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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February 2004, 10:26 GMT
Primate centre: Your views
Cambridge University has cancelled plans to build a controversial primate research centre.

It has decided the costs, including for measures needed to protect the facility from attack by animal rights groups, would make the laboratory uneconomic.

The centre had become a focus of the growing battle between medical researchers and anti-vivisectionists.

Should the building plans be shelved? Is valuable research being lost due to animal rights protests? Send us your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Phil Thompson from the UK:
Are the animal activists costing peoples lives by hindering medical research?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Your reaction:

I have no problem with animal testing as such. I do, however, have a problem with organisations who profit financially from such activities. I would like to see all such research performed by government agencies, where the primary objective is animal welfare, NOT lining shareholders pockets.
Tony Bastin, Leeds, England

I assume all those who are against researching drugs with animals will refuse treatment next time they are ill. The only way to get new drugs approved is by animal testing.
Richard, Canterbury

It is unfair to test on animals as the world is increasingly losing numbers of different species everyday without knowing it. I feel that if there are prisoners in prison that can't/won't/don't deserve a second chance should be your test subjects and then testers are able to get verbal feedback from the patients/subjects and understand the side affects as speaking monkey is hard from some but not for you maybe.
Ryu Buck, Swansea

If I had a serious illness of course I'd volunteer myself to take trials in drug testing (I already have done so), as would all of us 'animal rights activists'. Also please don't tie us all with the same brush - we're not all extremists as you so readily state - in the same sense that not all people who like football are football hooligans. The sooner this animal research nonsense is eliminated, the sooner we'll see cures for dreadful diseases. All you pro's, go and see a vet next time you're ill if as you state we're the same as animals.
Evonne, Beds

What makes me laugh is that almost all of the people in these protesters have benefited from the cures developed through animals.
James Jenkins, UK

The more cures that we find, the more deadly the next disease that springs up becomes. It's high time we accepted that death is inevitable to everyone and left the animals alone. Without animals we humans would go extinct, so why oh why are we so confident of our superiority!
DS, UK

Perhaps scientists themselves could volunteer to be the research material, far better to have results that are more pertinent and accurate by using human subjects!
Ag Wilson, Edinburgh

To all those of you saying animals have an equal right to live as we do, go tell it to a hungry lion. If you find the world a bit big, bad and scary perhaps you should go and hide under a rock somewhere until the sun shines, the birds sing, and man lives in perfect harmony with beast. Until then I'm going to do what every creature has done since time begun; do what it takes to SURVIVE, and if that means hurting a few chimps, so be it.
Paddy, UK

I am HIV+ and refuse to take combination therapy because primates are involved in testing the medication. I want to see an end to all vivisection.
John Stevens, Devizes, England

At least when these animals suffer, it's for a more useful purpose than to satisfy someone's preference for a bacon butty. Industrialised food production dwarfs the suffering caused by vivisection, yet most consumers prefer to look the other way. Indignation seems far easier to handle than guilt.
Jaydee, Hull, England

Animal testing is not even defensible from a scientific viewpoint
Simon Allen, Melbourne, Australia
Forgetting about the moral arguments, animals do not make good experimental models for drug tests. Even species which are superficially very similar to humans operate very differently at a molecular level. Many useful drugs have been delayed because they were ineffective, or dangerous, to animals. Conversely many drugs which passed animal testing failed human trials or caused severe problems in use (thalidomide for example). So animal testing is not even defensible from a scientific viewpoint; the results of any animal test say nothing about the effects of a substance upon humans. Animal testing is a placebo for regulatory authorities; one bought at the cost of great pain and suffering to innocent creatures.
Simon Allen, Melbourne, Australia

Would the opponents to animal testing please volunteer to have drugs tested on themselves? That would obviate the need for animal testing.
Chris, USA

I don't understand why man thinks he has the right to do what he likes with other living creatures. Mans 'control freak' tendencies seem to let him down time and time again. We seem a bit of a stupid race.
Isabel Woods, Brighton

I think every laboratory which is not built is a step forward in protecting animals and not to experiment with them.
Jens Stollburges, Herdecke, Germany

I think it is terrible that in this day and age people still think it is a necessity to test on animals, for one reason only, because they have no voice to defend themselves.
Liz, Manchester, England

Putting animal needs before those of humans is dangerous. Over the years most cures have come about as a result of tests on animals to preserve human life.
Ken Nyaks, Chelmsford, Essex

