a species that we have bred to trust us.”
Colin Baker, actor.

Around the world dogs are used for a variety of different experimental purposes and procedures.

In the UK they have been used to test agrochemicals, household products, pharmaceuticals, food additives, industrial chemicals and medical devices as well as for dental research and studies of the heart and circulation, respiration, muscles, bones and the digestive system.

Manufacturers of products such as fertilizers or household cleaners rarely publish details of animal studies they have conducted or commissioned, because of commercial confidentiality.

They also want to avoid the obvious negative publicity resulting from consumers discovering that dogs have been forced to swallow or inhale their latest product.

Published experiments for medical research are more widely available, but the true nature and extent of animal suffering is still very much kept behind closed doors.

Here are a few examples of dog experiments conducted in the UK that the BUAV has successfully exposed.

When reading these experiments, it is important to know that under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, dogs are supposed to receive special protection, so that researchers are required to offer specific justification for the use of dogs in procedures to ensure that they are only used when ‘absolutely necessary’.

In practice however, it would appear that little attention is paid to this requirement. Go to Legislation to find out more about the 1986 Act.

Beagles used to test Viagra: conducted by Pfizer Central Research, UK.

In October 1998 the BUAV exposed horrific experiments on dogs and other animals by drug company Pfizer, to test the anti-impotency drug Viagra.

The BUAV revealed that Pfizer’s researchers at Sandwich, UK, mutilated the penises of beagle dogs in order to investigate the effects of Viagra on pressure and blood flow to the penis.

Under anaesthesia the dogs’ penises were skinned and a needle inserted for recording pressure.

A nerve to the penis was electrically stimulated repeatedly, and the effects of doses of Viagra studied.

Pfizer’s researchers were granted a licence by the Home Office to perform these gruesome experiments despite the fact that Viagra had already undergone clinical trails and was already being administered to patients suffering from impotence.

These experiments were not conducted to establish the safety of Viagra, but simply as an investigative test to see how the drug worked.

More humane and relevant approaches to understanding how Viagra works could have been conducted using human penis tissue, or non-surgical and ethical studies involving human volunteers.

Beagles used in toxicity experiments at Huntingdon Research Centre (now Huntingdon Life Sciences), Cambridge, 1989.

In 1989, BUAV investigator Sarah Kite worked undercover at this facility for 8 months, during which time she was able to photograph and document a variety of toxicity experiments conducted on dogs.

Her evidence revealed the shocking suffering of dogs used in short and long term toxicity studies at a typical UK contract testing laboratory.

These tests ranged from dripping substances into the beagles’ eyes and feeding agrochemicals in their diet to force feeding them chemicals, drugs and household products in capsules via plastic tubes forced directly into their stomach.

Some beagles were also subjected to subcutaneous and skin toxicity tests as well as infusion studies where they were strapped into harnesses for up to 8 hours a day to have substances pumped directly into their bloodstream.

Toxicity experiments in general can result in extremely distressing side-effects and severe pain and suffering: vomiting, unsteady gait, diarrhoea and bloody diarrhoea, excessive salivation, tremors, inflamed and discharging eyes, excited behaviour, floppy muscles, pilo-erection (hair standing on end) as well as toxic effects on organs such as the heart, liver and testes.

Ultimately of course, the dogs can also eventually die during the experiment – they are literally poisoned to death.

As for those dogs who survive the experiment, they will all be killed at the end of the study and their bodies examined post-mortem for toxic effects.

Finally, at the end of their brief lives, the dead dogs are placed in rubbish sacks to await incineration; in the world of the laboratory their death has no more significance than the disposal of industrial garbage.

Beagles used to test anti-anxiety drug by Quintiles, Edinburgh, 1997-98.

Contract testing company Quintiles used 18 beagle puppies aged between 7­10 months, to test the anti-anxiety drug Lu 28-179, due to be launched on the market in 2002.

The test was commissioned by Danish drug company Lundbeck.

During the experiment the puppies were subjected to massive surgery involving their chest being cut open and electrodes sewn into their heart.

The dogs then had the drug infused into their veins. The tests were intended to measure heart activity and blood circulation.

After two hours the puppies were killed under anaesthetic.

The BUAV was able to reveal that during these tests, Quintiles’ researchers failed to comply with parts of the experimental protocol and, as a direct result of human error, two dogs were not able to be used in the test and were therefore killed before the end of the experiment.

One dog (no. HO289) had a major artery torn during surgery and was killed before the drug was even tested; the other dog (no. HO313) had the drug infused into its vein for the wrong period of time ­ it too was killed.

The protocol also specifically stated that the dogs should be fed a particular diet but, in fact, they were given a completely different food.

Quintiles also failed to conduct measurements that should have been part of the health checks prior to the tests.

The highest dose of anaesthetic was also sometimes exceeded, in addition to one blood sample being lost and other blood samples being incorrectly labelled.

Surprisingly however, despite the apparent significance of these errors, they were not seen by Quintiles to have any bearing on the results.

