Perverse and irrational - The ombudsman's report
into illegal cruelty in animal research
18 April 2008
Perverse and irrational - The ombudsman's report into illegal cruelty
in animal research
The Ombudsman's investigation has been shambolic and strongly
indicates a bias in favour of the Home Office. In particular, the
investigation report makes a basic error when it confuses the facts
of this case, which corresponds to the most severe level of pain
and distress. Click here to read our statement.
29 June 2007
Lobby your MP for inquiry - EDM 1718
A Parliamentary Motion - Early Day Motion 1718 - highlights the
fundamental flaws in the Ombudsman's report into the Diaries of
Despair. EDM 1718 calls upon the Government to establish an independent
inquiry into the affair. Click
here to lobby your MP to sign a Parliamentary Motion calling
for an independent inquiry.
30 January 2007
Commons inquiry demanded into Ombudsman whitewash
Following Uncaged's historic legal victory which allowed publication
of leaked xenotransplantation research documents, a complaint against
the Home Office was lodged with the Parliamentary Ombudsman. However,
the Ombudsman's report (ref: PA-2823), laid before Parliament on
15 December 2006, is a fundamentally flawed whitewash. This is
basically a cover-up of Government collusion in illegal animal
here to read on.
30 January 2007
On 15 December 2006, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
laid before Parliament a report that dismissed
Uncaged's complaint of maladministration in respect of the Home
Office's regulation of Imutran's pig-to-primate xenotransplantation
research. We believe that the PHSO's investigation
and report are fundamentally flawed. We submit that the PHSO's
investigation has been opaque, ambiguous and partial, and their
report fails to reach coherent, evidence-based judgements. Click
here to read our briefing.
16 November 2005
Ministry of deception
Dan Lyons updates Uncaged's indefatigable quest for justice over
Home Office 'Diaries of Despair' cover-up. Click
here to read on.
18 November 2004
Parliament increases pressure for Imutran xenotransplantation inquiry
The Government is coming under massive pressure after 165 MPs signed
a Commons motion calling for an independent inquiry into the legality
of pig-to-primate organ transplant experiments. Meanwhile, a new
Uncaged briefing reveals how the Home Office is misleading Parliament
and the public over its role in covering-up this illegal cruelty.
Click here to find out more, and how you
can help us keep up the pressure for justice.
18 November 2004
A massive 165 MPs signed Early Day Motion 685 - "Uncaged Campaigns".
calling for an independent inquiry into the legality of pig-to-primate
organ transplant experiments, ranking it in the top 3% of EDMs in
terms of parliamentary support. The Motion, which has now expired,
calls for an independent inquiry into damning evidence of Government
bias and misconduct in its regulation of the Imutran research programme.
We are aiming to have the EDM re-tabled as soon as the new session
of parliament starts after the Queen's Speech.
26 July 2004
Letter in Nature bolsters campaign
The campaign for a public inquiry into controversial pig-to-primate
transplant experiments is gathering further momentum this week.
Following lengthy discussions and document inspections between Nature
and Uncaged, the prestigious science journal has decided to publish
our letter complaining of serious malpractice on the part of Government
animal research Inspectors. Click here to
read our news release.
06 May 2004
Day of action announced for June
We urgently need your assistance to take this
campaign forward. Your participation is the key to achieving justice
for animals - who depend on all of us to stand up and be counted
as defenders of their welfare and rights. Please participate in
this Day of Action on - or around - Saturday 26th June, which is
aimed at lobbying MPs and educating the public and media. Click
here to find out more.
29 April 2004
MPs shirk investigation into Imutran animal testing scandal
The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has decided not to
investigate the Home Office's misconduct revealed by the Diaries
of Despair. Despite Uncaged's intense lobbying, supported by hundreds
of members of the public and several MPs, the Committee has turned
its back on its duty to hold the Government to account for wrongdoing.
The Home Office has not been cleared, and the scandal remains unresolved.
Click here to read our news release.
26 February 2004
New Diaries of Despair EDM tabled
The Uncaged Campaigns Parliamentary Motion calling for an independent
inquiry into the Diaries of Despair scandal has just been re-tabled
as of yesterday (25 February). The 'Early Day Motion' (EDM) is number
685, and already has 20 signatures. It is absolutely vital that
together we put maximum pressure on the Government by informing
our MPs about the horrific and illegal Imutran experiments, and
persuading them to join the campaign for justice by signing the
EDM. Our case is totally compelling. This is our opportunity to
make a historic difference for animals.
