Don’t let the bullies win

The anti-vivisection bullies are on the march again, with a cleverly orchestrated campaign to wipe out medical research using animals in the UK.

The last major push by animal ‘rights’ activists in the mid-2000s relied on terror and blackmail, targeted at medical researchers and their families.

This time, the activists are using more subtle PR-friendly tactics, mobilising a letter-writing campaign aimed at transport companies.  Depressingly, this seems to be working: according to the BBC, all ferry companies and all but two airlines have stopped importing animals destined for research laboratories.

I am proud to have been part of the fight-back against the anti-vivisection bullies.  In 2006 I started an online campaign – the People’s Petition – to give a voice to people who supported British medical researchers and the critical work they do.

Together, with the Pro-Test movement at Oxford University,  the People’s Petition marshalled public and political opinion in support of science.  And we won support from all corners: not many campaigns unite the Telegraph, the Times, the Sun and Polly Toynbee.  In the face of this determined and broad coalition, the anti-research activists backed down.

We were successful because we stood up to the bullies: we showed this “tiny group of extremists” (Tony Blair) that we were not prepared to let them win.

The transport operators who have caved in to the latest wave of anti-vivisection activism need to show the same resolve.  They will find the public supports them.

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5 Responses to Don’t let the bullies win

  1. Paul says:

    Well said! ou’re absolutely right that it is time for scientists and supporters of scientific research to rally the public in support of transport of animals for research in the UK. This is not a problem limited to the UK though, scientists in the United States and Canada are also finding that the future of medical research is under threat due to the unwillingness of transport companies to stand up to animal rights fanatics.

    It is time to send these firms a message that we will not allow the science policy of this country (and others) to be rewritten by their unwillingness to stand up to a small but vocal and disruptive minority.

    • What is really worrying is that the UK and North America have the most stringent regimes to police animal research. The only thing the fanatics will achieve – if we let them – is to drive research offshore to countries with loose regulatory regimes.

      If people really care about minimising animal suffering, they would back UK medical research.

      I wish I knew a way to show the transport companies that they will be supported by the public if they make a stand.

  2. Emma French says:

    Very well written piece, which persuaded me even though we have locked horns on some aspects of vivisection before…have you linked your blog to comments section of transport relevant sites?

  3. Pingback: Tried and tested | clear blue water

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