Activists claim victory as builders' firm halts deliveries to animal lab site

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The Independent Online

Anti-vivisectionists claimed a victory yesterday in their campaign to halt the construction of a £18m animal testing laboratory when one of the country's largest building material suppliers halted deliveries.

Anti-vivisectionists claimed a victory yesterday in their campaign to halt the construction of a £18m animal testing laboratory when one of the country's largest building material suppliers halted deliveries.

Travis Perkins said it would end deliveries to the site of the new Oxford University complex after it was contacted by an animal rights group which is trying to persuade the project's contractors to withdraw.

The Northampton-based building supplies company, which has 700 branches, refused to say whether its decision was a result of the campaign. But in an e-mail sent to Speak, the campaign group opposing the Oxford laboratory, Travis Perkins said: "Having concluded our investigation, we would like to confirm our decision that Travis Perkins will cease deliveries to the specific site in Oxford."

The withdrawal of Travis Perkins, which made profits last year of £161m, is the latest example of the anti-vivisection movement's shift in focus to the companies which supply services to animal testing laboratories. Huntingdon Life Sciences, the Cambridgeshire research company, has lost its auditors, Deloitte & Touche, and its insurer and bank. The security firm Securicor said in February that it would not be renewing its contract to guard Huntingdon buildings after its managers were targeted by protesters.

Speak, which carries a list of contractors involved with the Oxford laboratory on its website, said it had only asked Travis Perkins to reconsider its involvement and look at its campaigning material. But the group, which earlier this year claimed victory after Cambridge University abandoned plans to build a primate research facility, confirmed that it had also told the company its offices would be picketed by protesters if it continued to make deliveries. Mel Broughton, a spokesman for Speak, said: "If a company wants continue its involvement then we reserve the right to protest outside its offices."

Oxford University said the withdrawal of the building supplies company had not disrupted construction of the facility, which will bring its biomedical research under one roof.

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