Animal Aid

LANDMARK SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGE TO ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION

Posted 22 November 2002

A HIGHLY-CHARGED PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO CONTROVERSIAL PROPOSALS TO BUILD A MASSIVE NEW PRIMATE RESEARCH FACILITY IN THE CAMBRIDGE GREEN BELT BEGINS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Cambridge University has been refused planning permission twice by the local authority. An appeal has led to this month's inquiry, during which the scientific value of experiments on monkeys will be publicly debated for the first time in such an important arena.

Animal Aid and the National Anti-Vivisection Society - supported by Naturewatch, PeTA, Uncaged and X-CAPE (Cambridge Against Primate Experiments) - will be represented by expert witness, Dr Ray Greek MD.

Dr Greek is the medical director of Europeans For Medical Advancement and author of two key ground-breaking volumes setting out the scientific case against the "animal model".* Dr. Greek will demonstrate that experimenting on monkeys delays medical progress and harms patients. The University in its written "proof of evidence" to the inquiry provided no scientific evidence to the contrary.

National Anti-Vivisection Society director, Jan Creamer, and Animal Aid director, Andrew Tyler, said in a joint statement:

"Cambridge University are refusing to say how many monkeys will be brutally experimented on and killed in the vast new laboratory. They have withheld key information and made anonymous claims about the usefulness of the experiments - which they don't even bother to support with scientific evidence. We urge this prestigious institution to think again, and dedicate its intellectual and financial resources to building a truly world-class Centre of Excellence. Here, state-of-the-art non-animal technologies, such as brain imaging, would hasten progress towards treatments for devastating human diseases."

The impartiality of the planning process itself will also be on trial. Tony Blair and science minister, Lord Sainsbury (a billionaire with a holding in biotechnology worth an estimated £40 million and who has gifted £9 million to the Labour Party) have voiced strong public support for the project. Its ultimate fate will be decided by Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, rather than the inspector presiding over the inquiry. Animal Aid and the NAVS believe there is no future in this type of primate research and that the government is in danger of attaching its name to a scientific white elephant.

Notes to Editors

  • More information from Andrew Tyler at Animal Aid on 01732 364546, Sacha Bond at NAVS on 020 8563 0250, and X-CAPE on 01223 311828.
  • For full background, click here. See also www.x-cape.org.uk and www.navs.org.uk.
  • The inquiry starts 10am on Tuesday 26th November at the Council Offices, South Cambridgeshire Hall, 9-11 Hills Road, Cambridge. It is expected to last for at least seven days.
  • Photos and video of UK neurology experiments on macaque monkeys (of the type that would be conducted at the proposed Cambridge facility), and also of non-animal neurology research, are available from the NAVS on 020 8563 0250. Animal Aid and the NAVS both have ISDN lines for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is presenting separate legal evidence, which will draw heavily on its undercover investigation at the Cambridge University primate laboratories during 200½002. More information from Wendy Higgins (020 7700 4888) or www.buav.org.

    * Dr Ray Greek has co-authored, with Dr Jean Greek, Sacred Cows and Golden Geese (Continuum, 2000) and Specious Science (Continuum, 2002). Both are available from the Animal Aid shop. Dr Greek will be available for interviews during the inquiry on 07929 107955.

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