LONDON (Reuters) - A British anti-vivisection group said on Friday it had uncovered "horrific" experiments being carried out on hundreds of monkeys at Cambridge University as part of medical research into brain diseases.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) said some monkeys died following the experiments or had to be put down. Others suffered bleeding head wounds, fits, vomiting, severe bruising, body tremors, and mental and physical disabilities.
A Cambridge spokesman said the university was taking the matter extremely seriously and had launched a full-scale investigation into the allegations.
BUAV said in a statement that hundreds of marmoset monkeys underwent surgery in which their skulls were cut open, muscle scraped away and an area of the brain deliberately damaged.
"The BUAV...expose throws the spotlight of public scrutiny on one of the most secret areas of animal experimentation at what is claimed to be a flagship laboratory," BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said.
The Cambridge spokesman said the university rigidly enforced government protocols for the use of animals in medical research experiments and carried out its work in consultation with government inspectors and under license.
"These claims have very far-reaching implications and every possible effort is being made to establish the facts surrounding them," the Cambridge spokesman said in a statement.
BUAV said the Home Office had underestimated the level of suffering when issuing licenses for the experiments and had failed to review the licenses once the project, which involves research into Parkinson's Disease and strokes, was under way.
BUAV said one of its investigators spent 10 months making secret undercover films of experiments being performed on marmoset monkeys at the university.
SOURCE: British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)