It wasn’t easy, a thicket of opposition, sometimes very threatening, from animal rights activists, impeded progress, but the new Oxford animal research center has finally opened. From the story on BBC:
Four years ago, Cambridge University cancelled plans for a primate research centre, because of concerns over spiralling security costs linked to animal rights. It marked a huge victory for animal rights protestors, who then moved their campaign to Oxford.
The vast majority of protests have been entirely lawful. But the police say a small minority of extremists have carried out acts of arson and vandalism against the university, building contractors and anyone they suspected of being linked to the new laboratory.
In 2004 the contractors pulled out citing intimidation. Shareholders had been sent hoax letters urging them to sell. The government introduced new legislation making “economic sabotage” linked to animal research a crime. Ministers promised to help with the security costs.
After a 16 month delay work resumed, with building workers covering their faces to avoid identification. A court injunction limits protest outside the building to four hours every Thursday afternoon.
Amanda Richards is one of many who turn up each week. She says the SPEAK campaign believes in lawful protest and that it is crucial that someone represents the animals.”We are here to highlight that Oxford University are mutilating animals on a daily basis. Our intentions are to continue campaigning to persuade them to change this from an animal torture to a lab which is looking at the alternatives which will drive medicine forward.”
SPEAK says animal research is not just immoral, but worthless.
It is defamatory to claim that these animals are being “mutilated” for no good purpose. It is to denigrate people who are really trying to improve the human (and animal) condition by adherents of an explicitly and implictly anti-human ideology that has short-circuited their critical faculties. Animal research may be many things, but “worthless” isn’t one of them–as we have repeatedly discussed here at SHS.
Good for Oxford University for continuing forward with this important project in the face of baseless vituperation and intimidation. May we all benefit from the medical and scientific advances that these animals will help effectuate.