NAVS undercover investigation 1993
Toxicol was a contract testing laboratory performing animal tests for paying clients. In 1984, the NAVS exposed the skin and eye irritancy tests on rabbits and guinea pigs at Toxicol.
In 1992, we returned to investigate Toxicol, where our Field Officer worked in the dog unit, which held 142 beagles.
One experiment involved force-feeding the dogs a weedkiller, ethofumesate, for a Finnish agrochemicals company. A rubber hose was pushed down each dog’s throat, directly into the stomach, and the herbicide injected down.
But ethofumesate had already been tested on animals before, had been on the market for twenty years, and had been approved under two separate pieces of UK and international legislation for a decade. No response was ever received to our questions about why this product had been tested on animals again, after safety tests had already been conducted in the past.
In another experiment, dogs were force-fed with the anti-malarial drug artemether for a Belgian company. However, the active ingredient of the drug had already been tested on animals and people; by 1993 it had been used successfully in the treatment of over 1 million patients.
NAVS film and photographs revealed the pitiful inadequacy of the dogs’ pens inside the laboratory. Small pens with a hard floor, and no bedding, just a scattering of sawdust.
The government’s Code of Practice states that “Bedding and nesting material should be provided unless it is clearly inappropriate. It should be comfortable for the species.” Yet as our previous investigation of dog facilities at SmithKline Beecham, as well as many lab animal suppliers also showed, this is normal laboratory housing for dogs.