I have an incurable disease and I don't want animals to be tortured on my behalf
Ian Hughes, Llanelli, Wales
I cannot believe the emotional garbage spouted by pro vivisectionists, 'what if it was someone you loved' argument. The mess we are making of the planet and environment, we are driving some animals to the point of extinction. We have always abused and persecuted animals for our own benefit and pleasure. We have no divine right to do this.
I have an incurable disease and I don't want animals to be tortured on my behalf.
Ian Hughes, Llanelli, Wales

Animal rights protesters need to find something real to cry about. Come over to the Third World and see how they treat animals here! Only today I drove past a minibus with maybe 500 live chickens tied by their wings to the roof, to the radiator, to the wing mirrors, and several goats stuffed inside underneath the seats. If protesters were really concerned about animal suffering they would use their clearly quite considerable effort against something like this! They wouldn't raise hell and high water to stop vital medical research on paltry numbers of animals which are kept stringently in comfort and health most of their lives. The truth is they are not concerned with animal suffering at all, merely their new-found power to veto other humans' activities. Surely this is just as much a violation of human rights (which exist) as they claim experimentation is a violation of animal rights (which don't)?
James, Cambridge, UK (living in Kampala, Uganda)

Just another example of human beings believing that our own survival, quality of life and longevity is paramount above all other life forms on earth. It sickens me that scientists spout that it's 'for the good of all mankind' that these animals suffer. What a sad indictment to mankind it is that we inflict such suffering on innocent defenceless living creatures and still believe that it is morally correct to do so. I would like to see veterinary surgeons carrying out experimentation on human subjects in order to better understand animal health... Isn't it shocking how when you reverse the scenario it becomes offensive? It is a greater shame that the majority of humans are not more offended by what is done in their name.
K Thompson, Portsmouth, UK

I'm a cancer researcher & have NEVER used animals in my work. However I have still had two death threats in the past 3 years from "animal rights activists". These people are terrorists in exactly the same way that al-Qaeda or the IRA are. Giving in to them is just as unacceptable.
Peter, U.K

I fear that preventing this sort of work from being performed in the UK is condemning more animals to a greater degree of suffering
Andrea, UK
I am torn on this, I realise the importance of animal testing for medical research. I also intensely dislike the thought of these animals suffering. My main concern however, is that this research is being forced to happen in countries that do not have such a stringent system as ours. In the UK, animals must be destroyed if in severe pain, this is not necessarily the case elsewhere. I also think I am right in saying that the UK is the only country where licensing of the premises, the project and the person carrying out the work is a legal requirement. I fear that preventing this sort of work from being performed in the UK is condemning more animals to a greater degree of suffering, not to mention damaging our scientific community by forcing scientists to go elsewhere.
Andrea, UK

I work in the City near a firm that does some work for Huntingdon Life Sciences and every week there are protestors there shouting abuse. The strange thing is that, the more I see the protestors, the more I have sympathy for the vivisectionists. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of testing on animals, the behaviour of the anti-vivisectionists is so appalling that they lose more support than they gain. The decision whether to go ahead with this research or not should be based on rational and reasonable debate, not terrorist tactics by a minority.
Simon, London, UK

The only reason that scientists have dared to go thus far with experimenting on animals is that the poor animals are totally helpless and cannot fight back. This therefore makes such humans despicable.
Mrs C Joseph, Brisbane, Australia

The BBC needs to be more precise about the nature of the work to be done. 'Testing' (drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, foods) is different in kind and motivation from 'research'. Testing is about efficacy, safety and acceptability of products. Research is about finding out how things work. The results might lead to testable products but this is not the prime motivation. We have to decide as a society whether we want to find out the general principles of functioning of primate brains (including our own) by research involving animals - or not. This knowledge might or might not be usefully medically. But we certainly can't use it if we don't know it.
Roy Smith, Burntwood UK

I think that certain conditions necessitate these experiments
Bilal Patel, London, UK
I think that certain conditions necessitate these experiments, as long as suffering is minimised and maximum respect shown to the creature. Many of the people campaigning against research will already have benefitted from it in terms of they and their families getting medical treatment which would not have been possible without experiments. I do also find it quite hypocritical especially when you consider the scale of human suffering in the world, and also the fact that everyone, including animal rights campaigners, are leading lavish lifestyles here in the West which the environment cannot sustain. Let's get our priorities right here.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

Sad day for Britain, sad day for science everywhere. It seems all it takes are a few using questionable tactics to widen the chasm between science and the public that depends on it.
Mark, Cambridge, US

