The prosecution Stade investigates a private laboratory for animal experiments after animal rights activists had secretly published recorded images and videos from the laboratory.
An employee of the organization "Soko Animal Welfare" had worked for months at the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) and documented the animal experiments. First "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and the ARD magazine "Fakt" reported on it .
The animal rights activists accuse LPT of keeping the animals in small cages and leaving them alone. According to "fact", pharmaceutical and chemical companies worldwide commission the animal laboratory, among other things, to perform legally prescribed toxicity tests for chemicals. The LPT is therefore considered one of the largest private laboratories in Germany. Around 175 employees work there.
"Not enough to keep monkeys"
The public prosecutor's office has initiated proceedings for animal cruelty after the allegations became known. According to a first review of the plant at least 44 long-tailed macaques were housed in too small cages, reports the "Bild", citing the district Harburg.
Moreover, according to the information, some of the animals were not involved in trials and therefore would have had to be kept in larger cages with several conspecifics. Out of a total of nine previous inspections since 2015, no violations had been documented.
Compared to the SPIEGEL experts report that the laboratory has had a bad reputation in the industry for years and is known for its lack of transparency.
SOKO Animal Protection eV / SOKO Animal Protection / crueltyfree int / obs
Monkey in an animal experiment
"According to my impression, we have cages the size of one cubic meter and that is not enough to keep monkeys there permanently," said Thorsten Völker of the veterinary service of the district of Harburg, who analyzed the images for "Fakt". "That means we're dealing with a legal violation here."
LPT denies allegations
According to the report, a monkey is said to have died in an ongoing trial and been replaced by another, older animal without appropriate documentation. The results of the test series would then be unusable. The authorities were not informed of the exchange of animals, reports "fact", citing the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety.
The pictures also show dogs that are obviously injured, sitting or lying in their cages next to traces of blood.
The LPT denied the allegations against "fact". Further explanations did not provide the company according to the report. Also a request of the SPIEGEL initially remained unanswered.
"It's always difficult to rate images of animal experiments if you do not know the context," said a spokesperson for the Initiative "Understanding Animal Experiments," which has set itself the goal of enlightening researchers on animal experiments. "Some pictures are already irritating."
"Not worked to the highest standards"
It is clear that injured animals should not be left to their own devices. "If an animal is sick or injured, it needs to be taken care of as soon as possible," it says of "Understanding Animal Experiments." At least some of the images gave the impression that the laboratory was not being worked to the highest standards. This reduces the population's tolerance for animal testing in general. To what extent the laboratory was violated against animal welfare, but ultimately the prosecution must clarify.
In the summer of 2018, the EU Commission initiated an infringement procedure against Germany, because from an Brussels perspective EU animal testing requirements are inadequately anchored in national law. Thus, for example, the rules that determine what knowledge the person performing the experiments will not be sufficient.
The government has announced that it wants to improve. What exactly will change then, is still unclear. Under German law, only specially trained professionals are allowed to carry out animal experiments. The experiments must first be explained in detail and explained. (Read the review of a scientist on animal experiments here.)
Most recently, 740,000 animals were killed in Germany for scientific purposes. Another two million were used in animal experiments. The figures refer to the year 2017. More recent data is not available yet. Since 2014, the number of animals used in scientific research and killed for science has fallen from 3.3 million to 2.8 million recently. Comparisons with earlier years are not possible because in the meantime the counting method has been changed.