10 February 2004
New report exposes more deceit and law-breaking by Home Office
Uncaged's new report on the Diaries of Despair scandal has uncovered
yet more systematic misconduct on the part of the Home Office in
its enforcement of animal research regulations.
The report is titled "In a collapsed state", a double
reference: firstly to damning observations of dying monkeys following
pig organ transplant experiments conducted by Imutran at HLS; and,
secondly, to the regulatory system which is supposed to scrutinise
vivisection proposals. Click here for our
press release and to read the report.
10 February 2004
Day of action report
On Saturday 7th February there was a concerted effort by animal
advocates across the UK to ensure the Home Office is held to account
for its role in the Diaries of Despair affair.
Campaigners took to the streets with information stalls in over
60 different towns and cities all over the UK - from Cornwall to
the Scottish Highlands - to ensure the Home Affairs Committee comes
to the correct decision; to prevent the Home Office from getting
away with their latest attempt to mislead MPs; and to educate the
public about the reality of vivisection in the UK. Click
here for more details.
07 January 2004
Letter to MPs in response to Home Office claims
Our campaigning has been so effective that, just before Christmas,
Home Office minister Caroline Flint felt it necessary to write to
all MPs, and the Home Affairs Committee (HAC), in a further desperate
bid to defend the Home Office and head off an inquiry.
This latest letter represents the most aggressive, dishonest and
insulting statement from the Home Office yet - they are seriously
rattled! Here at Uncaged we have worked extremely hard to put the
record straight, and we have already written to all MPs to rebut
convincingly the Home Office's falsehoods. Click
here to read our letter.
26 November 2003
153 MPs call for Diaries of Despair inquiry
House of Commons Early Day Motion 1340, calling for an independent
inquiry into the Diaries of Despair scandal, has now expired with
the end of the Parliamentary session. The motion attracted a fantastic
153 signatures, placing it in the top 3% of EDMs in the last session.
In spite of a bitter and devious battle waged by the Home Office
in defence of its actions, huge swathes of MPs have been convinced
that the Home Office has a case to answer over its licensing of
Imutran's lethal and torturous xenotransplantation research. Uncaged
is currently working towards the re-tabling of the EDM in the new
Parliamentary session in order to maintain the pressure on the Government
- watch this space!
11 November 2003
Guardian reports MPs calls for Diaries of Despair inquiry
The Guardian today reports on relentless progress towards a parliamentary
inquiry into the harrowing Diaries of Despair scandal "MPs
urge inquiry into Huntingdon xenotransplantation". Uncaged
are also giving a talk to MPs this evening on the affair.
Dan Lyons pays tribute to Uncaged supporters:
"Up and down the country, Uncaged supporters
have done a fantastic job in bringing the issue to MP's attention.
Thanks to their diligent efforts, 146 MPs have now signed a motion
calling for an independent judicial inquiry and the Home Affairs
Committee may initiate an inquiry, taking the issue to the top of
the political agenda. The Home Office's excuses are transparently
inadequate - we've really got them on the ropes and their defences
are falling apart. We've all got to keep pushing now to try and
secure a historic victory."
Click here for the latest Uncaged
indictment of Home Office misconduct and a failure to punish illegal
cruelty by Imutran and Huntingdon, revealing how primates were left
to suffer and die in their cages after pig organ transplant experiments.
10 September 2003
Home Office forced to apologise over complaints about spin
The Home Office has been forced to apologise for ignoring formal
complaints that it had misled members of the public over its role
in controversial animal experiments. Click
here to read our press release.
05 September 2003
Urgent call for lobbying of MPs
Uncaged Campaigns will be intensifying the pressure with a second
national day of protest on 20th September 2003. The Diaries of Despair
campaign is a truly historic opportunity in the battle against vivisection
- let's seize this chance and strike a blow against barbarism! Every
single person can do their bit - justice for animals can only be
achieved if people make a stand in their defence. Click
here to find out how you can help.
