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Huntingdon Life Sciences

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This article is part of the Atrazine Exposed portal on SourceWatch. Help expose the truth about atrazine.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is an international contract research organization (CRO) and laboratory animal breeding company. Firms hire CROs to conduct toxicity animal testing for agrochemicals, petrochemicals, household products, pharmaceuticals and toxins. The company was founded in the United Kingdom in 1952 and has facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Outside of the UK, it has facilities in New Jersey (U.S.) and Japan.[1] HLS tests agrochemicals, foods, flavorings, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and veterinary products. HLS provides drug development services for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

In the fiscal year ending in December 2008, the company reported sales of 94.7 million dollars and had 1,238 employees.[2]

Animal testing

HLS is the 3rd largest CRO in the world and the largest animal testing facility in Europe. The company provides full programs for pesticides, herbicides, weed-killers and fertilizers. They also test detergents, tanning lotions, diet pills, food wrapping plastic, food additives, cosmetics and some pharmaceuticals. Viagra was tested at HLS. Olestra was a "fat free oil" that was found to be safe in animal tests but caused anal leakage in humans. HLS also tests controversial genetically modified organisms (GMO)s and has performed xenotransplantation (transplanting organs of one species into another). At any one period, approximately 70,000 animals are housed in HLS facilities. HLS kills an average of 500 animals per day. [3], [4] See also animal testing, section 3 on product (toxicity) testing.

Over 90% of the animals used in experimentation are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law which over sees animal testing. Rats, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish are expressly eliminated from all safeguards. Species not covered under the AWA do not even have to be reported. [5] See also USDA.

Reports for tests conducted at HLS

See also pdf copies of animal testing reports for various species conducted at HLS laboratories. [6]

Facility information, progress reports & USDA-APHIS reports

For links to copies of this facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports and Information: Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc., East Millstone, New Jersey.[7]

USDA AWA reports

As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports.

Animal cruelty investigations & expose's

U.S. & European investigations of Huntingdon Life Sciences

In recent years, HLS has been infiltrated and exposed at least seven separate times for animal cruelty and other violations. Separate investigations, employee testimonies, leaking of documents and documents obtained by court order; have occurred in 1981, 1996-97 (twice), 2000, 2000-03, 2005 and 2007-08. Separate exposes of HLS breeders have occurred in 1999, 2002 (three times), 2006 and 2007.[8]

Sarah Kite: United Kingdom

In 1981 Sarah Kite of the British Union for Anti-Vivisection (BUAV) worked under cover at HLS for eight months. She started work on the Rodent Toxicology Unit. According to Ms. Kite:

"I soon discovered we were not allowed to call blood, blood, we had to call it red staining. Similarly, the killing of an animal at the end of an experiment is described as a sacrifice. ...One (experiment) was for the food colouring Canthaxanthin, which was used in colouring the flesh of salmon and trout and also used in sun tanning pills. This experiment was carried out for the pharmaceutical company Hoffman La Roche. Effects included lethargy, hair standing on end, swollen necks and abdomens. Those given high doses had orange fur and tails, with brick red faeces and urine."

The substance was considered so toxic that cleaning staff wore oxygen suits. In a two year chronic toxicity study for a tranquilizer she recorded:

"Rats having fits after dosing for up to one minute. Cages 85, 95 and 100 had large amounts of dark red blood on their trays." Their condition was described as "gross and ill with greasy wet fur standing on end." A technician described them as "rotting but still alive."

The investigator found the Dog Toxicology Unit so harrowing she only stayed for 8 weeks. Beagles were poisoned with pesticides, dental hygiene products, drugs and food wrapping film. In one test, 48 Beagles had an anti-psoriatic cream applied to their shaved backs for 30 days. The cream was rubbed into the open sores and blisters they developed. They were bound in tight sticky plaster. The dogs wore large head collars to prevent them from pulling at the plaster due to pain. Then as now, there were already multiple brands of anti-psoriatic creams. However, another drug company wished to cash in on a lucrative market. Such pointless torture was also illustrated in a 1972 HLS report admitting that "there is a great variation in the skin irritancy response of mice, guinea pigs, piglets, dogs and baboons."

