A LABORATORY that specialises in animal research says activists' ideas of what it entails are 'muddled and outdated'.

Earlier this month, four protesters were sentenced for causing criminal damage at Sequani in Ledbury. 

Sarah Benn, 56, from Birmingham, Yasmin Brown, 33, from Swansea, and Fiona Crarey, 68, from Barrow-in-Furness, were each ordered to do 100 hours community service, while Louise Ryan, 51, from Kidderminster, was given an eight-week curfew due to being a wheelchair-user.


On February 25, the group used red chalk spray to daub anti-vivisection slogans at the entrance to Sequani and handcuffed themselves to the gates until police arrived to arrest them.

Benn, a retired doctor, told the court “It’s well-known that animal testing is misleading, unnecessary, and profoundly cruel. Proven alternatives have been established and it is only inertia and profits that allow the practice to continue."

Ledbury Reporter: From left: Sarah Benn, Louise Ryan and Yasmin Brown who, along with Fiona Crarey, caused criminal damage at Sequani in Ledbury (Image: Submitted)From left: Sarah Benn, Louise Ryan and Yasmin Brown who, along with Fiona Crarey, caused criminal damage at Sequani in Ledbury (Image: Submitted) (Image: Submitted)

However, Sequani has defended itself and the work it does.

"It is clear that the activists sentenced object to what we do as a matter of principle but there are many more people across the UK that value what we do and our contribution, along with our development partners, in helping to bring new medicines to market," said the company in a statement.

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"Animals are used in discovery science or to create and safety test medicines. This includes all vaccines for Covid-19, as well as new drugs announced recently to combat cancer and Alzheimer’s, pet medicines and more.

" It would be difficult to find anybody whose life has not been saved or significantly improved by the use of animals in research. It has been used to create almost all medicines..

"By law, animals cannot be used if working alternatives exist and most research animals in the UK are mice, fish and rats.

"Animals are used in research when there is a need to find out what happens in the whole, living body, which is far more complex than the sum of its parts.

"It is difficult, and in most cases simply not yet possible, to replace the use of living animals in research with alternative methods. A new medicine is initially tested in vitro using tissues and isolated organs, but legally and ethically it must also be tested in a suitable animal model before clinical trials in humans can take place.


"These safety tests, which provide crucial information for planning human trials, represent a very small proportion of the development process for a new medicine.

"They not only identify potential safety concerns, but also determine the doses which will be given to volunteers and patients during the first human trials. These safety studies are designed so that the maximum information is obtained from the smallest number of animals.

"At Sequani, over 90 per cent of animals used for regulatory studies are rodents - rats and mice. 

"Other species used include rabbits, pigs and dogs.  Dogs have special protections under UK law which mean they cannot be used if another animal will suffice.

"These animals are specially bred for use in research by licenced breeders and cared for to the very highest standards of animal welfare. Sequani and our development partners also use non animal methods when they can be used."