Animal Aid

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS DISSECTED AT CAMBRIDGE PRIMATE LAB INQUIRY

Posted 6 December 2002
Dr Greek

Today Dr Ray Greek, representing the National Anti-Vivisection Society and Animal Aid, demolished the case put forward by Cambridge University to support its application for a primate laboratory.

A dropped pin could have been heard as, in quiet measured tones, Dr Greek gave two and a half hours of scientific evidence that damned the experimental animal models that Cambridge want to use in a massive new primate research centre on the outskirts of the city.

Dr Greek, who once performed neurological experiments on animals, cited a succession of scientific papers to support his case.

He noted that the University had made bold assertions but provided no solid evidence that the proposed labs would be in the national interest.

Dr Greek told the inspector,

"They have not provided enough evidence for a grant application nor for publication in a science journal. Their evidence should therefore not be enough for this inquiry."

Dr Greek's key points included that:

... Scientists are so scared to speak out against their employers and the scientific establishment that one researcher resorted to having his face blacked out and voice disguised for a television debate about the use of animals in research;
... The Cambridge case could be summarised as, "it works because they say it works;"
... Science should work on the basis of evidence not by a vote through the old boy network - the theories of Einstein, Darwin and other great thinkers were once rejected;
... The use of chimpanzees for Aids research in the USA has been discredited because it has provided no gains;
... While animals and humans are similar at the gross level the key differences lay at the molecular level - especially in the way regulatory genes affect events in the body;
... Someone qualified to conduct primate experiments would not be allowed to operate on a pet monkey;
... We've got rid of blood-letting and mesmerism, now it is time to get rid of animal experiments;
... A US congressman has noted that medical research is now being conducted to attract funds rather than funds being sought to conduct important research.

Dr Greek's cross-examination was continuing throughout Friday afternoon.

Notes to Editors

  • More information from Andrew Tyler at Animal Aid on 01732 364546. Also Sacha Bond at NAVS on 020 8563 0250. For full background, click here.
  • The NAVS has photographs, and video footage (Betacam SP) of the type of brain research on monkeys proposed at the new lab. Also video footage of a disturbed lab monkey, supplied to a UK lab by Cambridge University.
  • ISDN facilities available at both the NAVS and Animal Aid, for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • In 2001, 2.6 million experiments were conducted on animals in the UK.
  • Animal experiments are not currently included in Freedom of Information Act regulations; public scrutiny of applications project licences to use animals in research is currently against the law.

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