Author Topic: Oxford fights back - Pro animal testing protests  (Read 103 times)

Don Rizzle

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Oxford fights back - Pro animal testing protests
« on: February 22, 2006, 07:22:56 AM »
Its about time something like this happenned to counter the militant animal rights groups, i'm suprised its taken so long to happen actually most people understand the need to test on animals......

The pro-test protesters
By Brendan O'Neill 

Until now, animal rights protesters have made all the noise in a dispute over a new research lab in Oxford. But this weekend the city's famed academics are planning to hit back just as loudly, as pro-testing campaigners hit the streets.
According to one Oxford academic, a war is looming over "scientific freedom" and the "future of progress", no less. And this Saturday the battle for and against testing will shift from the city's dreaming spires to its historic streets.

Over the past two years there have been regular protests by anti-vivisection groups against Oxford University's plans to build an £18m biomedical research laboratory, at which there will be testing on animals.

The university says the laboratory is essential for scientific inquiry and for pushing forward medical research and methods.

Animal rights groups claim it is unnecessary, that it will be a "prison" for animals which will be treated extremely cruelly by men in white coats.

Moderate groups such as BUAV urge members to:
Avoid products tested on animals
Run street stalls or put up displays in libraries, schools etc
Door to door leafleting
Write letters to newspapers and to MPs demanding abolition
Gather signatures for petitions
Boycott charities which fund vivisection 

Anti-vivisection protesters have continually marched on the half-built lab, while at the more extreme end, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has issued threats and carried out acts of violence to put pressure on Oxford University to stop building the lab.
ALF has declared all staff and students at Oxford to be "legitimate targets" and admitted it was behind an arson attack on Hertford College in 2004.

Last year there were eight attacks involving incendiary devices, linked to protests against the laboratory.

These sometimes violent interventions seem to have had an impact. In 2004, a contractor hired to build the lab pulled out following threats from animal rights activists.

Some of the builders currently working on the project wear balaclavas, lest they be photographed by extremists and possibly targeted for harassment or assault.

And it was recently reported that sections of the lab are being built at a secret location, to be transported to the increasingly volatile construction site only when it becomes safe to do so.

Now, however, some Oxford students and academics are launching a fight back in defence of animal research.

Student majority

Angered by the constant disruptions caused by the weekly demos and the threats of violence - and by having been labelled "legitimate targets" - they are taking direct action of their own to defend the building of the South Parks lab.

"Medical research involving animals is essential to medical progress", says Iain Simpson, spokesman for the new student group Pro-Test.
"And while diseases such as cancer and AIDS continue to kill millions, we are not just justified in continuing with animal research, we have a moral responsibility to do so."

Pro-Test was set up by a 16-year-old school pupil at the start of this year, and has since won the support of Oxford students tired of the constant anti-animal testing demos. Its aim is to defend "science, reasoned debate and, above all, the welfare of mankind".

It already seems to be making inroads with the student body. A poll of Oxford students found that 85% supported animal testing and 65% thought the launch of Pro-Test a good idea.

Pro-Test's first big protest, its maiden demo, takes place on Saturday, and will coincide with a rally organised by an animal rights group. Observers are worried that sparks could fly.

Mr Simpson says animal research is too important to go undefended, and argues that students should back it loudly and passionately.

 What's at stake here is not only medical research, but our belief in scientific progress itself
Lecturer James Panton 

"The benefits to mankind from research on animals are vast", he says, pointing out that vaccines for chicken pox, cholera, influenza, measles, mumps, polio, Whooping Cough and various other diseases that once stalked mankind were developed through testing on animals.
Other medications, including insulin, penicillin, painkillers and chemotherapy, as well as medical devices such as pacemakers, artificial hearts and valves and artificial hips and knees, were also made possible by medical research involving animals.

"Animal testing is absolutely necessary", says Mr Simpson. "And yet there is a popular misconception that these research facilities exist solely to put shampoo in rabbits' eyes."

Pro-Test is part of a wider effort to defend medical research involving animals. The Research Defence Society, which has long defended animal experimentation, is upping the ante, while a group previously known as Seriously Ill for Medical Research has re-branded.

Made up of patients who support the use of animals in research, it has been relaunched as Patients' Voice for Medical Advance.

Establishment silence

Various Oxford academics and political figures have come out in support of Pro-Test. Its upcoming demo will be addressed by John Stein, Professor of Physiology at Oxford, and by Evan Harris, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

James Panton, a lecturer in politics at Lady Margaret Hall college, Oxford, will also be taking part.
"Animal experimentation is not something we should be ashamed or embarrassed about", he argues. "The use of animals in research to develop medicines that save human lives is a moral good."

Mr Panton believes one reason why exasperated students have had to take matters into their own hands is because figures of authority have been unwilling publicly and robustly to defend animal research.

"The government has been far too half-hearted in its support for the laboratory. So too have some at Oxford University.

"Rather than developing a positive public policy on why the lab is important, members of the university have avoided speaking out. As a result, a minority of animal rights activists have been able to dominate the debate. Now we must turn the tide."

Mr Panton thinks there is more at stake here than animal research itself.

"Some people's discomfort with supporting animal research signifies a broader discomfort with the goal of pursuing human knowledge and understanding", he says.

"What's at stake here is not only medical research, but our belief in scientific progress itself and our belief that we can - and should - improve humanity's lot."

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Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/02/22 12:23:16 GMT

iraq would just get annexed by iran

That would be a great solution.  If Iran and the majority of Iraqi's are pleased with it, then why shouldn't they do it?

J Bananas

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Re: Oxford fights back - Pro animal testing protests
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2006, 03:02:55 PM »
sweet, how do we get down with the movement?