Borders boycott call

The British Heart Foundation in Kelso.
The British Heart Foundation in Kelso.

Animal welfare campaigners are urging Borderers not to give money or donate items to certain charity shops due to links to animal experiments.

Animal Aid has been particularly targeting the British Heart Foundation’s role in conducting, or funding, medical experiments using animals.

It claims these included dogs and pigs being deliberately given heart attacks, and goats forced to endure weeks of disruption to heart rhythms.

And it not only wants Borderers to stop spending money in local British Heart Foundation charity shops, such as in Kelso, but also those operated by other charities linked to animal experiments – such as Cancer Research UK and Arthritis Research UK.

Animal Aid spokeswoman Isobel Hutchinson told The Southern: “We would ask Borderers not to spend money in, or donate goods to, not just the British Heart Foundation, but to any charities which either conduct, or fund, animal experiments.”

Responding to the boycott plea, Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said he hoped the Borders public would continue to support it.

“We understand people have strong views about research involving animals and this isn’t a decision we take lightly,” he said. “We only fund animal research when there is no alternative and the research is likely to lead to a medical benefit for patients.”

Emma Greenwood, head of policy development at Cancer Research UK, told us: “Scientific studies involving animals remain essential to better understand, prevent and treat more than 200 different forms of the disease.

“We have strict ethical policies in relation to animals and follow rigorous government guidelines to ensure that animals are only used where there’s no alternative and we are committed to finding ways to replace the need to use animals in the future.”

And Dr Stephen Simpson, director of research at Arthritis Research UK, added: “Medical research using animals continues to be essential to tackle many unsolved problems in understanding and treating musculoskeletal conditions.”

However, pointing out numerous non-animal research alternatives were already well established, Ms Hutchinson said: “Fundamental differences between species mean research from animal experiments cannot be reliably applied to humans, making it unlikely it will result in medical progress.”