Oxford protest in favour of labs: ignorance on parade

Posted on the 1st March 2006

Saturday's Oxford demonstration in favour of animal research was yet another opportunity for vivisection proponents to shut off all intelligent assessment of their cruel and scientifically bogus activities. This was accomplished by invoking the spectre of an irrational, violent and extremist enemy.

Yes, there are some within the anti-vivisection movement, because of the levels of frustration they feel, who resort to threats and property damage. But the vast majority of us are unequivocally opposed to this kind of aggressive tactic and tired of such minority activities being used as an excuse to invalidate a rational and heartfelt objection to animal research.

One of the professors involved in Saturday’s protest has been declaring through the media that no animal suffers during experiments – that this is not allowed. The reverse is the case. Animal researchers need a Home Office licence precisely because – as that licence states – their experimental subjects are likely to be exposed to ‘pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm’. The scientific literature is replete with accounts of animals being poisoned to death in toxicity tests, monkeys being brain-damaged and deprived of food and water in order to coax them into participating in appallingly repetitive tests. There are accounts of seizures and vomiting. And what good comes of such ‘procedures’? None. Relying on data from animal ‘safety’ tests and making assumptions about the origins and potential remedies for human disease on the basis of animal research is an intellectually as well as a morally bankrupt practice. Let the government commission a genuinely independent investigation into the scientific merits of animal research – a debate in which the general public can and should participate.

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