Animal rights campaigners 'could set cancer research back decades'

 

Oliver Wright
Tuesday 21 June 2011 00:00
Comments

Health charities last night warned vital medical research into cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's may be set back by decades because of a high-profile boycott campaign by animal rights campaigners.

Animal Aid plans to take out newspaper ads urging the public to stop giving money to Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the Alzheimer's Society and Parkinson's UK unless they end support for animal testing.

The campaign has been condemned as irresponsible by the charities and scientists, who warn it could set back medical research and damage other important areas of the charities' work.

"This is an illogical and ill-conceived campaign," said Lord Willis of Knaresborough, the chairman of the Association of Medical Research Charities. It will have consequences for charities targeted, he added as, during tight economic times, a small downturn in donations could put any cures back by decades.

Colin Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, said: "This is an utterly irresponsible attack by Animal Aid "

Animal Aid yesterday published a report,Victims of Charity, which it claimed highlighted charity-funded tests that caused "appalling suffering". In total, 66 charities were identified as using public donations to fund animal research.

The four named UK charities were singled out as organisations of "some standing". Together they have annual income of more than £710m. Animal Aid urged people to withhold donations until charities promised to stop funding animal experiments.

Its director, Andrew Tyler, said: "Animal Aid is under no illusions as to the pro-animal research lobby's financial and political clout. But the public do not like the idea of animals enduring great suffering to no purpose, and Victims of Charity argues that this is precisely what is happening."

But Professor Tipu Aziz, who has conducted research using animals in his work on Alzheimer's, said it would have been impossible without them. "If you stop animal research you will stop medical progress," Professor Aziz said.

Dr David Scott, director of science funding at Cancer Research UK, said: "We do no research with monkeys, dogs or cats. We have strict ethical policies and follow guidelines to ensure that animals are only used where there's no alternative."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in