Beagles used in blood mobilisation study at the University of Leeds, published 1999.

11 beagles were used.

Under anaesthetic their windpipe was cut open for artificial ventilation, their chest was cut open to monitor blood pressure and heart rate, and their abdomen was also cut open so that nerves in the liver could be artificially stimulated with electrodes.

In the published paper there is no explanation as to why so many beagles were used in this experiment, and the authors offer no justification for the experiments whatsoever.

It is probable that the tests were conducted simply to enhance our understanding of blood physiology, a purpose that is not easily justified.

There are distinct and significant differences between the circulatory systems of humans and dogs, making extrapolation to humans of any information from this study highly questionable.

These dog experiments are also a partial repetition of previous findings, to which the authors refer in the published article.

For example, it is already well known how the liver blood volume can change in response to nervous stimulation.

Beagles used to test anti-migraine treatment by Pfizer, Kent, published 1998.

A group of beagles were anaesthetised and vessels removed from their leg and the base of the brain.

The dogs were then killed under anaesthetic. The removed tissue was used to test the chemical eletripan as an anti-migraine treatment.

This study was granted a licence despite the fact that eletripan had already entered clinical trials involving human testing in 1996 and so its potential as an anti-migraine treatment was already known when these dogs were killed.

It would appear from the available published data that the dogs were killed purely to remove tissue, ie: just to provide body parts.

The use of dog tissue at all cannot be sufficiently justified considering human cells in culture had already previously been used to study eletripan.

Arteries from the human brain and leg can easily be obtained post mortem, in fact similar such studies involving human tissue had also been conducted in the past.

The published paper goes on to discuss the authors’ surprise that data from dog tissue differed from that using human tissue.

However, their possible explanation for the conflicting data seems to ignore the obvious distinct biochemical differences between the two species.

Beagles used in diabetes research at St Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals, London, published 1998.

During these experiments, four beagles were anaesthetised and given excess amounts of insulin for two hours to stop their body producing its own insulin.

By doing this, the researchers induced an artificial diabetic state in the dogs.

They then went on to examine the effects of a novel insulin-like protein on liver glucose stores (they wanted to know if the new protein was physiologically similar to natural insulin).

Each dog was subjected to five experimental protocols, each lasting 8.5 hours.

The potential of new insulin treatment for diabetes can be alternatively investigated using human volunteers.

Using volunteers from the thousands of British people living with diabetes, would have presented a far more ethical and reliable study than the use of a biochemically different species with an artificially induced diabetes-like state.…

Why Are Dogs Used ?

Why Are Dogs Used ?

Why Are Dogs Used ? – “Either the animal is not like us, in which case there is no reason for performing the experiment; or else the animal is like us, in which case we ought not to perform an experiment on the animal which would be considered outrageous if performed on one of us.”
Professor Peter Singer

There are very few valid scientific reasons for experimenting on dogs.

The data gathered from dog research, like all animal experiments, is not automatically relevant, reliable or even necessary.

There is no special similarity between the way drugs behave in dogs and in humans, and indeed dog test results can often be extremely misleading when compared with human test results.

For example, dogs have higher enzyme activity than humans for six important liver enzymes, but lower activity compared to humans for four other liver enzymes.

Dogs are also shown to be hypersensitive to cardiotoxicity, which can complicate interpretation of cardiovascular studies.

Such species differences are absolutely vital when considering how drugs and compounds are metabolised (processed by the body), and the doubt they cast over the inherent reliability of dog and other animal studies to the human model, cannot be dismissed.

A recent report by the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) & the RSPCA revealed that, out of 60 published reports by drug companies, in almost all cases (92%) the use of dogs did not provide any additional, relevant information whatsoever.

The authors concluded that dogs are currently being used without proper or compelling scientific justification.

So why then do dogs continue to be used in such high numbers?

The real reason is because the size and nature of the dogs used offers more practical than scientific benefits to the researchers and laboratory technicians.

Dogs, particularly beagles, have become a convenient ‘experimental tool’ for researchers mainly because of their manageable body size and placid nature.

From a practical viewpoint, they are easy to handle and manoeuvre during procedures such as blood sampling or drug infusion.

And being gentle creatures who crave human contact, particularly in the stark and loveless world of the laboratory dog unit, they can be easier to subdue and control during experiments than some other animals.

In fact, far from there being any robust scientific reason behind the use of dogs, particularly in toxicology, their routine use came about almost by default.

Calls by regulatory authorities in the 1960s for the use of a rodent and a non-rodent species in toxicity experiments led to the start of dogs being used in large numbers.

This was soon followed by the growth of an industry purpose-breeding dogs for vivisection, which could supply these animals to laboratories on demand.

The use of the dog as the requisite second ‘non-rodent species’ for such tests, despite no regulatory requirements for the use of this specific species, has resulted in a worldwide reluctance by manufacturers and contract laboratories to seek alternatives.

Because dogs have been used for so many years, product manufacturers claim that regulatory authorities would question the use of anything else in their submitted test data, resulting in delays in product registration and cost implications.

