Cat-like compassion

October 6, 2006

The biomedical researcher missed the point entirely in his ill-informed opinion piece (September 22). Home Office licences do not apply to the humane killing of mice. Any wild or laboratory rodent can be killed without the need for licensing. The regulations apply only to procedures (experiments) on living animals and were put in place because these can cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm.

Paradoxically, the onerous paperwork to which the researcher objects protects him or her, because without it he or she could be liable to prosecution under the Cruelty to Animals Act.

Anyone with even a tenuous grasp of the moral issue will recognise the difference between a swift kill and a licensed procedure. Most people are fairly comfortable with the fact that cats kill mice - but those with compassion are disturbed if they see a cat tormenting a mouse before killing it. It is this basic human compassion that has driven the need for legislation concerning live animal experiments.

Victoria Buck.
London

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