ICL under Fire over Mistreatment of Animals in its Laboratories


Imperial College London has come under fire from the Animals in Science Committee (ASC) over mistreatment of animals in its laboratories.

The committee discovered a series of violations of the legal standards required by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

In a report to the Home Office, the committee stated that it is suspicious about the management qualities of the individual responsible for animal welfare at Imperial.

"The minister should consider whether he can consider to have confidence in the current establishment licence holder at Imperial College London retaining this role," the Committee said, London Evening Standard reports.

The committee also observed lack of communications and standards that might have hindered best practise. Plus, biomedical staff had poor understanding of procedures and the "post-procedure recovery" of animals.

Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), said that if infringements can be found at one of the world's prominent institutions, similar issues might be cropping up at other research establishments as well.

Although the misconducts were identified by the Home Office Inspectorate in 2012, no action was taken. Thew hopes to see some strict disciplinary actions being taken against Imperial College.

Refuting all the allegations, ICL officials said that the establishment licence holder (ELH) who has served in the position since May 2012 has enhanced the college's governance and operational management of animal research. The University supports ELH leadership and governance.

"The College offered to meet members of the ASC and is disappointed that the report was published without the committee taking up this invitation or having any direct contact with the college," ICL said.

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