A significant amount of the safety and toxicity tests using dogs conducted by British contract testing companies such as Huntingdon Life Sciences and Quintiles, is for overseas clients.

In order to satisfy regulatory authorities in countries such as Japan and the United States, these overseas companies may insist on longer-term experiments involving greater numbers of dogs than would be required under UK or EU legislation.

So to save time, money and to prevent the regulators from delaying product registration, multi-national drug firms, household product manufacturers and chemical companies continue to demand the use of dogs despite a lack of scientific justification.…

Cruel & Unethical

Cruel & Unethical

Cruel & Unethical – “The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?”
Jeremey Bentham

All animal experiments are licensed by the Home Office under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 as likely to ’cause pain, suffering or lasting harm.’

The majority of experiments (65% in 1998) are conducted without using any anaesthetic, and animals that do not die as a result of an experiment, are killed at the end of the procedure (some animals are used in more than one procedure).

The BUAV opposes all animal experiments on ethical and scientific grounds.

We believe that all animals have the right to a life free from deliberate harm, pain, suffering and torment.

Vivisection is surely one of modern society’s grossest abuses of non-human animals, the deliberate and systematic infliction of pain, sickness, injury and death on sentient creatures.

Sanctioned by our government, millions of animals each year are legally poisoned, burned, mutilated, electrocuted, brain damaged, paralysed, infected with disease, genetically manipulated, surgically altered, psychologically tormented and killed.

Like humans, all animals are capable of feeling physical pain and suffering, and to varying degrees they too can experience fear, stress, boredom, depression and psychological distress.

Exposing animals to systematic physical or emotional abuse in a laboratory, for whatever reason, is morally unjustifiable.

The vast majority of dog procedures are for toxicity (poisoning) testing.

The dogs are dosed with a test substance such as an insecticide, a pharmaceutical or industrial chemical.

This is administered by mouth (capsules added to food or by ‘gavage’ where a tube is forced down the throat and the substance pumped directly into the stomach);

by injection (the substance injected directly into the bloodstream); by inhalation (where the dog is forced to breathe in a test substance) or less usually, applied to the skin and eyes.

Doses may be given once or repeatedly over several weeks, months or up to one year.

Chemical safety testing, using most of the methods above, can last for up to 24 months.

The dogs are then isolated in individual housing so that the resultant toxic effects can be observed.

Toxic effects include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation, body tremors and unsteady gait, inflammation and discharge and internal organ damage.

All dogs will either die as a result of the experiment, or be killed at the end of this or subsequent procedures.

Dogs are highly intelligent, sentient and social animals with a complex range of physical as well as emotional needs.

There can be no question that subjecting dogs to such serious toxic effects obviously causes severe pain and suffering.

As any attentive dog owner will testify, dogs are also capable of feeling fear and of recognising and reacting to a familiar but unpleasant action.

Just as the abused dog will learn to fear the raised stick that reminds him of previous painful beatings, so too do laboratory dogs suffer the emotional trauma of having to submit to distressing procedures they have repeatedly endured.

As part of the BUAV’s Secret Suffering campaign, undercover investigator Sarah Kite revealed her eye-witness accounts of beagle toxicity experiments at contract testing company Huntingdon Research Centre.

On one occasion, on being sent to collect dogs for dosing with an anti-dental plague agent, she found beagles “petrified and cowered in their cages.

They laid on their backs, their bodies pressed firmly against the furthest corner of the cage, their legs pitifully stretched out in front of them.

Many of the beagles were shaking, others went rigid with fear. These animals knew exactly what was about to happen to them.”

In another account she describes how many dogs struggled, choked and regurgitated capsules containing a component of food-wrapping that was being forced down their throat.

Even in-between procedures, the dogs continued to exhibit signs of psychological distress.

She recalls that whilst cleaning out their cages, dogs were often “visibly shaking and often so scared that they were unable to leave their cages whilst I cleaned them out.

Instead they remained cringing in the corner and I had to clean around them.”

As highly intelligent and social animals, dogs require a great deal of individual love and attention in order for them to remain emotionally balanced and fulfilled.

Every dog has a different and distinct set of personality traits and emotional requirements which, in the home environment, a responsible dog owner can recognise and respond to.

As pack animals, dogs need to feel a part of a group or family unit in order to feel secure, and the love, care and attention that the family gives their dog is essential for its emotional welfare.

A dog in the laboratory however, receives none of this individual love and attention.

Its naturally trusting nature and craving for human interaction is betrayed on a daily basis, and the only close human contact it is likely to receive is during painful and distressing procedures.

All dogs also require a good deal of daily outdoor exercise, play and stimulation.

They need to explore different sights and smells, have the opportunity to run freely in order to keep their muscles and heart healthy and to use up their boundless energy.

None of this vital environmental enrichment can ever be reproduced in the laboratory.

In some cases the only exercise a laboratory dog may receive is a short period (maybe 20 minutes) to pace up and down an enclosed corridor of cages whilst its own cage is being cleaned out.

