Last night we visited University of Birmingham with a Light Brigade and a clear message that the number of animals used at the facility has not gone un-noticed. We were joined by members of local animal rights groups, Wolverhampton Vegans and Birmingham Animal Action.
We illuminated the bridge over the A38 at around 6.00pm with the words “54K ANIMALS KILLED AT UOB”. This bridge is within clear view of student accommodation and university campus buildings, and so our message could be seen by students working and studying at the university.
We had a great response from the public, and many bystanders stopped to read our literature and take photos. Students also offered words of support. We finished our work on the bridge and decided to re-assemble the Light Brigade outside of the Medical School buildings. This new location continued to spark an interest from the students passing. The majority of whom stopped and asked us for more information on the types of animals used and the procedures performed.
Rodents are the animals of choice at Birmingham University; the number of mice used at the laboratory increased by over 7,000 between 2015 to 2016, pushing the total up to 54,827. Experiments are routinely performed on genetically-modified animals. Current research has included mice being injected with toxins in order to induce chronic liver injury, injected with cells to induce painful cancers and dosed with bioluminescent chemicals. Causing these already mutant animals to glow. Other experiments have involved mice being crippled by excruciating arthritis and age-related disease with painful muscle wastage at just 6-weeks-old.
Animal Justice Project Science Advisor Dr. André Menache has called for a debate between himself and Birmingham University researchers which would provide an excellent opportunity for the facility to justify its use of tens of thousands of animals, mainly mice, each year; and enable them to explain how they are complying to the principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) which provide a framework for performing more humane research.
In 2017, Birmingham University refused to answer Freedom of Information requests answering how many animals are housed in its labs, and what animals it uses, stating: “The university does not consider it to be in the public interest to disclose this information”. Animal Justice Project has yet to receive a response to our request for a debate inside the university about the important (and emotive) issue of animal experimentation.