Staff were encouraged not to spend time with the beagles, as "time and speed were the essence". Touching them was also a "waste of time." They might also become "spoilt" and "not do what they were told." While cleaning cages, she regularly found blood, vomit and diarrhea from sick dogs, which she described as "extremely thin with their fur standing on end. They were visibly shaking and often so scared they were unable to leave their cages." [9]

Michelle Rokke: New Jersey

In September of 1996, undercover investigator Michelle Rokke from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), was hired as a lab technician at Huntingdon's New Jersey lab. Wearing glasses with a pinpoint video camera in the bridge, she taped some 50 hours of laboratory activities in her 8 months of employment. She also made six hours of audiotapes and copied 8,000 pages of documents, including a client list. At the time, HLS was using dogs to test an antibacterial agent additive for tooth paste for Colgate-Palmalive. It was also revealed that the beagles were to have their legs broken to test a new drug, intended to combat osteoporosis, for the Japanese company, Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals. PETA also accused HLS technicians of improperly anesthetizing monkeys prior to removing their organs in a study for Proctor & Gamble. Yamanouchi soon canceled its contract and the dogs were eventually put up for adoption. The investigation sparked protests resulting in government investigations. [10] The USDA fined the New Jersey facility $50,000 for violating a Federal law that regulates the care and treatment of laboratory animals. In the settlement, the company agreed to pay the fine without admitting to the charges. [11]

Zoe Broughton: United Kingdom

Also in 1996, Zoe Broughton secretly filmed inside of HLS while working as a laboratory technician. She followed the entire process from puppies' settling in weeks, through experiments and postmortems; assembling evidence of "cruelty and incompetence". The documentary, It's A Dog's Life was based on her investigations and undercover tapes. It was aired on March 26, 1997. One day after the broadcast, three laboratory technicians were put on suspended leave. Two men who had been filmed hitting and shaking dogs were arrested at their residences by local police and by autumn, had been prosecuted under the Animals Act of 1911. They admitted to charges of "cruelly terrifying dogs" and were given sentences of community service and ordered to pay 250 pounds costs by magistrates in Peterborough. It was the first time that laboratory technicians had been prosecuted for animal cruelty in the United Kingdom. The film had also revealed one technician squirting a syringe of drug into the bin when he could not find the dog's vein. The suggestion was that technicians weren't accurately measuring out the chemicals, thereby affecting the data. Some of the companies who used HLS, subsequently withdrew their contracts. The price of HLS shares also dropped from 121p to 54p over the next few months. At 54p, the company requested that its stock market shares be frozen. According to Home Office minister George Howarth in a written statement to Parliment on July 24 1997:

"Shortcomings relating to the care, treatment and handling of animals, and delegation of health checking to new staff of undetermined competence, demonstrate that the establishment was not appropriately staffed and that animals were not at all times provided with adequate care." [12]

Animal Defenders International

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is an advocacy group based in London and San Francisco. In 2007 and 2008, ADI conducted a comprehensive investigation which exposed every aspect of the global primate trade across three continents (Europe, Asia and South America); including HLS in Cambridgeshire. In ADI's ‘Save The Primates’ documentary, monkeys desperately shake their tiny, rusting, collapsing cages at a UK Home Office approved monkey dealer in Vietnam. The suffering of monkeys is exposed as they endure a 30 hour trip from Vietnam to HLS. The dealer supplied almost 500 monkeys to HLS in one year.

