An international campaign group is calling for Bristol University to end testing on horses and ponies

It’s concerned with the way the animals were supplied to the labs

Bristol University is being criticised by an international campaign group for performing tests on ex-race horses bought by private owners.

The Cruelty Free International is calling for the university to stop with this testing as it could be a serious matter of animal cruelty despite the fact there are currently no legal restrictions regarding where labs can source their horses and ponies.

One of the experiments concerned was testing painkillers on horses. Test tubes were inserted into the neck veins of six horses so that drugs could be injected and blood samples taken more easily. The painkillers were used to reduce the horses’ reaction to the pain. A device was placed around one of the horse’s leg, with a blunt pin pushing against it with increasing force until the horse lifted its leg in pain.

It was discovered that the horses were provided by a facility called Alstoe Animal Health.

Michelle Thew, the chief executive of Cruelty Free International, claims: “Many people in Bristol and beyond share their lives with horses and ponies and will be horrified to learn that these majestic animals are subject to such cruel experiments.”

“Tragically, there are no restrictions regarding where laboratories can obtain these animals and we know that Bristol University has previously used former racing horses in tests.

“We urge researchers at Bristol University to stop exploiting horses in experiments and shift their focus to developing humane methods instead.”

Throughout the UK in 2014, 8,079 experiments were carried on horses, ponies and donkeys.

However, Bristol University is signed up to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, and a spokesman claimed that they “adhere to high standards of care and welfare for the animals involved”.

The spokesperson added: “The University has designed, built and maintains dedicated facilities for the animals, and has processes in place to ensure that it meets statutory requirements.”