AR-News: [UK] Research bodies disappointed by decision to cancel primate research laboratory

Andrew Gach unclewolf at
Sat Feb 7 09:38:25 EST 2004

BMJ  2004;328:306 (7 February), doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7435.306-c 

Research bodies disappointed by decision to cancel primate research laboratory  [abridged]
Research organisations in the United Kingdom expressed concern about the future of neuroscience research requiring primate experimentation after the University of Cambridge announced last week that it had decided not to proceed with plans for a neuroscience research centre. 

The University of Cambridge said that it would not continue with plans for a primate research centre because protests by animal rights campaigners had increased the costs of maintaining security. 

Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said: "We must make sure that pressure and threats from a tiny minority of protestors do not impede research that is vital in the hunt for treatments and cures for terrible illnesses." 

Professor Blakemore suggested that plans to build a centre just for primate research might not have been the best approach, as it was bound to become a target for protestors. "Research centres should be designed to answer scientific questions. Primate research is a small, but essential, component of research that people turn to only when there is no other way to answer a particular question," he explained, suggesting that primate research should ideally be carried out alongside other methods of scientific inquiry.

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