In the course of their investigation, ADI infiltrated the HLS Cambridgeshire monkey unit for one year. The documentary shows struggling monkeys being strapped into chairs and forced to inhale products. Monkeys are held down as technicians force tubes down their throats and many are housed in 1 cubic metre cages. The facility can hold up to 550 monkeys at a time. In the course of the year long investigation, 217 monkeys were killed in just five studies. The investigation and report are part of a ground breaking study on primate research and the international primate trade. [13], [14]

Other animal cruelty & welfare violations

Shamrock Farm animal import & quarantine: UK

In 1998, almost all of the 2,467 macaques used in British laboratories came through Shamrock Farm. It was owned by Bausch and Lomb (sunglasses, eye wear) and run by Charles River. Shamrock farm closed in 2000 after a 15 month campaign by Save the Shamrock Monkeys. [15]

Primates were imported from Mauritius, the Philippines and China andpacked in tiny crates, (often too small to stand in) for up to two and a half days. Subsequently, up to 300 monkeys were kept in tiny cages inside of dark Portakabins. The monkeys were quarantined for up to two months before being sold for vivisection. Following campaigns which exposed cruel conditions of monkeys transported on long flights, many airlines and ferry companies refused to transport animals for Shamrock. Shamrock customers included HLC, SmithKline Beecham, GaxoWellcome and Inveresk Clinical Research. [16]

Splenda: Sadistically Sweet

Splenda is the brand name for Sucralose, an artificial sweetener manufactured byMcNeil Laboratories, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. In 2000, a series of reports were published by Permagon press on the details of animal testing for Sucralose at HLS. These were particularly nasty experiments carried out on dogs, monkeys, rabbits, rats and mice. A total of 12,800 animals died at HLS during for this study. One of the objectives was to observe effects of massive doses of sucralose on animal's nervous systems. In spite of wide spread evidence of health dangers and concerns, Sucralose is widely available for consumption. See also pdf copies of animal testing reports for various species conducted at HLS laboratories. [17]

Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is the first no-calorie based sweetener ever developed. It was predicted to be a highly profitable money maker for British sugar giant Tate & Lyle, who commissioned the research. Thousands of animals, including beagles, monkeys, rabbits and rodents were poisoned and killed in various ways for the 20 year study on Sucralose; known in the United States as Splenda. [18] See also Splenda: Sadistically Sweet.

Dairies of Despair: banned report released in UK

In April 2003, the largest ever set of data concerning animal experiments in the United Kingdom was released following a defeat earlier in the month for a 30 month injunction by the HLS client Novartis and its former British subsidiary, Imutran. The documents revealed primates being used in the search for solutions to the chronic global shortage of human transplant organs. Baboons were transported from the African savannahs to die in steel cages the size of toilet cubicles. According to the documents, a quarter of the primates died from "technical failures". Researchers describe monkeys and baboons dying in fits of vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms were violent spasms, bloody discharges, grinding teeth and uncontrollable, manic eye movements. Animals retreated within themselves, lying still in their cages until they were put of their misery. Baboon W201m died of a stroke after two days of suffering from limb spasms and paralysis. Baboon W205m was "sacrificed" after 21 days. A genetically modified pig's heart had been attached to the vital arteries within its neck. Researchers noted the heart was swelling way beyond its natural size with a strange yellow fluid seeping from the organ.

Other animals never even made it to HLS, suffering painful deaths en route. Faxes from global wildlife dealers reveal at least 50 baboons being taken from the African plains for the experiments. In one shipment, the creatures spent 34 hours in cramped transport crates; 10 hours longer than approved by the Home Office (which did not take any action.) In another shipment, three monkeys were found dead with blood oozing from their nostrils at a Paris airport. They had not been able to turn and lie down naturally. The 1,274 pages of documentation revealed a "litany of failings", including at least 520 errors and omissions. [19]

The 150 page Diaries of Despair report based on the documentation, provides the public with an unprecedented and extensive insight into the reality of vivisection in Britain. Never before has so much secret information about animal experiments entered the public domain. The report was effectively banned for almost two and a half years by an injunction by Imutran and Novartis in late September of 2000. The leaked documentation reveals horrific animal suffering, corrects misleading public presentation of research and exposes government deception. The five part report provides background information on xenotransplantation; an overview of the leaked documents and the rationale behind transgenic pigs as a potential source of xenografts. It describe the suffering of primates used in the research and the legal framework regulating animal testing. The report documents baboons and cynomolgus monkeys, from (in the case of the baboons) capture in the wild, through transportation half way across the world and their deaths in experiments conducted at HLS.[20]

Painful tests for dogs double while overall numbers decline: NJ

According to USDA reports for HLS's New Jersey laboratory, 77 dogs were force fed toxic substances causing substantial pain, without anesthesia in 2008. At least 5 of these dogs sustained injuries severe enough to warrant euthanasia. This compares to only 30 dogs used in experiments involving unrelieved pain in 2007. According to Micheal Budkie, executive director of Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN), a laboratory watchdog group:

“The concept that dogs, no different than those who share 43,000,000 American homes, are literally poisoned inside the labs of this facility is totally shocking. This is not science; this is nothing short of animal abuse.”