31 July 2003
Home Office may face inquiry over Diaries of Despair
The Guardian reports a major breakthrough
in the Diaries of Despair campaign. MPs from Parliament's Home Affairs
Committee have written to the Home Office to demand answers about
the Diaries of Despair scandal. Uncaged supporters have lobbied
the Committee to great effect, asking the MPs to launch a full inquiry
into damning evidence of biased and illegitimate conduct by the
Home Office, leading to the horrific Imutran experiments at HLS.
Read our news release and memorandum
to the Home Office.
10 July 2003
Ministers split over animal cruelty scandal
The Junior Health Minister, Dr Steven Ladyman MP, has broken ranks
with the Home Office over the handling of controversial experiments
involving the transplantation of genetically-modified piglet hearts
into the necks of wild-caught baboons. In correspondence with a
constituent, the Thanet South MP called the Home Office's 'average'
severity categorisation of the experiments "ridiculous"
and expressed disbelief that such experiments could be allowed in
Britain. Click here to read our press release.
05 June 2003
All-party Commons Motion calls for inquiry into Government-licensed
MP's from across the political spectrum have tabled a Commons Motion
calling for an independent inquiry into evidence of Government misconduct
which led to severe suffering for primates. Early Day Motion
1340 also welcomes a historic legal victory by animal protection
group Uncaged which has enabled the publication of over a thousand
pages of leaked confidential documents and the accompanying 'Diaries
of Despair' report. Click here to read our
03 June 2003
Home Office response is evasive and misleading
The standard Home Office reply to Diaries of Despair protest letters
is, true to form, profoundly evasive and misleading. The next stage
is to lodge a complaint regarding this letter - a sample letter
is now available in the letters section.
The length of this complaint letter is testament to the level of
inadequacy and inaccuracy in the Home Office letter. Please take
your time to study the letter in relation to your initial letter,
the Home Office response, and the evidence on the Diaries of Despair
website. If you have composed your own letter rather than used the
standard reply, you may have to amend this sample complaint letter.
Informed campaigners are effective campaigners!
30 May 2003
Day of Action calls for inquiry
On Saturday 7th June 2003, campaigners across the country will
hold simultaneous events to call for an independent inquiry into
the Diaries of Despair scandal. Why not visit your MP's surgery
and speak to them directly to press them to support the campaign
for an independent inquiry. Click here to find
out how you can participate in Diaries of Despair Day 1.
30 May 2003
MP's demand answers from Home Office over Diaries of Despair scandal
In a potentially significant development, an influential committee
of MP's have responded to public concerns by seeking answers from
the Home Office about the horrific Diaries of Despair scandal. Concerned
people have been writing to the Home Affairs Committee, complaining
about the Home Office's biased and dishonest enforcement of animal
experimentation regulations in the UK. Click
here for sample letters.
20 April 2003
Pressure mounts for inquiry into Government collusion in horrific
Hundreds of pages of documents obtained in two leaks reveal Government
complicity in promoting horrific pig organ transplant experiments
on monkeys and baboons at the controversial Huntingdon Life Sciences
testing labs. News release and four
20 April 2003
Historic victory for Uncaged Campaigns
Today's Observer breaks the news of an historic victory for Uncaged
Campaigns following a gruelling 30 month legal battle. Uncaged Campaigns
has won the right to publish over a thousand pages of documents
that describe in unique detail harrowing experiments involving the
transplant of pig organs into five hundred higher primates. See
our news release and articles from the
Observer and Sheffield
23 September 2002
Protest report and photos
Demonstrators gathered in Central London on the 2nd anniversary
of the publication of the Diaries of Despair report, to demand an
independent judicial inquiry into the Government's failure to enforce
laws in approving licenses for animal experiments. For the full
report and photos click here.
15 August 2002
Briefing - the need for an independent judicial inquiry
"I have today received a very detailed
briefing from Uncaged Campaigns which sets out in great detail as
to why this Early Day Motion is important. I therefore have no hesitation
in signing it."
(Quote from an MP lobbied by an Uncaged
The briefing is a detailed presentation
of the case for an independent judicial inquiry, focussing particularly
on Government misconduct. Obviously, we are still severely hampered
by the injunction but this document gathers together all the relevant
information which is in the public domain. Read also a review
of the briefing by Dr David Mitchell.
