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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 17:52 GMT
Lab rejected over protest fears
Animal rights demonstration outside Huntingdon research lab, PA
Huntingdon was targeted by animal rights protests
Plans for a hi-tech research centre near Cambridge, UK, have been rejected because of fears over animal rights protests.

Cambridge University described the decision by South Cambridgeshire District Council to block the development at Girton on the outskirts of the city as "deeply damaging".

A university spokeswoman said research into such conditions as Alzheimer's, autism and Parkinson's would be set back because of the authority's decision.

But the council said the decision was taken because of fears about public safety and concerns expressed by the police.

This decision will have a deeply damaging effect on the search for the alleviation of devastating disorders

Cambridge University
Senior officers said the laboratory was likely to attract the type of protest that has been staged outside Huntingdon Life Sciences, which is sited a short distance along the A14 trunk route.

One man was jailed last year for an attack with a wooden stave on the director of the centre.

Animal Aid opposed plans for the laboratory at the council meeting and expressed "delight" at the decision.

The university confirmed that some testing on animals would have taken place at the centre.

A spokeswoman said: "Research methods are continually evolving and while new methods have enabled scientists and medical researchers to reduce work involving animals to a minimum, some of this work must continue if we are to make essential life-saving advances in medicine."

A spokesman for the council said they also accepted that the work proposed for the laboratory would have been in the national interest.

But he added that although this "outweighed" harm to the green belt, "it considered that the site is unacceptable because of the risk to public safety".

See also:

09 Jan 02 | Business
US bank turns back on Huntingdon
29 Jan 01 | Business
US group bails out Huntingdon
19 Jan 01 | Business
Research industry under threat
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