They lead an enclosed, isolated existence bereft of comfort or stimulation, and such deprivation can easily result in severely disturbed and depressed animals.…

Introduction & Statistics

Introduction & Statistics

Introduction & Statistics – “I despise and abhor the pleas on behalf of that infamous practice, vivisection. I would rather submit to the worst of deaths, so far as pain goes, than have a single dog or cat tortured on the pretence of sparing me a twinge or two.” Robert Browning (1812-1899)

Every year thousands of dogs suffer and die in British laboratories in cruel and pointless experiments.

They have been used to test a large range of substances such as agrochemicals, household products, pharmaceuticals and food additives as well as for studies of the heart and circulation, respiration, muscles, bones and the digestive system.

During short and long term experiments, lasting anything up to one year, these dogs are subjected to the most appalling cruelty in the name of science and commercial interest.

And in most cases, at the end of their brief life confined in the laboratory, many still barely two years old, every dog will be killed.

The following figures, based on Home Office statistics, show the range of procedures these dogs are forced to endure, and the number of dogs killed for experiments over the last 4 years for which we currently have data.

Dog experiments reached their peak in Britain in 1989 at a staggering 12,625 procedures, but the UK still remains Europe’s biggest user of dogs for vivisection and the rate of decrease in their use has slowed down markedly in recent years.

In 1999, despite considerable criticism from anti-vivisection and animal welfare groups, the number of dogs used in research was still shockingly high.

According to Home Office figures a total of 5,933 individual dogs died in 8,185 experiments (some dogs are used in more than one experiment.)

However, the BUAV estimates the true figure to be considerably higher.

The government does not currently collate statistics on dogs (or other animals) killed for their blood and organs, or those killed because they are inappropriate ‘non conforming products’ or ‘surplus to requirements’.

The annual statistics also only reflect the number of new projects starting within that time period, and the number of dogs they involve.

They do not include work already in progress, for example if an experiment involving a group of 20 dogs began in 1997 but continued into 1998, those 20 dogs would not be included in the statistics for 1998.

The BUAV is urging the government to collect and publish proper statistics, so that the true number of dogs dying for vivisection will at last be known.

World-wide the death toll is even more shocking.

Most countries around the world do not collate proper records of how many animals are experimented on each year and so the statistics we do have are incomplete.

In Japan 73,000 dogs were used in 1990 and in the United States a staggering 82,000 were used in experiments in 1996, and 76,071 in 1998.


Dog use in EU Member States 1996 (and 1997)
Country: 1996Number of dogsTotal no. of animals
France (1997)4,2902,609,322
The Netherlands1,243652,300
Source: CL Broadhead, M Jennings & RD Combes: The Critical Evaluation of the Use of Dogs in the Regulatory Toxicity Testing of Pharmaceuticals, 1999. Publ. FRAME.
Type of procedures using dogs in UK 1998Number of procedures using dogs in UK 1998
Total procedures on dogs6,828
drug safety procedures3,775
other medical & dental research2,071
chemical & other safety tests500
biological research (fundamental & applied)422
veterinary research264
breeding dogs with harmful genetic defects10
Type of toxicity test on dogs in UK 1998Number of toxicity tests on dogs in UK 1998
Drug testing3,188 (3,045 dogs)
Agrochemicals267 (265 dogs)
Substances used in industry26 (13 dogs)
Quality control24 (9 dogs)
ADME & residue
(drug absorption, distribution through the body, metabolism & excretion)
563 (353 dogs)
Medical device safety16 (15 dogs)
Method development11 (11 dogs)
Other purposes180 (180 dogs)
Total toxicity tests4275 (3,891 dogs)
Type of toxicity test on dogsNumber of dogs used 1998Number of dogs used 1997Number of dogs used 1996Number of dogs used 1995
Drug testing3,0453,7054,0703,171
Substances used in industry1314119
ADME & residue
(drug absorption, distribution through the body, metabolism & excretion)
Medical device safety15200
Method development1111200
Other purposes180666540
Quality control92200
Efficacy testing01200
Toxicology research0200
Household products008432
Food additives00127
Total toxicity tests3,8913,9255,3804,230



Alternatives – “Before the bar of human justice, vivisection stands condemned on three main counts: cruelty to animals, uselessness to Man, and obstruction on the path of true knowledge.”
Dr. M. Beddow Baily, M.D., IRCP, Member, Royal College of Surgeons.1

In 1959 two British scientists, Russell and Burch, developed the concept of the three Rs: Reduction (scientists should reduce the number of animals used in experiments);

Refinement (scientists should minimise pain and distress to animals by modifying their experiments) and Replacement (there should be the replacement of all experiments on animals through the use of suitable non-animal methods).

Even though it has been many years since Russell and Burch developed this concept, it has only been in recent years that major progress has been made in the field of alternatives research.

Their development is particularly important as alternative methods are not only more humane but can in fact be more reliable than animal tests.

In 1986 two forms of legislation were passed that in theory promoted the concept of the 3 Rs, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and the 86/609/EEC Directive (binding in all E.U countries).