10 July 2002
Legal aid awarded
Following a year-long battle, Uncaged Campaigns' director Dan Lyons
has finally been awarded legal aid in the battle to defend against
Imutran and Novartis Pharma's claims for damages and costs over
breach of confidentiality and copyright following the publication
of the Diaries of Despair report and leaked documents on 21 September
2000. In defending the case, the Defendants are also aiming to overturn
the injunction currently banning the publication of the leaked information.
10 July 2002
100 MPs sign EDM 516: "Imutran Ltd"
Over a hundred MPs from all parties have now signed Early
Day Motion 516, entitled "Imutran Ltd", which calls
for an independent judicial inquiry into the Diaries of Despair
scandal. Dan Lyons observes:
"The scale of support for this EDM is a testament
to the increasing, widespread concern about the Government's biased
position on animal experiments, specifically its lack of concern
for animals and their welfare and its close relationship with the
companies it falsely claims it 'strictly' regulates. It's also a
tribute to the actions of our dedicated supporters who have lobbied
their MPs to sign."
26 June 2002
RSPCA report released
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
has at last published it's report into the Diaries of Despair affair.
The RSPCA successfully applied to the Court to have full access
to the documents that otherwise are currently still the subject
of a Court injunction (which we are still battling to overturn).
The full RSPCA 'Diaries of Despair' report can be read and downloaded
from the RSPCA
website. Please visit this site as soon as possible and download/print
the report. A full commentary of the RSPCA report from Uncaged (including
its ramifications for our campaign and legal case) will be available
12 June 2002
The legal proceedings brought against myself and Uncaged Campaigns
by Imutran & Novartis Pharma are still ongoing. The argument
in favour of an independent judicial inquiry is very similar to
central aspects of our Defence in the legal proceedings brought
against us by Imutran and Novartis Pharma as they seek a permanent
injunction preventing us from publishing the report and documentation.
We have contested the proceedings for twenty months now, mostly
without legal representation. That situation appears likely to change
soon for significant reasons. More details.
14 February 2002
EDM 516: Imutran Ltd
Please contact your MP and ask them to sign EDM 516 entitled 'Imutran
Ltd'. The Diaries of Despair campaign
has the potential to bring real change by revealing the corruption
which backs vivisection in the UK and we are managing to bring a
great deal of pressure to bear on the Government by being doggedly
determined and thorough in our approach. You can help. Click
here for the EDM and a sample letter to send to your MP.
10 October 2001
Government response condemned
The Government's response to the Diaries of Despair report has
been condemned as "dishonest" and "inaccurate"
by the author of the exposé.
The Home Secretary refused, without explanation, to implement an
independent judicial inquiry, which is required in instances of
Government wrongdoing. Instead, the Home Office has continued its
biased policy in its response to the Diaries of Despair report.
Click here to read our detailed response
to the Chief Inspector's report.
23 September 2001
Three hundred protesters descend on Home Office to demand independent
Three hundred protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square on the first
anniversary of the publication of the Diaries of Despair report
and leaked documents that told the story of the most vicious vivisection
project in Britain in recent history. The inspirational protest
was launched by rousing speeches from Kathy Archibald (Animal Aid),
Dr Caroline Lucas (Green Party MEP for South East England) and Dan
Lyons (Uncaged Campaigns). They tore into those responsible for
pig-to-primate organ transplant research and the Government's incestuous
relationship with the vivisection industry. Click
here for the full report.
18 September 2001
Protest to mark first anniversary
On Friday 21st September, hundreds of demonstrators will gather
in Central London to call for an independent judicial inquiry to
investigate evidence of severe cruelty and systematic flouting of
The protest will gather at Trafalgar Square at 12.00pm with speakers
including Dr Caroline Lucas (Green Party MEP for South East England)
at 12.30pm. The march will set off at 1pm down Whitehall. Protest
petitions containing 150,000 signatures will be submitted to 10
Downing Street. The march will finish outside the Home Office at
50 Queen Anne's Gate. The climax of the protest will be a mass 'die-in'
with hundreds of protesters wearing primate costumes and masks 'dying'
in the road outside the Home Office - representing the hundreds
of primates sentenced to a torturous death by successive Home Secretaries.
12 August 2001
Diaries of Despair "die-in" and petition hand-in:
Central London, Friday 21st September 2001
It is vitally important that as many people as possible join with
us on 21st September (the anniversary of the breaking of the scandal
in the Daily Express) to express our outrage at these experiments
and the roles of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), Imutran/Novartis,
the Home Office, the Prime Minister and others.
