The Invisible Victims

“There can be no justification for the pain inflicted upon other animals to test ways of harming and destroying ourselves” – The International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals (IAAPEA)

Pigs being forced to inhale toxic mustard gas, macaque monkeys injected with vaccines, marmosets infected with biothreat diseases, battlefield wounds inflicted on rabbits, rats having their eyes blasted with projectiles, mice injected with cancer, guinea pigs forced to inhale nerve gas: these are just some of the shocking experiments carried out in the UK – many at the infamous secret military research laboratory Porton Down, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Others at so-called ‘leading’ universities such as Oxford and Birmingham, whilst researchers from Cambridge have been involved in horrendous military experiments. British scientists continue to collaborate with authorities in the United States to carry out animal experimentation.

Animal Justice Project can reveal that, in the UK, the Home Office continues to issue licenses to carry out these horrific military experiments despite strong ethical and scientific arguments against them.

Macaques Monkeys: Injected, Masked, Punctured and Killed at Porton Down

Those who have spent time with endearing macaque monkeys often comment on their caring and perceptive nature, their fascinating hierarchy within social groups, their human-like expressions and their incredible attentiveness to raising babies, not just by the females, but males too. In the wild, macaques are good climbers, swimmers and foragers. Sadly, many macaques are never given the chance to breathe fresh air, swim in unchartered water and swing from tree to tree. They are born into captivity and lead a life consumed by deprivation and suffering.

February 2015

Twenty-one macaques, injected with ketamine ‘to get them out of their houses’, were divided into groups and exposed to monkeypox which was delivered with an anesthesia mask. Clinical observations were made and scored every 4-6 hours in order to assess point for euthanasia, some of which included body weight, behavioural changes and rash/skin swelling. Animals were injected with ketamine and were then drained of blood by cardiac puncture. This was followed by an overdose to ensure death on days 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10. This study was funded by National institute of allergy and infectious diseases (read the article).

September 2015

Eight Indian rhesus macaques monkeys aged between 4 and 5 were injected with ketamine before they were then exposed to TB vaccine aerosol through a nebulizer with a mask. For results, the monkeys then had their blood taken, were weighed and had rectal temperature checks. The monkey’s behaviour was also tested for signs of depression, withdrawal from group, aggression, changes in feeding patterns and coughing. Animals were killed by injection of lethal dose (read the article).

January 2016

Male Mauritian macaques were injected with ketamine. Half the group were given an intra-nasel droplet installation of the Influenza virus while under ‘light sedation’, the other half were given the virus via a tube forced down their windpipes. Another group, given the virus by a 6 jet collison nebuliser. On specific days after tests, one animal from each group was sedated for collection of blood then killed with lethal dose injection. This study was partially funded by Department of Health (read the article).

December 2016

Twenty-four Indian male rhesus macaques were injected with ketamine. Twelve animals were injected in the upper left arm with BCG vaccine, six in their left leg. Twelve weeks after primary vaccination, six animals received a second vaccination using a catheter gauge, inserted 15cm into the lung. Twenty-one weeks after initial vaccines all animals were challenged with exposure to aerosols via an anaesthesia mask. This was performed in a ‘head-out’ plethysmography chamber in order to track respiration rate. Following this, animals were monitored daily for behavioural abnormalities. Blood samples were taken and then they were killed by lethal injection. This study was partially funded by Department of Health (read the article).

January 2017

Four male Indian rhesus macaque monkeys were injected with ketamine, removed from their housing, masked to deliver TB via a 3-jet collison nebuliser. CT scans were then conducted on each animal. Route of delivery to the airways influenced the distribution of pulmonary disease but not the outcome of TB. All animals killed with lethal injection. This study was partially funded by Department of Health (read the article).

March 2017

Eighty-one macaques were used to predict Gamma interferon responses after a BCG vaccination was administered in their upper arms via injection. This study was partially funded by National Institute for Health Research (read the article).

