Out of hours press enquiries, call 07918 195 238.
NO JUSTIFICATION - Open letter to Cambridge head
Posted 1 October 2003
The following letter has been sent to Professor Alison Richard, the new Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, urging her to shelve plans to build a massive new research laboratory which would conduct brain experiments on monkeys.
Professor Alison Richard
Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge University
Vice-Chancellor's Private Office
The Old Schools
Cambridge CB2 1TN
21 October 2003
Dear Professor Richard
Your appointment as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge presents you with a unique opportunity to propel Cambridge into the global forefront of scientific excellence by rejecting the plans for a primate research laboratory in favour of a modern facility that focuses on human-based studies. These are the key to finding cures and treatments for neurological and other diseases, as indicated by nine Professors and Doctors in a recent letter in the Telegraph (enclosed).
We appreciate that this is a controversial matter, and that you have many issues with which to deal. However, we urge you to consider the enclosed materials as a matter of urgency. The principal document is a copy of the evidence submitted to the recent public inquiry by Dr Ray Greek, Medical Director of Europeans for Medical Advancement. Also enclosed is a copy of Monkeying Around With Human Health, a fully referenced report into the cost to people of relying on experiments on primates, and a video, Cutting Edge, which is an exposé of the kinds of procedures that will be carried out should the new centre be built.
Through your research into primate biology you will obviously be aware that these animals are sensitive and intelligent but with marked physiological differences from human beings. However, you may not be aware that findings from primates have frequently misled scientists, sometimes with tragic consequences. For example, scores of treatments for stroke have been developed and tested in primates, but all of them have failed in humans and harmed people in clinical trials.
The majority of the public opposes this project and 121 MPs agree that 'experiments on primates cannot be justified in view of the important biological differences between people and primates'.
Even if Mr Prescott gives his approval for the site, it is not too late for Cambridge to embrace instead a centre of excellence in cutting edge science, which does not depend on outdated and flawed animal research.
Director, Animal Aid