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Animals rights protests rumble on
Vere Harmsworth Library closed due to animal rights protest on Saturday
Amelia Kaufman on Saturday 28th May 2011
Photograph: Lauri Saksa
A protest was held on Saturday continuing the fight against animal research procedures such as vivisection at Oxford.
On Saturday the group reconvened once again holding loudspeakers and signs with images of animals and sayings such as ‘Vivisection is morally wrong’ outside the Vere Harmsworth Library where six security guards were posted. The group of 30 - 40 people marched down South Parks Road shouting in protest.
In response to the protest security shut down the library, locking in those inside, opening it only later in the day. Eventually the protesters moved towards city centre, chanting and handing out flyers.
One of the protesters, Laura, commented, “we have so much proof that the vivisection performed is not necessary and cruel and only money is what is keeping it going.
“We don’t want to end scientific testing, we just want a different method to be used.”
The University of Oxford commented that they are one of the world’s leading centres
for biomedical research, including projects on cancer, heart disease and HIV, amongst others.
The university states that its policy ‘”is to minimize the use of animals in research. Animals are only used for a specific and crucial element of research that cannot be conducted in any alternative way.”
They added that “most medical research is carried out using either Invitro Techniques or the study of human beings”.
The university pointed out however that the specific research done with the usage of vivisection is a very small percentage of the overall work that is performed.
Although much attention has been paid to the new Biomedical Science building since its construction, it was constructed to rehouse the animals used in research. The older facilities, which were in the process of being closed, had met strict Home Office regulations for animal care but the university “wished to exceed regulations and set a gold standard for animal care.”
Although primates are used within the research, they make up 0.5% of the animals housed in the building, which when fully populated can house 16,000 animals.
More than 98% of the animals are mice. The University commented that, “primates are only used where no other species can deliver the research answer.”
Many organizations such as Voice for the Animals (SPEAK) state that ‘chances of human benefit arising from such animal studies is exceedingly remote.
“The scientific evidence does not support the translation of fundamental research using animals into useful treatment for people.”
Animal rights activist and Oxford alumnus Sir David Madden told Cherwell,“The 1986 vivisection act came into law 25 years ago. It looked to and promoted the reduction and finally the ending of experiments on animals.
“The practice of vivisection is an urgent moral problem which should have prominence and open discussion. The Three Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement) were launched more that 50 years ago as a recommended way forward on animal testing. Surely it is time to take that road, and explore and implement the alternatives which exist.”
The University told Cherwell that “Oxford’s medical research is world-leading and undergoes many levels of scrutiny – by scientific experts – to ensure that it is rigorous and effective. Claims by SPEAK are simply at odds with what the overwhelming majority of scientists agree on. Without fundamental science – the understanding of the human body and how it works – there would be no applied medical science.”