Plans for the day:
- Please come with monkey facemasks or face paint, and a monkey
outfit if possible. Also bring: banners, placards, whistles and
- Gather at 12 noon on Trafalgar Square, London.
- We hope to have speeches by Andrew Tyler (Director, Animal Aid),
Dan Lyons (Director, Uncaged Campaigns and author of the Diaries
of Despair report), Norman Baker MP (Lib-Dem), and Tony Banks
- Followed by a "Tour of Shame" of organizations implicated
in the scandal - e.g. Association of the British Pharmaceutical
Industry (ABPI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) etc. ending
at the Home Office.
- Then a "Die In" in front of the Home Office.
- Finally, at about 2pm, we will hand in 100,000 petitions to
No.10 Downing Street.
With your help, we can make the 21st September 2001 a landmark
appeal for justice for animals tortured and killed by HLS and Imutran/Novartis
and abandoned by this shameful New Labour Government.
14 August 2001
RSPCA Inquiry call increases pressure on Government
The RSPCA has called on the Government to set up an independent
judicial inquiry into the Diaries of Despair affair. Following a
resolution passed by RSPCA members at the charity's recent AGM in
June, the charity has written to the Home Secretary, David Blunkett,
urging him to establish a judicial inquiry.
The RSPCA intervened in the legal case brought by Imutran against
Uncaged Campaigns in order to obtain permission to produce a report
based on the leaked 'Diaries of Despair' information. The charity
had downloaded the information before Imutran forced the closure
of Uncaged Campaigns' www.xenodiaries.org website that had originally
published thousands of pages of confidential documentation. The
RSPCA report may be published within a few months. More.
6 April 2001
Major new documentary will explore xenotransplantation
Carlton TV has produced a major new documentary - "Organ Farm"
- to be screened in three one hour instalments on ITV in June*.
The programme includes appalling footage of US researchers transplanting
a pig's heart into the neck of a baboon. The Diaries of Despair
report and the Daily Express articles reveal that similar procedures
were licensed by the UK Home Office and conducted by Imutran Ltd.
at Huntingdon Life Sciences.
The documentary also features the destruction of pigs and the decapitation
of piglet foetuses to extract brain cells. Uncaged Campaigns' Director
Dan Lyons was interviewed for the programme as a leading critic
of xenotransplantation research. A version of the documentary has
already been broadcast across the US on the Public Broadcast Service.
here for the informative website which has been set up to accompany
the US programme, including a transcript of the interview with Dan
* Sunday 10th June 2001 11.05pm; Weds 13th June 11.30pm;
and Sunday 17th June 11.05pm (times subject to slight regional variation).
4 April 2001
Daily Express scoops international award for Imutran exposé
At a star-studded ceremony in California on 10 March, the Daily
Express has been presented with the Ark Trust International Award
"for an alarming and courageous two-part exposé of the
pharmaceutical company Imutran, and its subcontractor Huntingdon
Life Sciences, revealing a hideous house of xenotransplantation
The two journalists who wrote the story, Lucy Johnston and Jonathan
Calvert, were presented with the award by film star Tim Curry. The
annual Genesis Awards are an annual presentation by The Ark Trust,
honouring "outstanding individuals in the major media whose
artistry and journalistic integrity have increased public awareness
of animal issues." The ceremony will be aired across the US
on Animal Planet station on May 12 & 13.
Here at Uncaged Campaigns, we would also like to extend our congratulations
to Lucy, Jonathan and the Express for a brave and immensely significant
piece of journalism. They are well worthy of the award!
08 February 2001
Government experts sound death knell for pig organ transplants
The Government's expert advisory committee on cross-species transplants
has expressed serious doubts about the prospects of successful pig-to-human
organ transplants. The committee, called the United Kingdom Xenotransplantation
Regulatory Authority (UKXIRA), held its third annual public meeting
yesterday at Westminster. The Authority's Third Annual Report was
also launched at the meeting. For the full
news release click here.
