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CAMBRIDGE PRIMATE INQUIRY MOVES INTO FINAL PHASE
Posted 9 December 2002
The landmark public inquiry into an application by Cambridge University to build a massive new primate research centre moves into its final phase following two weeks of evidence and cross examination before the government-appointed Inspector, Stuart Nixon.
On January 8, barristers for the main parties will enter their closing submissions. Mr Nixon will then make his recommendation, although the final decision rests with John Prescott - deputy to a Prime Minister who months ago offered public support for the controversial labs, in which every year hundreds of monkeys would be subjected to painful brain research. Support has also been forthcoming from Science Minister and biotech business mogul, Lord Sainsbury.
On the final day of witness evidence (Friday, December 6), Dr Ray Greek MD, representing the National Anti-Vivisection Society and Animal Aid, demolished the case put forward by Cambridge University to support its application for the primate laboratory. Dr Greek gave two and a half hours of scientific evidence that damned the experimental 'animal models' Cambridge wants to use. 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.
Several hours of cross-examination by the University's star QC, Robin Purchas, failed to dent Dr Greek's case. Their counsel also made no impact upon the evidence offered by Animal Aid/NAVS' planning expert. Anthony Keen argued that the university had not made sufficient effort to find an alternative, non Green Belt site, and that the proposed development would almost certainly result in harm to the visual and rural character of the area. The proposed project would be the size of two retail superstores. Additionally, concerns about security would likely result in the introduction of measures such as metal gates, barbed wire and floodlighting.
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 for the new lab; video footage of a disturbed lab monkey, supplied to a UK lab by Cambridge University; and non-animal neuroscience research.
- 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 against the law.