Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Renowned Neuroscientist and Oxford Graduate Exposes the Fallacious Arguments of Oxford University in Pushing for a New Animal Testing Facility

This is nothing less than groundbreaking. To finally have an actual graduate of the prestigious Oxford actually expose the hypocrisy and one sidedness of Oxford in their insane march towards an additional animal testing facility is a monumental step. And then to say that there is simply a small group within Oxford that is pushing for the unnecessary facility and that many inside are opposed to it will push this conversation to a rational degree. And, as you’ll see in the following quote, to actually say that those opposed to animal testing are actually right and have a legitimate argument and will literally be judged with respect in the future will lead to a profound change in the tone of the debate. You will see more below. Here is the quote just referred to:

Dr Maxwell said vivisectionists were "swimming against the tide of international medical and ethical opinion. I fear that history will judge their animal rights opponents as less extreme than the very scientists who persist in non-human primate research in the face of an increasing body of consistent and compelling evidence that the resulting data has and will continue to endanger countless human lives."

Article:

US neuroscientist rails against Oxford lab

http://education.guardian.co.uk/businessofresearch/

story/0,,1996135,00.html

Alexandra Smith
Monday January 22, 2007
EducationGuardian.co.uk

A leading neuroscientist and Oxford graduate has stepped into the debate over animal testing in a highly critical paper that condemns the university's controversial laboratory.

Writing for Animal Aid, the UK's largest animal rights group, Marius Maxwell, a neurosurgeon at a specialist spine centre in the US, said the minority of Oxford animal researchers were "tirelessly promoting their claimed achievements before the media".

He said: "Many of my Oxford colleagues in world-class scientific laboratories, and in the humanities, are privately aghast at the ability of a small group of media-savvy vivisectionists to hold the debate hostage and thereby besmirch the international reputation of their university."

Dr Maxwell's comments come just days after Pro-Test, the Oxford-based group backing animal testing, said three letter bombs had been sent to research companies in Oxfordshire and Birmingham.

Pro-Test said the first bomb was sent to Cellmark, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, last Thursday. It failed to detonate properly and resulted in minor injuries. The other two letter bombs were understood to have been sent to companies in Culham, Oxfordshire, and Chelmsey Wood, in Birmingham, but were discovered before detonation, according to Pro-Test.

Iain Simpson, spokesman for the group, said: "Following a series of attacks in which a woman could easily have been very seriously injured, Speak and Peta [animal rights groups] need to come out and condemn these attacks if they are to have any credibility. Both claim to be legitimate organisations interested only in peaceful campaigning. If this is the case surely they will join us in condemning these barbaric attacks."

The construction of the £20m animal research laboratory at the University of Oxford has been dogged with controversy.

In July 2004, the construction firm Montpellier pulled out after threatening letters were sent to its shareholders and its share price dropped. Work on the lab was suspended because of continuing threats of violence.

In the same month, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) admitted to an arson attack on the Hertford College boathouse and joined another animal rights group, Speak, in a campaign to target any organisations linked to the university.

In his opinion piece, Dr Maxwell, who studied at Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard universities and is now based in the US, refuted the findings of the recent Weatherall report on primate vivisection, which advocated the use of animals for research, as "profoundly flawed".

Dr Maxwell has thrown his weight behind groups, such as Europeans For Medical Progress, campaigning for safer, humane alternatives to animal testing, according to Animal Aid. He has also joined the call by Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford (Vero) - a growing group of dons and graduates, including Ann Widdecombe and Tony Benn - for the university's new animal lab site to be turned into a "world-class medical imaging and research centre".

Dr Maxwell said vivisectionists were "swimming against the tide of international medical and ethical opinion. I fear that history will judge their animal rights opponents as less extreme than the very scientists who persist in non-human primate research in the face of an increasing body of consistent and compelling evidence that the resulting data has and will continue to endanger countless human lives."

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