I've been following Oxford's pro-research organization Pro-Test since its inception, and a few weeks ago I wrote a post describing its second large march through the streets of Oxford. Pro-Test has received quite a bit of well-deserved press in general, but I was recently directed to another very comprehensive account of the latest march. On his blog, freelance journalist Kieren McCarthy also wrote a long post on the event that's about the same level of detail as my account, but he ends up putting me to shame with professional-quality photographs and, even better, audio recordings of almost all of the speeches. To have a look and a listen, check it out here.
Although McCarthy is upfront with his reservations about animal research, he comes away impressed by the Pro-Test rally:
I think what people do need to recognise with the Pro-Test march is that no one really likes the fact that the lab is being built, or that animal experimentation will go on there, but what they did stand for is the fact that animal testing has taken on a negative connotation of such epic proportions thank to animal rights protestors that they are seeking to balance it up. Animal testing is an unpleasant reality and it goes on because there are good reasons for it to go on. But the support stems from the fact that others are misrepresenting the facts and threatening people....
I still have significant reservations about animal testing - and I suspect that the reason that Oxford University won't allow the cameras into its animal testing labs is because the images simply will be shocking to the wider public - but I was very glad to have been there standing in the June sun as a small group of intelligent and dedicated people showed just what was possible with some hard work and courage.
Animal testing is an unpleasant reality and it goes on because there are good reasons for it to go on. I wonder what those reasons are. Good media coverage, but it sounds like it will be a long time for reality to really affect this guy and his cohorts that have been deep programmed from birth. His quote places him among a broad cohort of irrationalists. Irrationalist-based issue cherry pickers might just as easily substitute stem cell research, evolution and fighting for democracy and free speech in the quote. MOTYR