March 2017

Nine captive bred macaques monkeys were injected with ketamine. The monkeys were challenged to exposure of aerosols which was delivered to each primate by the use of a mask. The tests ranged from low to very high doses because the susceptibility of this species to TB was unknown. Decision to euthanise for necropsy was based on depression or withdrawn behaviour, aggression, changes to feeding/drinking patterns. An intra-cardiac injection of lethal dose was used for killing. The monkey who received the lowest dose of TB became really withdrawn and extremely underweight, he also exhibited chronic anaemia. This study was funded by Department of Health (read the article).

New Zealand White Rabbits: Infected and Injured by ‘Air Blasts’ to study battlefield wounds

October 2015

Thirty-eight white rabbits were used. Following a period of pre-oxygenation via facemask animals were anaesthetized via a needle catheter through the ear. Animals were randomized and had both hind limbs exposed to a blast wave via a compressed air device, each limb received five blasts. Animals were killed with an overdose of pentobarbitone at the end of the study, followed by a post-mortem (read the article).

July 2016

Fifty-two juvenile rabbits were housed individually in steel metal cages and studied over 35 days. The dorsum of the animal was shorn using electric clippers and 2 injection sites were located on the back of the neck. They received two doses. Necropsy procedures were carried out on day 10, 21 and 35. Animals were killed intravenously on days 10, 21 and 35 by overdose of pentobarbitone. This study was funded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (read the article).

Guinea Pigs: Clipped, Forced to Breath Fumes and Killed

April 2015

Male Guinea Pigs were killed, the dorsal skin clipped, removed and stored flat. Eight large white guinea pigs, were housed in metal cages. Nerve agent dosing was carried out in a fume cupboard where animals remained for 6 hours. Clinical signs of nerve agent poisoning were observed, such as tremor, incapacitation and lachrymation. Survival was determined at 24hours, at which point the experiment ended, and surviving animals were killed with an overdose (read the article).

June 2016

Female adult guinea pigs were supplied with catheters inserted into the jugular vein. Ebola virus stock was diluted and injected into each animal and was then delivered intravenously. Repeat administrations were delivered on each of the following days. On 3rd day after infection, lethal dose of EBOV was given to guinea pigs. Survival analysis showed that all untreated animals met human end-points by day 11 (read the article).


Female guinea pigs were ‘were supplied with catheters inserted into the jugular vein, to allow intravenous access’. For procedures, guinea pigs were given ebola in the lower right quadrant of the back. Clinical signs were monitored at least twice daily, and the following numerical score was assigned for analysis: 0 (normal), 2 (ruffled fur), 3 (lethargy, pinched, hunched, and wasp waisted); 5 (laboured breathing, rapid breathing, and inactivity) and 10 (immobile).

Guinea pigs were transported to Oxford University from France with intravenous cannulas surgically implanted into their right jugular veins already in them. Apparently, this ‘allows safer sequential treatment in maximum containment level facilities and has been previously described for EBOV-infected animals’. They were allowed ‘to recuperate from the stress of transportation for 24 hours before the study began’. Animals were infected with Ebola and housed within flexible film isolators under climate-control conditions. This study was funded by the Welcome Trust (read the article).


Experiments to test BCG vaccine for TB. Groups of eight Guinea pigs with subcutaneously implanted microchips were intramuscularly inoculated three times at 3 weeks intervals in the two hind quadriceps muscles. Animals were aerosol-challenged 6 weeks after the final inoculations with M. tuberculosis. Four weeks post-challenge, animals were killed by injection. (read the article).

Marmosets: Infected with Ebola Virus

October 2015

Marmosets were bled from the femoral vein to obtain blood samples and were then injected with ketamine. A collison nebuliser was used to generate aerosol which they were exposed to for 10 minutes. 100 hours after tests animals became febrile and 7 days after, most conducted infections, they also all experienced rapid temperature drops. Animals were killed via lethal injection after which post-mortems were performed (read the article).