However, despite it being a legal requirement under these laws for scientists to find non-animal alternatives, in practice they are reluctant to do so.

The research establishment views animal based tests as ‘traditional’ and prefers to maintain the status quo, despite its obvious flaws, rather than embrace the more humane and scientifically credible technology of non-animal science.

At the time of the 1986 Act, the then government claimed that “the reduction in the number of animals used and the reduction of suffering is at the heart of the Bill”,

and yet over a decade passed and a change in Government before the UK banned animal testing for cosmetics, arguably the most trivial and indefensible use of research animals.

Resistance to change amongst the majority of researchers and a lack of serious commitment from government, means that the development and implementation of alternatives is an extremely low priority.

The amount of money the government dedicates to alternatives is miniscule when compared with that invested in animal research.

Whilst millions of pounds is pumped into animal testing, the UK government set aside a mere £259,000 during 1998-1999 for research into the 3 Rs.

Yet even where refinements and alternatives already exist, ineffective monitoring and implementation frequently mean that researchers continue to ignore them without fear of reprimand.

In 1999 the BUAV threatened to legally challenge the UK government on a point of principle for continuing to issue licences for the infamous LD50 test when three other validated methods of determining the acute toxicity of a substance (using less animals) were already available.

Although the BUAV does not accept refinements as alternatives to animal research, the fact that the Home Office continued to allow scientists to ignore these refinement methods was a clear breach of both UK and E.U law, and made a mockery of provisions under the 1986 Act.

In November 1999 the government finally admitted that the BUAV’s interpretation of the law was correct, leading to the end of issuing licences for the LD50 (toxicity) test.

However, this example clearly demonstrates the level of resistance within industry and government to alternative methods of research.

Another major obstacle is presented by the regulatory authorities.

Before a non-animal method can be used as a full replacement to an animal experiment, it must go through a ‘validation’ process.

(This is despite the fact that, in their development, animal experiments were never subjected to such a rigorous validation procedure.)

Validation requires that the non-animal method must be tested against the equivalent animal test it is intended to replace.

However, as one of the main scientific arguments against animal testing is that it is inaccurate, how can a potentially useful and scientifically accurate alternative be accepted if it must compare to a test that is experimentally flawed?

Data from animal experiments are simply not sufficiently scientifically robust to be used as a benchmark for the development of alternative methods. Instead, for real progress to be made the scientific community urgently needs to adopt a total change of attitude.

Rather than remaining stuck in the science of the past it must refocus its efforts on the technology of the future.

Following are a few examples of the range of non-animal methods that could end the use of dogs and other animals in experiments.

This particular range concentrates on the areas of research where dogs are more commonly used such as toxicity and cardiovascular experiments.

Cell cultures

The use of human cell and tissue cultures has produced a range of alternatives for toxicity testing and biomedical research.

Human cells or tissues are taken from cadavers or following surgery via biopsies or excisions, and are kept in nutrient fluid to help them grow in vitro (in the test tube).

Only one cell can produce numerous cultures and therefore provides a more economical as well as biologically relevant and humane alternative.

Scientists can use a battery of 5 integrated cell culture techniques to test the toxicity of a substance.

By combining the information they can assess how that substance would affect the whole body.

This system, called the EDIT Program, is currently being developed in Sweden using human cultures.

In vitro tests can also be used to investigate target organ toxicity.

A human corneal epithelial cell line has been developed to produce a model of the human cornea (the front of the eye).

Primary cultures of human corneal epithelial cells are transferred to produce the HCE-T cell line.

The HCE-T cells are cultured on membrane inserts to produce a 4-6 layer epithelium.

This can be used to assess the toxic effects of chemicals on barrier function.

In vitro methods are also already available to study the toxicity of the lens and retina.

A combination of two other in vitro methods, the FRAME fluorascein leakage test (FL test) and the Alamar BlueTM assay can be used to establish the potential ability of chemicals to cause toxicity.

In vitro methods can also be used to study the effects of chemicals on electrical and mechanical activity of the heart, coronary perfusion, potassium channels & myocardium.

Artificial organs and systems

Artificial systems are a major breakthrough. A group of scientists in the Netherlands has developed the ‘Techno-tum’ or artificial gut to mimic the action of the gut to study absorption of chemicals.

Another example is the ‘POP Trainer’ consisting of artificial organs with a simulated blood supply.

The development of these systems could play a major part in replacing the use of animals, particularly dogs, in experiments.

Computer and mathematical models

Predicting toxicity from the molecular structure of drugs is now possible with sophisticated computer software that analyses structure-activity relationships (SARs).

This works on the understanding that chemical activities, for example unwanted toxic effects or desirable therapeutic effects, are dependent on molecular structure.

In fact, the chemicals involved in the triple AIDS therapy were developed through the use of computers which analysed the viral enzyme and predicted the kinds of chemicals that would block its action.

