Letter: Vivisection truth

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Whether or not Barry Horne is regarded as a martyr - "one who undergoes death or suffering for any great cause" - is a matter of opinion ("Will this man be the first martyr of Middle England's animal rights movement?", 30 November). Campaigning for the abolition of vivisection is a great cause. But his demand for a Royal Commission, as promised by our craven government prior to the election is, I believe, both legitimate and at the same time unrealistic.

Mr Horne is not "black-mailing" the Government. The Government is betraying the electorate.

This Government would not risk mounting a Royal Commission because of what it would reveal about the pharmaceutical industry. There is big money involved.

I find it sad that the public believes that testing drugs on animals ensures, or helps to ensure, their safety. Animal experiments often mislead researchers and frequently lead to illness or death by failing to predict toxic effects. A Royal Commission would expose the appalling cost in human and animal suffering caused by the reliance on second-rate research methods, using animals because they are convenient and helpless.

JOAN COURT

Animal Rights, Cambridge

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