German testing lab accused of animal abuse to close in 2020
LPT testing lab accused of animal abuse
The LPT has come under intense scrutiny following an undercover mission, conducted by animal rights groups, that took place from December 2018 to March 2019. An undercover activist was sent to work in the lab and filmed many instances of animal abuse and cruelty, which when released provoked widespread shock and outrage.
Several photos and a video depicted disturbing scenes from the laboratory, including tubes being forced down animals’ throats, monkeys being kept in small cages and being strapped into metal braces, unable to move. Perhaps most distressing of all was an image of what appeared to be two dead dogs hanging from a wall.
Charges brought against LPT
The animal rights activists involved in capturing the footage, SOKO Tierschutz and Cruelty Free International, reported it to the police. Following massive international exposure, the state veterinary office investigated. Around 9.000 people also took part in protests, both at the laboratory’s location in Mienenbüttel as well as in Hamburg.
Friedrich Müllen, founder of SOKO, stated that what the investigation uncovered “enters the territory of clear criminal activity." Aside from clear instances of animal cruelty, the investigation also discovered evidence of fraud, namely the falsification of dead animals' records - a charge that other whistle-blowers have also corroborated.
Laboratory to be closed by 2020
An internal letter, seen by the German newspaper NDR, recently provided details on the LPT’s imminent closure. After the completion of a monkey study by pharmaceutical company Merck, the laboratory will be closed. The company has set February 29, 2020, as its closing date. Thereafter all tests on dogs, cats and monkeys will cease.
While it has been reported that the monkeys have been sent to a pet wholesaler in the Netherlands, the fate of the other animals is unclear. SOKO Tierschutz and an alliance of animal rights groups have called for all the remaining animals to be handed over to animal welfare. They are also calling for the remaining LPT laboratories, in Neugraben Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, to be closed as well.