A woeful disregard for transparency

The BHF aren't entirely stupid: they know that animal experiments are a contentious subject which invoke strong emotions across all sections of society. So, they have made it as hard as possible to find out about the animal experiments that they fund, and, indeed, the fact that they fund them in the first place. Where are the signs in the shop window telling you that donations fund animal research? Disclaimers in their fundraising packs? Small print at the bottom of their adverts? You won't find any, because they're not there.

Sadly, the BHF publish absolutely no statistics on the numbers of animals used in experiments. It's not like the BHF doesn't have collect information: every grant application which involves the use of animals must include the questionnaire Form EXA on which researchers must state the species and number of animals used, and even whether they will conscious, unconscious or dead during the course of the experiments. Even big pharmaceutical giants publish data on animal use - usually buried within their annual reports, but nonetheless freely available. So why not the BHF? How long would it take to collate and publish this data? Almost certainly less time than it would take to think of another embarrassing PR exercise.

Home Office guidelines state every project licence granted under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 must rigorously and demonstrably apply the 3Rs (Replacement, Refinement and Reduction) principles. But, it would appear that the BHF isn't taking it seriously. The only mention of the 3Rs on their website is a blog post from 2015 grandly announcing three research grants of £90,000 each over three years. Not only does this figure represent less than 0.1% of their research budget, the project doesn't even aim at eliminating the use of animals in those areas of research targeted, only reducing the number. By how much? It doesn't say. This isn't even a token gesture, it's an insult to the innocent animals that die at the hands of BHF researchers, and the people that are duped into donating their money.

And on the subject of being duped, not even the people working for them know they fund animal experiments. We have received multiple reports of BHF volunteers quitting as soon as they found out that the money goes towards animal experiments. Shop staff have lied and told customers that the BHF don't fund animal experiments. This doesn't sound like a well informed workforce, more like a middle management cover up. Could it be that the BHF are reluctant to tell their workers the truth? After all, 82% of people wouldn't knowingly give money to a charity that funds animal experiments.

Instead, they came out with this glossy 13 page booklet in 2014 - a few months after we started our campaign (pure coincidence, we're sure) - which we believe was written to be deliberately misleading. It states: "all emerging treatments must be trialled in animals before first tests on humans can take place", omitting the fact that the only animal testing required by law is drug and vaccine development, areas which the BHF do not fund. They put a picture of zebrafish swimming in a tank on the front cover. We will leave you to decide why they didn't put, for example, pregnant sheep with bags over their heads to suffocate them). A desperate effort to minimise the bad publicity heaped on them by ourselves and other organisations.

This was followed a few months' later by this sappy blog post featuring "vegan" Richard Mindham, who actively supports and funds animal research. Some vegan he is! 

Like the addict who refuses to admit they have a problem, the BHF swing from obfuscation to denial on this matter of life and death. They claim to be helping the UK population, but they can't even be straight with them. If you want to help us expose them, use the links above to get involved, we would love to hear from you.