23 January 2001
Media misses point of HLS protests
The media's coverage of the campaign to close HLS has, on the whole,
been pathetic, lazy and ignorant. Even the Express, normally one
of the more balanced media, has joined the bandwagon. I was saddened
and shocked to read an Express editorial (23 January 2001) 'Animal
rights and wrongs' supporting Huntingdon Life Sciences. But the
Express knows better than most the grim reality for animals doomed
to suffer and die at HLS.
Last September, as you will know, the Express bravely revealed
the horrific suffering inflicted on monkeys and baboons in pig-to-primate
organ transplant experiments, based on leaked documents. The journalists
who wrote the piece, Lucy Johnston and Jonathan Calvert, have won
an international award for their stunning expose. They described
how one monkey which had a pig heart attached to the blood vessels
in its neck was seen holding the transplant which was 'swollen red'
and 'seeping yellow fluid' for most of the last days of its life.
They also told the world how 'there is much evidence of shoddy work
inside the centre. The documents show animals have been wrongly
re-used in experiments and on hundreds of occasions scientists have
failed to take readings and measurments from animals following operations.'
Some of the mistakes lead to painful deaths: 'A female monkey had
to be euthanased the day after she was given a quadruple overdose
of a powerful drug.' The records note that she was shaking and grinding
her teeth, and the firm who contracted HLS to conduct the experiments,
Imutran Ltd, condemned HLS for its 'unacceptable mistake.'
Huntingdon Life Sciences should have been closed by the Government
over three years ago because it failed to comply with its animal
welfare law. The sad truth is that the Government has misled Parliament
and the public, and turned a blind eye to illegal acts at HLS because
its priority is to protect commercial interests, not uphold the
rule of law. It is because of the Government's craven and unethical
attitude that HLS has been particularly targetted by animal rights
activists. Ironically, right next to the opinion piece, Simon Hinde
refers to Labour's 'slavish and degrading courtship of business'.
It is the government (and the media) that needs to listen to reason
and see sense - animal rights campaigners are streets ahead in this
12 January 2001
Judgement announced: injunction upheld
On Thursday 11 January 2001, the High Court in London upheld the
injunction requested by Imutran/Novartis preventing Uncaged Campaigns
and Dan Lyons from revealing the truth about the company's horrific
pig-to-primate organ transplant experiments. The judge has stopped
us from publishing any of the leaked information whatsoever.
"We are completely stunned by this extreme ruling," said
Dan Lyons. "The judge has completely disregarded our defence,
dismissing both our right to freedom of expression and also the
right of the public to know the truth about this intensely cruel
research programme and the complicity of the Home Office. We had
expected a carefully reasoned and objective ruling, which is the
opposite of what we actually received. It's a depressing indictment
of the British judicial system." According to our information,
the judge, Sir Andrew Morritt, has two hobbies listed in Who's Who:
fishing and shooting.
We are currently considering the judgment and assessing our options.
A full reaction and report will appear here soon.
Many of you who have seen the Imutran documents and read our report
will be as shocked as we are at this ruling. If you have any comments,
reaction, thoughts or reviews to make on:
- the evidence you have seen
- the Diaries of Despair report
- the judgment
then we would love to hear from you (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
as we wish to collate and publish as much reaction as possible.
04 January 2001
Judgement date announced: 11 January 2001
At 2pm on Thursday 11th January 2001, the Vice Chancellor at the
High Court in London will decide on an application for an injunction
to prevent the public from having access to details of a horrific
programme of animal experimentation. The injunction is being sought
by the Cambridge-based biotechnology company Imutran Ltd, and concerns
documents leaked from the company to Uncaged Campaigns that describe
it's programme of pig-to-primate organ transplant research conducted
at controversial testing centre Huntingdon Life Sciences. For
the full news release click here.
18 December 2000
The case of Uncaged Campaigns vs Imutran was finally heard in
the High Court by the Vice Chancellor on Monday 18th December 2000.
The Vice Chancellor will now consider the evidence and make a judgement
13 December 2000
SmithKline Beecham letter
A letter received by a supporter from SmithKline Beecham (SKB),
demonstrates the kind of tactics employed by supposedly reputable
corporations. Apart from SKB's unfair attempt to undermine the reputation
and integrity of the Daily Express story and Uncaged Campaigns,
it is misleading regarding the Home Office's position on HLS. The
Home Office has not stated that HLS was not at fault, rather the
Home Office has refused to even consider the evidence of HLS's mistakes.
