Warning: This story contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some.

TORONTO — A German laboratory is under investigation for its treatment of animals after secretly recorded video allegedly showed dogs laying in bloody cages and technicians roughly handling monkeys being subjected to toxicology tests.

The video reportedly shows workers at the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) near Hamburg, Germany, grabbing macaque monkeys by the neck and restraining the primates in metal harnesses. The monkeys are aggressively handled by the technicians during tests involving needles and tubes.

The primates are kept in very small cages and allegedly can be seen spinning and jumping around in what the narrator describes as compulsive and abnormal behaviours.  

LPT, which is a lab that conducts toxicity testing for pharmaceutical and industrial companies, has received sharp criticism for the “immoral” treatment of the animals.    

A joint investigation by Cruelty Free International, a U.K.-based animal protection organization, and SOKO Tierschutz, a German animal protection organization, was carried out during 2018 and 2019. An investigator worked as an animal keeper at the LPT laboratory to capture the undercover footage.

LPT did not immediately respond to CTV News’ request for comment. The laboratory did tell The Germany Press Agency they were co-operating with the authorities for the investigation. 

The investigation concluded that beagles were “left to suffer when it was clear that they were very ill and even dying; dogs kept in barren housing; monkeys wrenched from their cages and restrained in barbaric devices; gratuitous cruelty and lack of overnight care,” according to Cruelty Free International’s website. In the video, workers can also be seen handling and conducting tests on cats.

Dr. Katy Taylor, director of science and regulatory affairs at Cruelty Free International, told CTVNews.ca their investigation “lifted the lid on the secrecy surrounding the use of animals in regulatory toxicity testing and exposed LPT of failing to properly apply the 3R’s (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) and observe the minimum level of care and protection to animals which is mandatory under EU and German legislation.”

Taylor said it is “imperative” that their findings are not dismissed as an isolated incident and that this type of testing has “no place in a civilized society.”

The German Animal Welfare Act allows animal research, when the goal of such experiments cannot be reached using other methods. The act states that “no one may cause an animal pain, suffering or harm without good reason.”

Animal rights organizations are referring to the treatment of the animals in the video as “torture.”

“In the video we see primates who appear to be Japanese macaque monkeys being brutally treated,” Vicki Van Linden, board member of Animal Alliance of Canada, told CTVNews.ca.“The animals are being slammed around, confined in harsh restraints and their cries are ignored. We see cats cry out and dogs who appear near death. “

Linden called the treatment of the animals in the video as “torture.”

“It’s likely that these abuses happen all around the world, including Canada,” she said.

Cruelty Free International is calling for an immediate review of animal regulations relating to toxicology testing in Europe.

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