Wickham Laboratories is a contract analytical testing laboratory that supports Food, Healthcare, Medical Device, and Flood disaster recovery industries. Located in Hampshire, England, it was founded in 1965 and remains an independent company. On 30 November 2010, Wickham Laboratories welcomed the report from the Home Office  into issues raised, following an infiltration by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV). The Home Office said “the licence authorities granted to individuals at Wickham laboratories under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 were legitimately requested and appropriately assessed”. Allegations in 2009 made by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV). were disproved by the Home Office. “K. Allegations were made that inexperienced staff were practising injections on live mice; this allegation was not substantiated” (p6). The report was published on 30 November 2010 following a year long investigation and report.
The company was founded by veterinarian, William B. Cartmell, who established a veterinary practise at Wickham, Fareham, Hampshire in 1954. As the business grew, he developed facilities and animal care techniques, including the construction of an animal hospital along with founding another six branches, then an animal hospital. A laboratory facility was developed in order to improve treatment to animals.
In 1965, Wickham Laboratories was incorporated as a separate company to provide contract testing services on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, doctors, farmers, and animal-feed manufacturers which included microbiology and chemistry testing. Mr Cartmell remains the company's Managing Director, and is the veterinarian responsible for carrying out the inspections of the Toxicology lab that are required under British law as well as for the animals welfare.
Keith Mann and one other activist from the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) broke into Wickham Laboratories on December 13, 2003, and stole 695 mice that were being used to test Dysport, made from botulinum toxin. This medicine is licensed in the UK to treat serious illnesses such as cerebral palsy. Symptoms of other illnesses the medicine treats include eye muscle contractions whereby a person cannot open their eyes, or suffering through chronic facial twitches and muscle spasms which can mean the inability to walk or move properly. Animals are used for research of this medicine where there is no alternative method. The drug is used in cosmetic surgery clinics to erase frown lines. it has been illegal to use animals to test for cosmetic purposes in the UK since 1998. Mann was arrested at his home and the mice were returned to the laboratory. He argued in court that the tests carried out by Wickham Laboratories were illegal because the product was being tested for cosmetic purposes, which is banned in Britain. The court rejected his defence, and found that the tests complied with British regulations because Dysport that was being tested is used for therapeutic purposes only. After the verdict of 230 hours of community service with no jail time was read in court, Mann reportedly exclaimed "I won!" and leaned over to threaten Wickham's technical director, Chris Bishop, telling him "Your trouble is only just beginning. You will need to look under your bed." Court was quickly reconvened, and Mann was sentenced to 6 months in jail for contempt of court; the judge, who called Mann "dangerous and fanatical", stated that "I will not have people leaving my court saying that sort of thing" and noted that Mann's actions "bore all the hallmarks of terrorism". Melvyn Glintenkamp was given 170 hours of community service for aiding and abetting Mann by allowing him to keep the stolen mice in a caravan at his home.
2009 BUAV investigation – 2010 Home Office Report
The Sunday Times published details in November 2009 of an eight-month undercover infiltration investigation conducted by the BUAV. Following the report, the Home Office said, “171. Licence and Certificate authorities to permit work under ASPA 1986 were, and are, in place at Wickham Laboratories...172. The authorities granted by the Home Office under ASPA were issued legitimately and with appropriate reference to current requirements for authorised medicinal products” The home office ministerial statement said: “the majority of concerns raised by the BUAV in their report have not been substantiated”.
- History of Wickham Labs. http://www.wickhamlabs.co.uk/Home.aspx
- Wickham Labs Press Release http://www.wickhamlabs.co.uk/News/NewsArticle.aspx?newsId=19
- Woolf, Marie. Staff maim lab mice with ballpoints, The Sunday Times, November 1, 2009.
- Home Office Report http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science/769901/wickham-laboratories?view=Binary
- Animal Welfare http://www.wickhamlabs.co.uk/toxicology/animalWelfare.html?p=188.8.131.52
- , "Animal rights activist jailed after threatening scientist". Independent UK, 30 April 2005
- Mann, Keith. From Dusk 'til Dawn: An insider's view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement. Puppy Pincher Press, 2007, p. 630.
- Understanding Animal Research http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/about_research
- Cosmetics UK http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/about_research/myths_and_facts
- Portsmouth Newspaper Article Animal protester jailed after court threat, The News, 30 April 2005; see also Direct Action News, accessed October 31, 2009.
- The Ministerial Statement http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wms/?id=2010-11-30a.68WS.3