London – A global campaign is under way to free six Labradors from a laboratory experiment in Sweden before they are killed for research.
The dogs – Venus, Milia, Mimosa, Luna, Lotus and Zuri – are being used by academics at the University of Gothenburg in a study into the effects of dental implants.
The one-year-olds will have been anaesthetised six times during the experiment and had 35 percent of their teeth pulled out to be replaced by human implants.
The experiments are designed to test how the implants cause inflammation and bone degradation. The dogs are due to be humanely killed at the end of the month so their tissues and blood can be studied.
Campaigners have released pictures of another group of dogs used in tests at the university, which have since been put down, to shine a light on their conditions.
British campaigners at the Animal Justice Project together with celebrities, including Ricky Gervais and actor Peter Egan, have joined protesters from around the world in efforts to try to free the dogs.
An ex-veterinarian from the university, Dr Mark Collins, said there are other ways to study human dental implants and that dogs and humans have vastly different teeth.
He added: “These dogs know exactly what to expect when they enter the surgery room, and they are afraid.”
Egan, who appeared in Downton Abbey and is a long-standing campaigner on animal welfare, urged the university to “do the right thing by ending the study and rehoming these dogs to loving families”.
He added: “We’ve banned cosmetics testing on animals in Europe, and yet dogs continue to be used in cruel and unnecessary experiments, this time for our gums. This is no way to treat man’s best friend.”
Daniel Rolke, founder of Animal Rights Alliance, said: “We are running out of time. The dogs will be killed in two weeks.”
Dr Andre Menache, science adviser for both organisations, said: “These dog experiments are not only very cruel but scientifically meaningless for human patients.”
There is no evidence that the conditions in the lab are causing any pain. Universities are required to operate according to strict welfare criteria to eliminate suffering.
Gothenburg University has said the experiments will continue and has declined to be interviewed in the media.