Marmosets were exposed to the target dose of B. pseudomallei by the inhalational route. Animals were sedated and placed within a plethysmography tube and attached to the exposure unit. The animals were exposed to the bacteria for 10 min. All animals that exhibited clinical signs succumbed to lethal disease with a variation in the time to reach the humane endpoint. Some animals had a low‐grade fever and an increase in bacterial burden in the lungs was observed. Some animals exhibited acute bronchopneumonia, fever was apparent and there was evidence of further bacterial dissemination in all organs except the kidney and brains. This study was funded by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)(read the article).

Pigs: Shocked by Haemorrhage and then Severely Injured

December 2016

Twenty-two female pigs were subjected to a hind-limb injury followed by haemorrhage of 35% blood volume. They were terminally anaesthetised for tracheal intubation. The animals received a controlled blast injury and a controlled hind-limb injury from a captive bolt gun. This was designed to replicate a battlefield injury. This study was funded by the Ministry of Defence (read the article).

July 2015

Large white pigs were not fed for 18 hours before the procedure. The left carotid artery, both internal jugular veins, and left femoral artery and vein were cannulated. It then took animals an hour to recover from sedation. The bladder also had to be catheterised and was drained at hourly intervals. All animals were subjected to a controlled soft tissue injury using a blunt captive bolt pistol, delivering four impacts to the right hind-quarter of the pigs. This resulted in extreme bruising. 5 minutes after this a blood hemorrhage was conducted taking 35% of the estimated total blood volume (this was performed over 9 minutes). Following this, the animals underwent a 30-minute shock period. All animals survived to the end of the study but were killed with a lethal overdose injection. This study was funded by UK Ministry of Defence (read the article).

Mice: Injected with Cancer Cells


Injected 6-week-old mice cancer cells. All tumours that had developed in the peritoneum were excised, counted, measured and photographed (read the article).


Mice were injected into the hind limb muscle with plaque-forming units and received a booster vaccination 14 days later. 12 days after the booster vaccination, a tail bleed was collected from animals. On day 13 a random selection of animals were euthanised (read the article).


tudy of the effect of Zika virus infection in mice were injected with the virus into each of the right and left hind legs just above the ankle to mimic a mosquito bite. The mice developed severe symptoms. Mice were female and young. This study was funded by a Public Health England Grant-In-Aid project (read the article).

Porton Down doubles the number of macaques and guinea pigs it experiments on in a year

Animal Species Guinea Pigs Primate
2015 116 45
2016 236 116

*Information obtained from the Ministry of Defence in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Experimental Animal Modelling For TB Vaccine Development

“The main characteristics of several laboratory animals are reviewed, reflecting that none are able to simulate the whole characteristics of human tuberculosis. As, so far, no surrogate of protection has been found, it is important to test new candidates in several models in order to generate convincing evidence of efficacy that might be better than that of BCG in humans. It is also important to investigate the use of “in silico” and “ex vivo” models to better understand experimental data and also to try to replace, or at least reduce and refine experimental models in animals.” (read article)

Animal Justice Project

View photos from the Animal Justice Project demonstration in the town of Salisbury, where Porton Down is located and at the Animals in War memorial

Read news articles involving the Animal Justice Project:

Animal Justice Project exposures 2013-2014:

Tattooed Macaque Held By Technician: UAE

Tattooed Macaque Held By Technician: UAE

Lab Technician Checks Rabbit: UAE

Lab Technician Checks Rabbit: UAE

Handling Lab Guinea Pig: University of Michigan

Handling Lab Guinea Pig: University of Michigan


Technician holds small marmoset for animal testing

 Pig in laboratory: The University Of Georgia.

Pig in laboratory: The University Of Georgia.

GM Mouse On Technician's Hand: UAE

GM Mouse On Technician’s Hand: UAE

Lab Technician Grasps Rat: UAE

Lab Technician Grasps Rat: UAE

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