Animal rights campaigners have expressed fury that the Government has ignored calls for a ban on the killing of newborn animals by “concussion or blow to the head”.
Such a method might be used as a way of stopping an experiment in order to comply with a pain threshold. It may also be used if a researcher deems normal euthanasia methods such as injection might interfere with test results.
Despite objections from the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society (IAVS), the new methods are approved in EU legislation which was recently signed off by James Reilly, the health minister.
The IAVS claim it is an unreliable way of “humane” killing and that it will also lead to desensitisation among lab workers.
They have called on all breeding and research facilities holding cats or dogs to pledge not to kill animals in this manner.
The group has criticised the Government for relying on rules drawn up at EU level for lab animal welfare measures, instead of producing its own regulations.
IAVS policy consultant Dr Dan Lyons has called on the Government to consider a formal legal prohibition on such killing methods.
“Clubbing newborn animals to death has absolutely no place in a civilised society. It’s barbaric, not only in terms of the danger of pain and suffering for puppies and kittens, but what kind of character will it engender in the individuals and research institutes that perform this method?
“Euthanasia is supposed to mean a ‘gentle death’ — it is hard to think of a less gentle or dignified method of ending a life.”
- Conall Ó Fátharta