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scientists react to news of closure of guinea pig farm

Professor Tipu Aziz, Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Radcliffe Infirmary who uses primates in his pioneering research into Parkinson’s Disease, said:

“It’s a tragedy that the animal rights movement is hampering moves to such a degree that they’re putting the future of public health at risk. It’s my feeling that the treatment of this family proves that animal rights activists are acting like terrorists.”

Brian Cass, Managing Director of Huntingdon Life Sciences, said:

“The animal rights movement will claim this as their victory, but the closure of the Hall’s guinea pig farm should never be called a victory. It was a succession of criminal acts over many years, some utterly despicable, and the perpetrators of these crimes need to be punished. This is the closure, through illegal coercion and the triumph of mob-rule, of a crucial and perfectly legitimate business helping in the advancement of medical science.”

Dr Philip Wright, the ABPI’s Director of Science and Technology, said:

“Guinea pigs have provided essential information to support biomedical research into respiratory disease resulting in real breakthroughs in the development of new medicines.” “The activities of a few animal rights extremists have placed impossible pressure on those going about their legitimate business. While animal rights extremists are likely to be only one factor in the final decision, it does underline the need for greater protection of those individuals and companies targeted and committed long-term resources from the Government to back up the recently-introduced legislation.”

Vicky Cowell, Director, Seriously Ill for Medical Research, said:

“This is no victory for animal rights protestors. Despite being under huge amounts of pressure they kept going; they could have bowed out two years ago. They should be congratulated for their courage to keep going despite everything that has happened.”

A spokesperson from VARE (Victims of Animal Rights Extremism), said:

“The Victims of Animal Rights Extremism (VARE) group is saddened that this guinea pig breeder has been forced out of business by intimidation and harassment. This legitimate business, and the Newchurch community, have been highly resilient. They have held out for six years against a sustained campaign of bullying, physical threats and criminal damage.

“VARE is confident that, given adequate resources, new laws will help others who find themselves under attack. Unfortunately, in our opinion, the legislation came too late for Newchurch.”

Simon Festing, Executive Director, Research Defence Society, said:

“It is appalling that a small bunch of criminal extremists can close down a legitimate business supplying animals to medical research. The research community will continue to support government and the police in their renewed efforts to crackdown on animal rights extremism.

“We are determined that vital medical research goes ahead and that animals are cared for to the highest standards. Guinea pig research has contributed to 23 Nobel prizes in medicine and we still need to use them in certain important areas, such as the study of lung disease, deafness, allergies and the development and testing of new treatments.”

Sophie Petit-Zeman, Director of Public Dialogue, AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities), said:

“AMRC member charities believe that research involving animals is essential for medical progress. The UK has strict laws and guidelines for breeding and care of animals used in such work and organisations like Darley Oaks farm have and will continue to play a vital part in improving the health and well-being of man and animals.”

Background Information The use of guinea pigs in medical research Guinea pigs have been used extensively to help understand human disease. Guinea pig research led to the discovery of: . Vitamin C . TB bacteria . Adrenaline And helped in the development of: . Diphtheria vaccine . Blood transfusions . Antibiotics . Kidney dialysis . Asthma inhalers Current areas of research on guinea pigs: . Understanding hearing defects . Safety of medicines, particularly related to birth defects . Nutrition research . New treatments for asthma and research into allergies . Neurological diseases For more information please see RDS online.

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