Winter 03-04 index                                                                                                                    CivAb index                                   

AV activists prevent proposed

Cambridge primate lab

    According to a Reuters report of January 27: "Plans to build a major new medical laboratory in England (have been) scrapped in the face of protests by animal rights groups."

    Cambridge University (CU) officials attributed the cancellation to the increased  security costs involved in keeping anti-vivisectionists and animal rights activists from entering the facility. 

    The lab, which had the full support of Tony Blair's government, would have used primates for neurological testing to study induced symptoms of human diseases  resembling those of  human Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's victims.  It is taking some "scientists" a long time to recognize that superficial  symptoms artificially induced in laboratory animals do not accurately represent  those of spontaneously occurring human diseases.

    Planning permission to build the laboratory in a greenbelt area had been granted in November despite serious reservations published in the chief planning inspector's report.   (Permission to build is not easily obtained in the UK where unused space is in short supply and zealously guarded.  Every application is, in theory at least, carefully reviewed with public interest in mind.)

    It seemed that the University "felt there is no need to demonstrate scientific/medical worth of the research carried on at the non-human primate center," the planning inspector wrote.  "The technical information that was presented to the inquiry could best be described as peripheral skirmishing. . . CU did not dispute that 80% of the trials proven successfully on animals did not succeed when the same tests/treatments formed clinical trials on humans. . . On the basis of technical input, therefore, I could not conclude that need in the national interest is demonstrated insofar as this pertains to the scientific/medical research and procedures undertaken by the University."

    Dr Ray Greek, President of Americans for Medical Advancement and Europeans for Medical Advancement described the report as "a triumph of reason over vested interests and establishment prestige."  It is available on the organization's website:

    Yet, according to the Reuters report, CU officials chose to blame the added expense of guarding against intrusion by animal rights activists for canceling their plans.  This reasoning spared them from having to respond to the compelling arguments advanced by  medical and scientific professionals that experimenting on animals does not produce results that are reliable for human conditions.

    A BBC (British Broadcasting Company) News report pointed out that the decision to grant planning permission for the controversial laboratory had been "based entirely on economic - not scientific or public health - considerations."  It went on , however, to present "an alternative view" from Greek who outlined  some of the "abundant evidence of harm to humans as a result of experiments with primates."  Among other examples he mentioned an Alzheimer's vaccine that had to be withdrawn in 2001 because it caused serious brain inflammation in humans after having been proved safe and effective for monkeys.

   "The most dramatic differences between humans and other primates are in the brain," Greek explained.  "Our brain is four times larger than that of a chimpanzee, which is four times larger than that of a macaque.

   "Biochemical pathways in the human brain are unique.  Gene expression in our brain is dramatically different from that of the chimpanzee.  Future advances in our understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases will come from where they always have--human-based observation and ethical clinical research."

    The University failed to present any evidence to the contrary  because medical experience provides none.  Instead, they relied on the erroneous concept  that  experimentation on animals will eventually lead to discoveries that will help humans. 

    When announcing cancellation of the  project, they blamed animal rights activists for adding to the costs of the already expensive project without addressing  the objections presented by serious scientists.    Nevertheless, this is a significant victory because it prevents further proliferation of primate research and the vivisection industry.


     The National Anti-vivisection Society and Animal Aid issued a joint statement that "the decision signaled that the university failed to show the proposed experiments would be of any use to people."

    The animal research establishment responded  by calling for specific legislation to prevent activists from interfering with their experiments on animals which they are unable to defend on scientific grounds.                                                           -Reuters internet report


  Winter 03-04 index                                              CivAb index                                                     continued

The Civil Abolitionist

         Winter 2003-2004  v.14  no. 3