View Full Version : Uncaged demand inquiry into xenotransplantation

Nov 24th, 2004, 11:25 PM
UK Parliament increases pressure for Imutran xenotransplantation inquiry

The Government is coming under severe pressure after 165 MPs signed a Commons motion calling for an independent inquiry into the legality of Imutran’s 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. In addition, the Home Office’s handling of the Imutran research, which took place at Huntingdon Life Sciences, is currently the subject of two Uncaged complaints being considered by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, a watchdog body whose role is to investigate Government misconduct.

At the end of the 2003/04 Parliamentary session today (18.11.04), a massive 165 MPs have signed Early Day Motion 685 – entitled "Uncaged Campaigns", 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.

This evidence http://www.xenodiaries.org/evidence.htm emerged into the public domain after a historic legal victory http://www.xenodiaries.org/legal.htm gained by Uncaged over the research company responsible, Imutran Ltd and their parent corporation Novartis Pharma. Documents were leaked to Uncaged from Imutran (in spring 2000) and the Home Office (October 2002). For two-and-a-half years, Uncaged had fought off attempts by Imutran/Novartis to gain a permanent High Court injunction preventing disclosure of the documents. However, Uncaged had argued that because the documents revealed misconduct by the Home Office and Imutran, there was an over-riding public interest in their disclosure. Despite their massive resource advantage, Imutran/Novartis capitulated in April 2003, allowing Uncaged to publish over 1,000 pages of unique primary evidence that details the day-to-day reality of animal experimentation.

These are some of the scandals revealed by the secret papers:

· Home Office inspectors described animal research regulations as a ‘rubber-stamping’ exercise http://www.xenodiaries.org/legal.htm#conduct . [section (b)]

· Home Office officials sought to underestimate the severity of the experiments, making it easier to licence them http://www.xenodiaries.org/legal.htm#conduct . [section (a)]

· Many primates were left to die in their cages, in clear breach of the legal limits on suffering supposedly imposed on the research http://www.xenodiaries.org/pr040210.htm .

· Home Office Ministers were even fed lies by their officials over the deaths of primates in illegal transport crates as they were flown from the Philippines to Cambridgeshire http://www.xenodiaries.org/legal.htm#conduct . [section (c)]

· The Home Office turned a blind eye to breaches of the law and other failures by staff at Huntingdon Life Sciences [section (d)]

Since their extraordinary court success, Uncaged have relentlessly cranked up the pressure for an independent inquiry. Home Office bureaucrats who were implicated in the misconduct have tied themselves up in knots as they desperately try to defend their behaviour. But as the support from a growing number of MPs testifies, the Home Office’s credibility is taking a huge battering.

The latest exercise in Home Office deception comes in its response to 12 searching questions put to the department in an Open Letter signed by several MPs. Uncaged director Dan Lyons has just completed a detailed briefing that rebuts the Home Office’s version of events. Uncaged are calling for support from the public to distribute this briefing to MPs so that the Home Office’s lies can be exposed.

Dan Lyons of Uncaged comments,

“Anyone who has watched ‘Yes, Minister’ will understand the subtle, yet powerful methods of deception employed by Whitehall to cover-up scandals. Often, a combination of blustering denials and authoritative-sounding lies are enough to put people off. On this occasion though, they have met their match. We are absolutely determined not to let the Home Office off the hook. Our mission is to relentlessly pursue justice for the thousands of animals who suffered in the macabre and pointless Imutran experiments. Government officials cannot be allowed to get away with cruelty, law-breaking and misrepresenting the truth.”

How you can help
We are aiming to have the EDM re-tabled as soon as the new session of parliament starts after the Queen’s Speech. In the meantime, it is vitally important to write to your MP at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, enclosing the new Uncaged briefing, to educate them about the Imutran scandal and expose the lies of the Home Office:

If you do not know who your MP is, visit www.locata.co.uk/commons and enter your postcode.
Click here http://www.xenodiaries.org/twelve.pdf to download the new Uncaged briefing (pdf format).
Click here http://www.xenodiaries.org/letters/mp.rtf to download a sample covering letter to your MP. You can either use it as it is or even better, compose your own (for example, if they have signed EDM 685, it would be a good idea to thank them for that).

Dec 3rd, 2004, 10:21 AM
On 17 Oct 04 the inaugural meeting of a new coalition of groups and individuals opposed to xenotransplantation research was held in Australia, and it was decided that the coalition be called APAAX (Asia Pacific Alliance Against Xenotransplantation). The group will also work closely with groups in other parts of the world also opposed to xenotransplantation.