Undercover footage recently came to light from the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) near Hamburg. The video showing an intolerably cruel and scarcely believable treatment of monkeys and other animals, which led to calls for the laboratory to be closed.
Whistleblowers at the disgraced firm LPT have now come forward saying that they were told to falsify test results at two sites in northern Germany. They state that managers at the private testing firm told them to alter data, modify doses and even replace dead animals with live ones. Details of these change were to be kept quiet from the commissioning clients.
LPT is a contract-testing laboratory carrying out toxicity testing for international pharmaceutical, industrial and agro-chemical companies. The tests are to ensure compliance with regulatory authorities from all over the world.
Can any results from this laboratory be trusted?
If the allegations are true, then all results generated by the family-owned firm must be highly questionable.
The Hamburg Consumer Protection Authority has called on politicians to suspend all animal testing licences to LPT pending an investigation.
After the publication of the footage that was captured at the facility in Lower Saxony between December 2018 and March 2019 last year, a woman came forward to German TV show FAKT. She claimed to have worked at an LPT lab in Schleswig Holstein.
The whistleblower says she was asked to modify the dose of a particular substance given to rats after they died within a couple of days of testing. Furthermore, she says that she was told to replace the dead animals with live ones and to withhold this information from the client.
To compound LFK’s woes, a second whistleblower employee then claimed that she was directly involved in faking data “for years” and that others did so too. She says that she worked at the company’s headquarters in Lower Saxony.
State prosecutors are now looking into the claims.
LPT has denied all knowledge of fake laboratory results.
A spokesman said: “Statutory toxicity studies can rarely lead to unexpected deaths, dosages are then reduced, incidents are documented and reported.
“Information and / or evidence of counterfeiting is unknown to us. Such acts are excluded because of the tight control system required in our company.”
Appalling animal suffering
The original footage was jointly released by Cruelty Free International and Soko Tierschutz, a German non-profit organisation committed to animal rights. Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International commented:
“Our investigation has uncovered appalling animal suffering, inadequate care, poor practices and breaches of European and German law.
“We are calling for the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) to be closed. We are also calling for a comprehensive review into the use of animals in regulatory toxicity testing in Europe, including the UK.
“Every investigation, without fail, shows a similar tale of misery and disregard of the law.”
According to Cruelty Free International, many clients are “ending, reviewing or suspending” their work with LPT. The organisation has said that “there appears to be growing speculation that authorities in Lower Saxony and LPT GmbH & Co. KG have reached agreement about the imminent closure of the company’s Mienenbuettel site, the facility at the centre of our joint investigation with SOKO Tierschutz”.
Time for a fundamental re-think about the use of animals in regulatory toxic testing
The world-renowned zoologist Desmond Morris reacted with horror to the footage. He called for a “comprehensive review of the use of animals in regulatory toxicity testing”. He added that is it now “time for a fundamental rethink about the way we treat animals used in research. Although poor practices and breaches in EU legislation took place at LPT, every year millions of animals across the EU suffer in toxicity tests.’’