While the evidence of wrongdoing remains suppressed by Imutran,
companies like SKB will be able to attack our integrity and deny
the truth of our assertions. If what we had said was untrue, we
would be facing a libel trial, not a breach of confidentiality action.
here to view the letter (PDF)
12 December 2000
Straw vetoes inquiry into horrific primate suffering
In an extraordinary announcement, the Home Secretary has refused
to investigate a research programme involving the horrific suffering
and deaths of hundreds of higher primates. The research into cross-species
transplant experiments also involved breaches of the law and was
littered with hundreds of errors, some of which had painful and
lethal consequences for the monkeys concerned. For
the full news release and correspondence click here.
29 November 2000
Stars call for independent judicial inquiry into xenotransplantation
The following stars have signed up to a statement
calling on the Government to set up an independent judicial inquiry
to investigate Imutran's pig-to-primate research programme:
- Joanna Lumley
- Annie Lennox
- Peter Gabriel
- Jilly Cooper
- Bruce Forsyth
- Benjamin Zephaniah
- Vernon Coleman
- Alexei Sayle
- Chrissie Hynde
- Hayley Mills
- Julian Clary
Particular concern is expressed about the Government's failure
to enforce animal welfare regulations in the course of this research,
such as a British and European law that is supposed to ban the infliction
of severe suffering on animals during vivisection.
Dan Lyons, director of Uncaged Campaigns and author of the Diaries
of Despair report commented:
"We are really pleased that these busy people
have taken time out to support this absolutely vital campaign. The
only way we can hope to discover the whole truth about this horrific
affair and ensure that lessons are learnt is for a truly independent
inquiry to be implemented.
"The Home Office have been exposed as having
no interest in even enforcing current legislation, so we must have
a completely independent inquiry. There is a culture of callousness
and indifference within the Home Office regarding animals which
needs to be rooted out.
"All we are asking for is that the interests
of animals are given the consideration that the law demands and
the public expects."
02 November 2000
3rd International Animal Rights Day to focus on Imutran
We propose to hold a candlelit vigil outside Imutran's offices
at Wingate House, Maris Lane, Trumpington, Cambridge around teatime
(4pm - 7pm) on 10th December. Imutran are still operating until
the end of this year, and our vigil will be a remembrance of the
hundreds of primates who have suffered and died at Imutran's hands,
as well as a protest at Novartis' continuation of this traumatic,
painful and lethal research programme. For more details click
20 October 2000
Case adjourned again
On Wednesday 18 October 2000 the case was adjourned again because
Imutran's legal team claimed that they required more time to
consider a proposal we have made. Although we opposed the application
for an adjournment, it was successful and, consequentially, the
full hearing has been delayed and now will not take place until
the end of November due to prior commitments of the counsels for
each party and the Vice Chancellor (the senior judge of the Chancery
Division of the High Court). A precise date for the hearing has
yet to be set. Unfortunately, this means that Imutran's injunction
suppressing the dissemination of our campaign leaflet and the 'Diaries
of Despair' report remains in place until the dispute is settled
in or out of court.
20 October 2000
Imutran costs claim rejected
At the hearing, Imutran also attempted to force us to pay 'several
thousands of pounds' (the words of their counsel) of Imutran's legal
costs, which they claim total over £81,000. Imutran is a part
of Novartis, the Swiss-based multinational pharmaceutical company
whose sales last year totalled £12.6 billion. Imutran's manoeuvre
would have resulted in the bankruptcy of both Uncaged Campaigns
and Dan Lyons, author of the Diaries of Despair report. This in
turn would have potentially stopped us from being able to defend
ourselves in a full hearing where our case could be presented. However,
the judge would not rule on Imutran's costs claim, ensuring that
the issue of costs can be settled at the proper time, after the
case has been fully heard.
Despite the intense and intimidating legal attack launched by Imutran
against us, we are determined to stand firm in order to allow an
informed and open public debate about the suffering that Imutran
have inflicted on hundreds on higher primates in their pig-to-primate
organ transplant research at Huntingdon Life Sciences over the past
11 October 2000
RSPCA gain access to documents
The RSPCA joined the campaign yesterday (10th October), after it
won a court ruling to give it access to the leaked documents and
report, "at the centre of animal cruelty allegations."
The RSPCA has been granted permission to read all the reports and
"carry out an independent assessment of the material."
