Despite the claims of government departments in both the United States and the UK, transparency with regards to the use of animals in research is anything but transparent.
The day that we launched our petition against Bristol University and their continuous refusals to respond to Freedom of Information requests came less than two weeks after the US Department of Agriculture shut down access to their Animal Care Information System (ACIS). There has been some speculation as to why but an agency spokesman has refused to comment.
The ACIS not only records information about animals in research laboratories but all areas where animals are exploited, in zoos, by breeders, in puppy mills and pet shops. Let’s not forget though that rats, mice and birds in U.S laboratories have no legal protections, no duty of care and no statistics are kept on the amounts used, yet this is believed to be around 95 per cent of the total.
This move sanctioned just weeks into the Trump administration is a HUGE step backwards in the fight for the liberation of all animals and just one of the many worrying abuses of both human and nonhuman animals that the new US government seems hell bent on implementing, threatening the freedoms of all living beings.
On 17th February, some animal welfare documents, including research institution and federal lab inspection reports, were restored after numerous animal rights groups filed a lawsuit to make the documents available to the public domain again. However, this does not detract from the fact that documents detailing the treatment of animals in most of the facilities that were included (e.g. zoos and breeding establishments, etc.) are still unavailable.
Bristol University claim to have no central system of record keeping. Really? A university of that size has no way of knowing how many animals are housed within it’s laboratories? How do they know how much food to provide, how do they know how many staff are needed to ‘care’ for the animals, how can they possibly not know this very basic of information?
In 2014 they publicly stated that by 2015 this information would be available to anyone that requested it. It is now 2017 and still nothing!
We know some of what goes on there and some of the types of animals used but we have no idea of numbers or of all the different types of species used.
For more information on the issue of transparency with regards to vivisection, head over to our friends at Naturewatch.