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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
7 July 1999 Issue

Recently-Exposed Animal Breeding Company - Keeping Pigs With Human Genes
Source: peterk@buav.org

For the first time ever, undercover footage of genetically modified pigs has been obtained by the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) at the recently exposed animal breeding center, Harlan UK, in Belton, Leicestershire.

The 'transgenic' pigs, whose whereabouts have never before been publicly
revealed, belong to Imutran, subsidiary of biotech giant Novartis. The pigs have been bred with human genes in a crude attempt to make the organs 'rejection resistant' when transplanted into humans.

The video footage shows piglets kept in plastic weaner units and slightly older pigs kept in overcrowded pens. None of the pigs have any access to sunlight. The pigs fight viciously with one another, despite instructions by Imutran to staff at Harlan UK to use 'anti-fighting' spray on them.

There are, at present, no Government guidelines in place to govern the welfare of transgenic pigs. The normal age for weaning pigs is about 80 days old but these piglets are separated from their mothers when less than a week old and shipped to Belton from another secret breeding center in Scotland. At Harlan UK, they are fattened up before being sent to Heathrow and flown around the world to form breeding herds in Japan, the United States, Canada and Spain.

Sarah Kite, Head of Research and Investigations at the BUAV says: "It is
outrageous that the commercial production of transgenic pigs is allowed to take place without any government regulations. The findings of our investigation reveal major animal welfare concerns and show the stark contrast between the reality of living for these pigs and the cozy PR image portrayed by Imutran.

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