Furthermore, such chemicals (which have now been proved safe in humans and beneficial treatment for AIDS patients) were initially delayed by the pharmaceutical industry, as they were harmful to dogs.2

Physiologically based pharmacokinetic models (PBPK models) are already used to predict absorption, distribution, metabolism & excretion (ADME) of compounds per species / per route of exposure, and mathematical models are also currently being developed to simulate heart function.

Oxford scientists are currently using computer models capable of reconstructing heart rhythms to explore how heart attacks might be prevented.

3 Running on Europe’s largest supercomputer, the models comprise 30 million equations and over one million virtual cells and behave almost exactly like a living human heart.…

June 2000: In The Can – pet food tests exposé

June 2000: In The Can – pet food tests exposé – The BUAV has uncovered alarming evidence of animal testing in the international pet food industry.

Well-known companies that promote themselves as caring for the health and well-being of our pets have in fact carried out, collaborated on or funded experiments on animals.

A large proportion of the research has taken place in the USA, but some has also been conducted in other countries including the UK.

The animals involved, mainly cats and dogs can spend almost their entire lives as experimental tools, enduring years of procedures that have the potential to cause anything from discomfort and distress to severe pain and suffering.

Our investigation makes disturbing reading and will shock loving pet owners everywhere.

Beagle at Waltham

The global pet food market is highly competitive and lucrative.

In the UK alone it is worth £1.5billion, and worldwide it is estimated to be a massive $25billion.

The evidence we have uncovered involves major companies (or researchers employed by them) such as Alpo Pet foods (Nestlé), Pedigree Pet Foods (Mars), Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Colgate-Palmolive), Ralston Purina and Iams (Proctor & Gamble).

Examples of pet food experiments from outside the UK:

15 cats, fed until obese, were then starved by only being given completely unpalatable food (called ‘voluntary starvation’ by researchers).

They lost 26-40% of their body weight and developed severe muscle wasting, dehydration, lethargy, major blood abnormalities and swollen and damaged livers.

When finally given normal food, 11 were unable to eat and had to be tube-fed. (Part funded by Alpo Pet Foods, USA).

To discover the sodium requirement of kittens, 18 kittens aged between 11-15 weeks were isolated in small steel cages for up to 26 days.

Sodium deficiency resulted in loss of appetite, stunted growth, excessive thirst and urination. (Part funded by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, USA).

10 dogs had a tube surgically inserted through the abdominal wall into the stomach.

They were then fed a formula directly by the tube, either intermittently or in small continuous amounts, for 10 days.

After an 11 day ‘rest’ the dogs were tested again with the feeding regime. (Funded by Ralston Purina, New Zealand).

9 dogs had their stomachs opened up and a tube sewn in connecting the small intestine with the outside of the body.

The tubes were in place for on average 26 weeks during which a number of complications occurred, including post-operative wound infections, leaking of caustic gut effluent causing ulceration, inflammation and abscesses.(Funded by Alpo Pet Foods, USA).

42 puppies fed a zinc-depleted diet for 2 weeks suffered deficiency symptoms such as crusted plaques on their face and feet, lethargy and anorexia.

In a further test, 5 out of one group of 6 puppies kept on a zinc-free diet had to be removed from the test as their symptoms were so severe.

At the end of the test, dew claws, one canine tooth and testes were removed from all puppies for zinc analysis. (carried out at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, USA).

Labradors at Waltham

In the UK, Pedigree Pet Foods carries out experiments on cats and dogs at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.

In 1997 Waltham claimed to have carried out studies on over 25 breeds, ranging from Yorkshire terriers to Irish Wolfhounds.

Shockingly, some of the dogs were purchased from registered Kennel Club breeders.

Waltham experiments are considered to be ‘low-invasive’ compared to other pet food research conducted primarily in the USA.

However, the cats and dogs still endure years of unnecessary procedures with the potential to cause real suffering or distress.


  • isolation of dogs for long periods – dogs are highly sociable animals
  • endoscopy (tissue samples taken from the colon via the anus)
  • frequent changes in diet during trials – dietary changes can cause digestive distress
  • giving warm water enemas and inserting flexible tubes into the colon
  • regular anaesthetics – in 1998 one dog was anaesthetised 5 times in 13 weeks
  • application of a skin irritant
  • plucking 50 hairs from the base of the tail

In one test, water levels in the colon were measured. 6 ‘sensitive (known to be sensitive to diet) and 6 ‘robust’ dogs were used.

All the dogs were given a food that is known to cause diarrhoea in the sensitive dogs.

While sedated, the dogs were then given an enema and dialysis bags made of flexible tubing were manually inserted through the rectum.

Prior to granting a licence to experiment, UK legislation dictates that the Home Office shall weigh the likely adverse effects on the animals concerned against the likely benefit of the experiment.

The BUAV believes that the granting of licences for pet food companies cannot be justified under this cost/benefit assessment.

Some individual researchers who had sabbaticals at or collaborated with Waltham, have performed much more severe experiments, often funded by pet food companies.

One researcher at the University of Bristol was supported by Waltham in an experiment where cats were isolated in a plastic chamber 30x45x30cm for 6 hours or longer.