Dr Maggy Jennings, head of the RSPCA's research animals department,
"It is crucial that the companies involved in
high-profile research with the potential to cause suffering to animals
should be held accountable for their actions. Transparency of this
research is also vital to enable thorough monitoring of procedures
and research programmes. While we appreciate that the names of individuals
working for Imutran must be protected, the findings of the research
must be available for scrutiny. We welcome the opportunity to access
information on this subject of wide public interest and to form
an independent opinion of its content.
"Any evidence that the Animal Scientific Procedures
Act, established to monitor and regulate the research industry,
is not being properly applied should be thoroughly investigated.
Primates are highly intelligent animals with very complex social
needs and it is harrowing to think they could be suffering like
Contact: RSPCA Press Office: 01403 223244/223288 Fax: 01403 257099
RSPCA Duty Press Officer (eves and w-ends): 0206 345 6789
04 October 2000
Websites and emails
Many people on our recipient lists received an e-mail from Imutran
Ltd dated 2 Oct notifying them that Imutran had obtained an Injunction
against Uncaged Campaigns and Dan Lyons. We were ordered by the
High Court to disclose the addresses of recipients of confidential
information or statements based upon such confidential information.
We are resisting any attempt to gag our organisation believing that
the public interest and newspaper publications defeat their claims
of confidentiality. We have agreed in principle to editing to address
any legitimate concerns regarding commercial sensitivity and staff
safety that can be demonstrated by Imutran, balanced by the considerable
public interest in freedom of information with regard to these documents.
Imutran had agreed to the restoration of our websites displaying
an appropriate notice pending agreed editing. They then stopped
negotiating the notice when it was almost agreed and now wish us
to remove all the documents and articles and to undertake not to
republish - so the fight continues.
04 October 2000
Imutran to close!
In the meantime, we have some tremendous news. Four days after
our devastating disclosures and call for an independent judicial
enquiry, Novartis, Imutran's parent company, has announced that
Imutran is to close!
Novartis have announced a merger with Massachusetts-based Biotransplant,
Inc. We suspect that the timing of the merger announcement and movement
of xenotransplantation research to North America represents an attempt
to shore up public, scientific and financial confidence in their
xenotransplantation project in the wake of our devastating exposé.
The move also evades a Home Office limit on biopsies that Imutran
wished to conduct on the xenotransplanted organs. Presumably, the
Home Office were concerned that the biopsy procedures would have
further intensified the suffering caused to the primates involved.
As far as we are aware, this was the first meaningful limit imposed
by the Home Office on this research programme. Novartis have now
moved much of their xenotransplantation research to the USA and
We will be working with international organisations in order to
oppose this new research programme.
03 October 2000
Home Office response and independent judicial enquiry
Several hundred higher primates and thousands of pigs have been
subjected to intense and protracted suffering and killed over the
last 5 years in a research programme that appears to be on the brink
of collapse. Undaunted, Novartis are now looking to breed new strains
of transgenic pigs and investigate new methods of immunosuppression.
However, this begs the question as to why the UK programme was licensed
in the first place. The severe suffering and predictable lack of
progress are just two of the legal reasons we are calling for an
independent judicial enquiry into the fiasco of the Home Office
licensing of pig-to-primate transplant experiments, and their subsequent
failure to halt it. Home Office Minister Mike O'Brien MP has already
given an initial response which is woefully inadequate in its dismissal
of all of our recommendations, including our call for an independent
enquiry. He requested that we meet with him this week.
However, we have replied that we are busy with our response to
the High Court injunction this week, and that in any case he clearly
needs to study the report and documents more carefully and come
up with a more constructive and reasonable response. It is inconceivable
that it would be appropriate for the Home Office to investigate
the serious failures of ...the Home Office! We expect to meet the
Home Office in two to three weeks: it is crucial that proper consideration
is given to the implications of the information that Uncaged Campaigns
has put into the public domain. We will not be rushed or bounced
into accepting an inadequate response.
The Prime Minister's office has also replied with a perfunctory
"this is a matter for the Home Office" statement. This
is a totally unacceptable and unfair response which demonstrates
a deep disregard for the serious issues raised by the report and
the documents. In the meantime we await detailed responses from
the United Kingdom Interim Regulatory Authority and several other