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Legal challenge set for July
Posted 1 June 2005
July 26 is the proposed date for our historic High Court challenge to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's decision to overrule his own Planning Inspector and grant Cambridge University permission to build a massive primate research centre on green belt land on the outskirts of the city.
Although Cambridge has dropped its plans, it still has the possibility of changing its mind unless planning permission is officially revoked. This is why we must proceed with our legal challenge.
Many thanks to all of you who have so far contributed to our fighting fund. Win or lose, it will be an expensive exercise and your help is much valued and appreciated. Donations are still welcome (click here to donate online now).
The grounds for our appeal - entered into jointly with the National Anti-Vivisection Society - are that Prescott acted perversely when discounting the judgement of his own department's inspector. Planning Inspector Stuart Nixon heard scientific evidence from the University's experts as well as detailed submissions and oral evidence from our own side at a public hearing into the issue at the end of 2002.
He ruled that the University failed to demonstrate that its proposed brain experiments on monkeys would benefit human medicine. In fact, he suggested that the University could more profitably direct its talent and resources into non-animal research.
BBC apologises to Animal Aid
Meanwhile, the BBC governors have rebuked the makers of Radio 4's Today programme and ordered them to apologise to Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler, for the way it edited a recorded interview with him that was broadcast January 27; this was the day the news broke that Cambridge University was to abandon its plans for the research centre.
An article in The Times (28 April) described the governors' decision as 'the first major ruling involving the current affairs programme since the Hutton report'.
Andrew's interview was carefully edited to omit two key facts: that Prescott's own Inspector ruled against the University and that, as a consequence, we were now taking Prescott to court. While Andrew was ruthlessly edited, Colin Blakemore of the Medical Research Council and a spokesman for the University were allowed free rein in the studio to create the impression that the University's decision to abandon its plans was a victory for moronic violence over democracy.
Blakemore was even allowed to state - unchallenged - that reasoned argument played no part in the objectors' case. The BBC admitted that it was 'unfair' to allow Blakemore to make this statement unchallenged.