Each cat underwent this procedure four times, once whilst fully conscious.

Beagle at Waltham

It is ethically unacceptable for animals to suffer in tests carried out or funded by commercial pet food companies.

Just like the happy looking cats and dogs portrayed in pet food advertising, animals should be treated with respect, free from any unnecessary suffering.

Pet owners will be shocked to discover that, behind closed doors, these same companies are prepared to inflict suffering in order to sell their products to unsuspecting and caring owners.

Please support the BUAV’s campaign to end animal testing by the pet food industry.

Latest Update

Since the launch, the BUAV has been working hard to open a dialogue with all the major pet food producers and testers implicated by our campaign.

We’ve also contacted all the major supermarkets and smaller manufacturers, to inform them of the “It’s in the can” campaign and to push for an ethical policy if one is not already in place.

So far, the following companies have sent us assurances that their pet food is “not tested on animals”.

The following products cannot be formally “approved” by the BUAV or listed as “cruelty free”, not least because the majority contain meat and animal by-products.

The “not tested on animals” status of the companies listed, is the result of extensive dialogue with the BUAV and the provision of company testing policies.

Burns Pet Nutrition
Tel: 01554 890482

“I can confirm that Burn’s Pet Nutrition does not carry out any animal tests and that includes palatability trials.

Any evaluation of palatability is purely subjective i.e.

I give a sample of food to friends and ask them to let me know if their dog/cat eats it.” John Burns, Chief Executive, Burns Pet Nutrition.

Dodson and Horrell Ltd – Chudleys
Tel: 01933 624221

“Dodson and Horrell carry out regular palatability trials on both our Chudleys products and our equine products.

Such trials are by way of providing samples of products to staff who have dogs/horses and asking for feedback on how their dog/horse responded to the product.

This is the only type of testing we undertake.”

HappiDog Pet Food (Vegetarian Society Approved)
Tel: 01325 311 444

“Happidog does not undertake testing of any sort on any product.

We believe that producing natural foods to a constant reliable recipe negates any need for [this] type of testing…”

Marks and Spencer – own brand
Tel: 020 7935 4422

“Marks and Spencer sells a range of pet food products which have been developed without the use of any invasive animal testing techniques.

Marks and Spencer will not develop any product using either invasive testing techniques or utilising any captive animals used purely for testing purposes.

Instead we will continue to utilise techniques used in the development of our existing products, namely palatability testing using domestic animals and carried out in the animal’s home environment under the supervision of the animal’s owner.”

NatureDiet Pet Foods Ltd
Order line: 01428 685 050

“As a company we support your stand against the tests being carried out on animals in a laboratory environment.”

NatureDiet Pet Foods conduct ‘palatability’ trials on the final product by placing a bowl of food in front of the dogs.

Assessment is made of how interested the dogs are in the food, how much they eat and whether they eat straight away.

All the dogs used are family pets belonging to some of the company’s customers, and all trials are conducted in the dogs’ own homes. No invasive tests take place at all.

Oscar Pet Foods
Tel: Freephone 0500 855267

“As Oscar Pet Foods sell only to the general public, all tests on our products are carried out by giving free samples to our network of franchisees, along with a questionnaire to check palatability.”

Premium Pet Foods LTD – Nutro
Tel: 01494 775222

“Nutro does not participate in any form of animal testing or animal cruelty nor do any of our ingredients suppliers…

Furthermore, Nutro will not sell its products to organisations that participate in such activities. Nutro supports the goals of the BUAV and does not support any form of animal abuse.

It is our intention to improve the health of animals.”

SUMA Wholefoods
Tel: 01422 345 513

No animal testing conducted or commissioned in the development or manufacture of pet food.

Tel: 01255 830004

“We have used a food technologist and nutritionist who advised on contents and the requirements of dogs and cats. NO experiments or tests were undertaken.

The advice received was purely theoretical.”…

Get Active

Get Active

Get Active – “It makes me physically ill when I think about the pain and suffering these dogs have to endure.

There is no excuse and no need in these technologically rich times ­ this research is archaic and totally barbaric. Please stop it.” Jenny Seagrove, actress.

There are loads of ways you can help the BUAV campaign to end the use of dogs in research.

Dogs in laboratories have no voice, they cannot speak for themselves.

That’s why it’s so important that organisations such as the BUAV, and its supporters, work together to speak out on their behalf.

Remember to make all letters / faxes / emails brief and polite ­ it’s much easier to dismiss a two page letter full of insults than a well-thought out and concise communication.