The reports also reveal a 34% drop in animal use over a period of one year. In 2007, the NJ laboratory reported 2,143 "regulated" animals. By 2008, animals usage had dropped by over a third, to 1,415 regulated animals. [21], [22]

U.S. Senate hearings

Attorney Shannon Keith on the SHAC 7 trial. - August 2008

According to Dr. Jerry Vlasik's October 10th, 2005 address to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works:

"Huntingdon Life Sciences has been infiltrated and exposed 5 times in recent years by journalists, animal rights campaigners and members of the public; each time evidence of animal abuse and staff incompetence has been uncovered. A 1999 inspection of their Occold (UK) facility by the Good Laboratory Practice Monitoring Authority revealed 41 deficiencies, including errors in standard operating procedures, training issues, record keeping, quality assurance, equipment, labeling and facilities. 520 violations of the UK Good Laboratory Practices Act were documented in an expose by the Daily Press (UK) in 2000. They are the only UK laboratory to ever have their license revoked by the government. ...Each of the witnesses that have testified before me have their own financial interests at stake in the continued oppression, torture and murder of non-human animals by HLS." [23]

Dr. Vlasik is a trauma surgeon, former vivisector and Press Officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. He was the only activist invited to attend these hearings. A previous hearing in May featured statements from David Martosko of the Center for Consumer Freedom. [24]

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)

The SHAC campaign was set up at the end of 1999 by a group of activists who had successfully closed down laboratory animal breeders in the United Kingdom. In 1996, the group initiated a campaign against Consort kennels, near Hereford. Over 800 beagles were kept at the kennels waiting to be sold to vivisection laboratories. The campaign involved daily demonstrations and all night vigils. In July 1997, after 10 months of campaigning; the kennels closed and 200 beagles were found homes. In September of 1997, the group initiated a campaign against the last remaining breeder of cats for vivisection in the UK. Hillgrove farm, in Oxfordshire, sold kittens as young as 10 days old to vivisection laboratories world wide. At the farm, over 1,000 cats were kept in windowless sheds. In August of 1999, the farm closed after 18 months of campaigning. 800 cats were rescued on August 12, 1999 and placed in homes. SHAC is an international campaign with groups in the UK, USA, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and many other countries who target HLS and the global corporations which support them. [25]

SHAC 7

HLS gets kicked off of the New York Stock Exchange - SHAC TV

In March of 2006, six young webmasters were the first individuals to be convicted for "animal enterprise terrorism" in Trenton, New Jersey. They posted videotape of tortured dogs and reported on legal and illegal activities, eventually causing the corporation to lose profits and be dropped from the NY Stock Exchange. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), unable to catch underground activists, instead targeted the website operators. They are currently serving up to six years in prison for their speech. [26] See also Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, section 7.

Clients

Corporations which contract test out to Huntingdon Life Sciences include: Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Baxter International, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dow Chemical Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Monsanto, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Syngenta and Sanofi-Aventis. [27]

Trading, finances & shareholders meetings

HLS was delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2002. On September 7, 2005, the company was scheduled to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LSR, with company executives present to celebrate. However, the listing was canceled without comment moments before trading began. Currently, HLS stock still trades on the OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB) under the symbol LSRI. Chairman and CEO Andrew Baker, who owns 27% of HLS stock, fronted the company $43 million in June of 2005. However, HLS still reported a $75.9 million debt after the cash infusion.

