Animal Aid’s Director together with its Scientific Consultant visited Leeds on Wednesday, to team up with local activists for a high profile demonstration against a long-running series of lethal experiments on dogs at Leeds University. Severely criticised on scientific grounds by a prominent heart specialist, the research began in 1988 and has so far claimed the lives of more than 100 beagles. The majority of the experiments have been co-funded by the British Heart Foundation.
Animal Aid held an eye-catching demonstration in Leeds city centre on Wednesday 16th November, during which white-coated ‘researchers’ asked members of the public if they would be prepared to sacrifice their own dogs for medical research. The message of the protest was backed up by posters, leaflets and seven phone box posters in the town centre. The turnout was excellent, with around 20 local activists helping out, and the demonstration attracted plenty of media interest.
In the Leeds experiments, live anaesthetised dogs had their chests opened, their spinal cords cut, their blood drained and re-circulated via external reservoirs, and the nerves to their brains, kidneys, gut and diaphragms severed. The experiments have been criticised as ‘redundant, poorly reproducible, internally inconsistent, physiologically unsound and medically irrelevant’ by Dr John Pippin, a former Harvard Medical School faculty member and heart specialist. The Leeds team has not claimed any direct relevance of its work to human medical treatments. In many cases, no suggestion was made even of relevance to human physiology, let alone disease. The team’s most recent research paper was published in a scientific journal in June 2011. Co-funded by the BHF, it relates to the killing of 17 female beagle dogs.
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