  1. Email the minister responsible for animal experiments, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Mike O’Brien MP, at the Home Office’s Research Development and Statistics Directorate at rds.ho@gtnet.gov.uk demanding an end to the use of dogs in research. You can also send a fax on: 020 7 273 2190 or write to: Mike O’Brien MP, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AT. Pass on the Home Office’s contact details to as many people as possible in order to achieve maximum impact.
  2. Send off for a free Dogs 2000 Campaign pack full of information about dogs in research and the BUAV’s campaigns. Inside you’ll find your own free copy of the BUAV’s national poster “A dog is for life… unless it’s in a UK laboratory”*. Display the poster where it will be seen by as many people as possible; ask your local health-food shop or library if they will display the poster for you.
  3. The BUAV is asking MPs to call for an urgent review of the use of dogs in research. Write to your local MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA and ask him / her to write to the Home Office to press this issue on your behalf. You can find out the name of your MP by phoning the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272 or emailing HCIO on hcinfo@parliament.uk
  4. Write to your local paper about the issue and publicise the BUAV’s campaign. Many people still don’t realise that dogs are used in UK experiments at all! Let your voice be heard locally! Address your letter to the Letters Editor and mark it ‘For Favour of Publication’.
  5. Local radio phone-in programmes often focus on the issue of vivisection ­ this could be another opportunity for you to speak out about dogs in research.
  6. The BUAV’s Making a Killing video about the breeding of dogs for research is a powerful campaigning tool ­ call the BUAV office to buy your copy priced £9.99.
  7. Buy your own copy of the BUAV’s book “Secret Suffering: Inside a British laboratory” and read about Sarah Kite’s account of her undercover investigation at Huntingdon Research Centre. Priced £4.95.
  8. Sponsor a BUAV advertisement in your local paper or publication of your choice. Large or small, adverts really help to get our message out to the general public. Call the BUAV office for details.
  9. Help raise vital funds for our campaigning, lobbying and undercover work. Visit Support the BUAV to find out how you can help ensure that the BUAV’s work continues into the future. As well as becoming a supporter, there are loads of ways you can hold your own fundraising event to help laboratory animals.


1. Write a letter to the Home Secretary asking for an end to animal testing by pet food companies

The Home Secretary
Home Office

2. Write to your MP at

The House of Commons

3. Write to the following companies calling on them to stop carrying out or funding animal tests

Mars (UK) Ltd
Dundee Road

Nestlé UK Ltd
St Georges House
Park Lane

Colgate-Palmolive (UK) Ltd
Guildforrd Business Park
Middleton Road

Proctor & Gamble
Lovett House
Lovett Road
TW18 3AZ

Ralston Purina Company
Windham Road
CO10 2XD

Make a donation

Make a donation

Make a donation – The BUAV receives no Government funding and the nature of our work means that we cannot benefit from the National Lottery.

We receive very little money from Companies, the bulk of our funding coming from the general public.

We are fighting a multi-million pound industry and, to make our voice heard, we need as much public support as possible.

In return, we undertake to use every penny wisely and to maximum effect.

There are a variety of ways to support the BUAV, and if we’re going to consign vivisection to the history books, we really do need your help.

So, here’s how to make a difference…

Make a donation

No matter how large or small, your money will be put to immediate good use.

Making a donation to the BUAV couldn’t be easier.

In the near future we’ll be able to accept donations online but, in the meantime, you can make a credit card donation by calling 020 7700 4888, or can send a cheque or postal order to BUAV, 16a Crane Grove, London N7 8NN.

In the interests of security, please don’t send cash through the post.

Become a Partner for Life

Why not consider making a regular commitment to the BUAV.

“Partners for Life” receive special notification about upcoming campaigns, and reports about how a campaign is progressing as it happens.

This information is available in print, by telephone or via email ­ the choice is yours.

As a Partner, you also receive a welcome pack including a membership card, certificate, and leaflet about our campaigns, together with a Campaigner’s Pack, full of ideas for becoming involved.

You also receive invitations to special Partners for Life events, together with access to the Partners for Life area on BUAV’s website (giving you the chance to “talk” to other supporters and receive up-to-the-minute information).

Partners for Life is designed to keep you fully up-to-date with BUAV campaigns, giving you as much or little direct involvement as you wish.

To become a Partner for Life, all we ask is that you donate £5 per month by direct debit. That’s only 16 pence a day!

For further details, please call Graham Newnham on 020 7700 4888, ext. 118.

Run a Fundraising Event

From a coffee morning to a cruelty-free makeover stall ­ and all points in between ­ there are literally thousands of ways of raising funds (and of course awareness) through a fundraising event.

We can help in a variety of ways, including giving advice on different types of event, about local regulations that might apply, and by providing supporting literature, posters etc.

For an activities starter pack, contact Graham Newnham on 020 7700 4888, ext. 118.

A Lasting Gift

With no statutory funding we rely on legacies for a significant proportion of our income. Without supporters remembering us in their will, we wouldn’t be able to campaign as effectively to end animal experiments.

We appreciate that the decision to leave a bequest to the BUAV is a major one, so we’ve produced a legacy pack and video to guide you through the process.

The first step is to call our Legacy Officer, Joanna Westley, on 020 7700 4888, ext. 119.

If you would like to discuss any area of fundraising – perhaps you have an idea of your own that you’d like to explore with us – please feel free to call our Head of Fundraising, Jim Thomson, on 020 7700 4888, ext. 116.…

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