Two of HLS's directors are based in third world countries. Shareholders meetings are held secretly in Panama. [28]

Personnel

United Kingdom

  • Andrew H. Baker - Executive Chairman
  • Brian Cass - Director & CEO
  • Julian T. Griffiths - Finance Director & Secretary

New Jersey

  • Cathy Brower - Human Resources
  • Henning Jonassen - Group Director, Necropsy Laboratory
  • Darioush "Dari" Dadgar - Vice President, Analytical Services
  • Carol Auletta - Sr. Scientific Staff

Contact

Huntingdon Research Centre
Woolley Road
Alconbury
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28 4HS
United Kingdom
Phone: +44-1480-892-000
Fax: +44-1480-890-693

Eye Research Centre
Eye
Suffolk IP23 7PX
United Kingdom

Princeton Research Centre
PO Box 2360
Mettlers Road
East Millstone, NJ 08875-2360
United States
Phone: (732) 873-2550
[29]

Web address: http://www.huntingdon.com

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Huntingdon Life Sciences Group Plc Business Information, Profile, and History, Jrank.org, accessed June 2009
  2. Company Description: Huntingdon Life Sciences, Hoovers, accessed February 2010
  3. PETA Names the 10 Worst CEOs for Animals in Laboratories, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accessed December 2009
  4. Who are HLS?, SHAC.net, accessed December 2009
  5. The Animal Care Program and the USDA's Authority Under the AWA: Q & A, U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS Fact Sheet, July 2005, page 2
  6. What Do They Test?, SHAC.net, accessed August 2011
  7. Facility Reports and Information: Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc., East Millstone, NJ, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, accessed October 2009
  8. Huntingdon Life Sciences Exposed, SHAC.net, accessed December 2009
  9. 1981: HLS Exposed in the UK, SHAC.net, accessed December 2009
  10. Huntingdon Life Sciences Group Plc Business Information, Profile, and History, Jrank.org, accessed June 2009
  11. Gina Kolata New Jersey Lab Is Fined Over Care of Animals, New York Times, April 1998
  12. Zoe Broughton Seeing Is Believing: Cruelty to dogs at Huntingdon Life Sciences, The Ecologist, March 2001
  13. Ally MacDonald A shocking undercover investigation into the global primate trade reveals the day-to-day suffering, Media Release, Pressbox.co.uk, February 2009
  14. Save the Primates Campaign News: Tests exposed inside Huntingdon Life Sciences, Animal Defenders International, accessed December 2009
  15. Shamrock Monkey Farm: The Campaign, Animal Rights Bit Torrents, January 2006
  16. Shamfacts, Shamfacts, accessed February 2009
  17. What Do They Test? Splenda: Coffee Sweetner, SHAC.net, accessed December 2009
  18. Mike Hamilton Sweetener Slaughter: 12,800 animals die for no-calorie pills, Daily Mirror, August 2001
  19. Mark Townsend Exposed: secrets of the animal organ lab, The Observer, April 2003
  20. Dairies of Despair: The Secret History of pig-to-primate organ transplants, Uncaged Campaigns, accessed January 2010
  21. Micheal Budkie Pain for Dogs Doubles at Huntingdon Life Sciences: Overall HLS Experimentation Drops, SAEN, September 8, 2009
  22. Facility Reports and Information: Huntingdon Life Sciences, Inc., East Millstone, NJ, SAEN, accessed October 2009
  23. Dr. Jerry Vlasik Testimony of Jerry Vlasik, M.D.: Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (“SHAC”) Eco-terrorism, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, October 2005
  24. David Martosko Testimony of David Martosko: Environmental and Animal-Rights Terrorism and Its Above-Ground Support System, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, May 2005
  25. Introduction to SHAC, SHAC.net, accessed May 2009
  26. Charlotte Laws, PhD, "AETA and the New Green Scare: Are You the Terrorist Next Door?", Counterpunch, January 26, 2007
  27. Inside Customers, SHAC.net, accessed December 2008
  28. Dr. Jerry Vlasik Testimony of Jerry Vlasik, M.D.: Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (“SHAC”) Eco-terrorism, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, October 2005
  29. Contact, HLS, accessed September 2009

External articles

External resources