Campaign starts to save dogs facing death in dental study

Campaign starts to save dogs facing death in dental study

Tens of thousands of people have joined a campaign to save six labradors from being put down at the end of a medical trial in a Swedish laboratory. The dogs have had a third of their teeth removed and replaced with human dental implants at Gothenburg University. A protest has been held outside the university and a petition with more than 80,000 signatures has been handed in.

Ricky Gervais, the comedian, and Peter Egan, the Downton Abbey actor, have backed the campaign, which has been joined by British activists from the Animal Justice Project. The Animal Rights Alliance, the Swedish organisation that set up the petition, said that the dogs would still be killed.

Researchers carrying out animal testing in Sweden must show that there is no alternative and seek approval from the animal ethics committee at the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Gothenburg, which has approval, said it had guidelines to ensure that the welfare of animals was monitored by vets and to ensure as few animals as possible were used. The university said that the implants would help people to eat and speak again.

Goran Landberg, deputy vice-chancellor for research, said: “It’s difficult for us to reach a consensus on these issues but dialogue is important. As we see it, animal experiments are still needed in some kinds of research, to develop new medicines and treatment methods and gain basic knowledge.”

Mark Collins, a vet, told TV4 in Sweden that labradors formed close bonds with humans and that the dogs would have been left “emotionally broken”. Daniel Rolke, of the Animal Rights Alliance, told The Local, a Swedish news site: “Kids have sent in pictures with dogs they drew pleading for the dogs’ lives. Hundreds of people have offered to take the dogs in and rehome them and give them a loving home.”

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