Animal rights march targets scientist's home

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The Independent Online
Police yesterday sealed off roads surrounding the Oxford home of one of Britain's leading scientists after a march by hundreds of animal rights protesters.

Two hundred officers stood by to prevent protesters reaching the home of Professor Colin Blakemore, president elect of the British Society For the Advancement of Science and Waynflete Professor of Physiology at Oxford University.

The demonstration marked the culmination of a week of protest by animal rights supporters opposed to vivisection. Earlier, about 20 demonstrators had attacked a vivisection laboratory near Banbury.

Professor Blakemore has been the subject of fierce criticism and violent attacks by animal rights supporters for 10 years. He was sent a parcel bomb containing explosives surrounded by nails and his secretary received a letter filled with razor blades.

Professor Blakemore attracted the ire of the animal rights movement after being filmed sewing up the eye of a cat.

He said: "In an ideal world we would not have to kill animals to eat or to carry out experiments. Experiments on live animals have been reduced by half since the 1970s. Although I have tried to encourage dialogue these people are not interested in it. I'm afraid experiments are essential. There are millions of people out there dying from things like Aids and suffering from diseases like Alzheimer's. What should we do, ignore them?"