I agree with testing on animals as long as they are well kept and not mistreated. My objection is with the methods of protest that the animal rights protestors use. All animal rights protestors go and take your complaints to the government rather than singling out companies who work inside the law.
Cat, Cambridge uk

There are alternatives. Look at how many ethically conscious companies manage to produce efficient and successful products which do not require testing on animals. If we are so eager to push our scientific boundaries, then it should be ourselves who are subjected to this torture not some poor animal who clearly has no say in the matter. How compassionate, sophisticated and civilized are we?!
Chantelle, Manchester, UK

Having been diagnosed with Parkinson's, it has led me to re-think my view
Andrew Silk, Winnipeg, Canada
There was a time when I was in complete agreement with the animal rights activists. I am 42 years of age and having been diagnosed with Parkinson's, it has led me to re-think my views. I am an animal lover and it pains me to think that animals are suffering to aid science. But until a viable alternative to animal testing is devised I am afraid that such testing must continue, as long as they are treated as humanely as possible.
Andrew Silk, Winnipeg, Canada

It's pure fallacy that animals are needed for neurological or any scientific research. Ethical research using humans in clinical trials and computer models and cell cultures are where we gain our knowledge of medical cures. The rest is just politics and money.
Barbara, New York City, USA

Whenever we eat meat, wear leather shoes, kill a spider or remove a bees nest we place more value on our own lives than we do on the lives of animals. I doubt very much that this is ethically wrong - we are pretty much at the top of the food chain. Furthermore why do we keep pets? It is not out of any sort of benevolence towards animals, it is because of our selfish desires - we take pleasure from them. Everything that human do is selfish, and we should not be ashamed of this. Animal testing is selfish - no doubt about it - but that doesn't make it wrong. Presumably those that take their alleged higher moral stance don't wear leather, or eat meat, or swat flies, or travel by car, use plastic or wood for paper, and would downright refuse to consent to pioneering and lifesaving drugs being used on themselves and their parents/children if they were tested on animals - or would they?
Dhruv, Manchester

To: Dhruv, Manchester.
I object very strongly to your letter & find it offensive and highly insulting to myself and to the many people in the UK who rescue animals from Welfare Centres etc., give them a home and thus save them from destruction. But you call this "selfish behaviour"! (Quite frankly, I'm staggered that the BBC even published your E-mail!) Further, animal testing is selfish - as you correctly state - but this human behaviour towards aminals is also immoral & wrong. Who are we, as humans, to treat animals in this way? They have as much right to existence on this planet as we humans - and cause far less crime, pollution and war.
Alan Hall, Evesham, Worcs.

The government should pay for security, not the University. Terrorists are terrorists no matter what the cause.
Tom, Birmingham

Having completed my PhD studies at the Huntingdon Road site, I could not think of a location less suitable from a security point of view. Although the site has an outstanding heritage as a farm animal experimental station, it has not hosted research that quite garners the emotions that primate neuroscience does. The Centre would have been an important asset to society, but not at this location. Hopefully the planned funding will not now disappear, but will be redistributed for the good.
Dr Jeremy Marchant Forde, W. Lafayette USA

What I find ironic is that the more science is advanced, the less likely we are to need animals for tests in the future. We are humans and we have a duty to look after each other, and if that means a few animals die then so be it.
Ed, London, UK

I love animals, and would hate to see their lives needlessly wasted, but unless we allow the ethically immoral cloning of human cells for testing, we must allow for animal testing to help search for cures. How would you feel if someone close to you was dying of something that could be cured through the use of animal testing?
Kristian Purchase, Oxford, UK

As a human being I feel the research on animals should not be done, especially on primates that share a reasonable intelligence, and understand very much cruelty exposed on them, though I also must say that experiments are also necessary, but alternative ways should be opted for.
Arun Kumar Ray, Calcutta/India.

A great victory for animal compassionates. Would you be happy with one of these labs in your own home town? I doubt it. It's about time people were used for experimental research instead of animals. It seems the population of this country is on a massive increase so I'm pretty sure there would be plenty willing to offer themselves to the cause of medical research for a cash incentive. I've an idea, why don't medical students avoid paying their top-up fees by offering themselves for the purpose of medical "research". What fantastic hands-on experience.
Nick, Cambridge

There is a lot of self-justifying rubbish being talked about here. To do these sorts of experiments on primates is revolting. What makes us human is our compassion for other species as well as for other human beings. People need to wake up to the reality of this.
Wanda, Durham

One of my closest friend's has Parkinson's disease - without these tests a cure will never be found. How do you explain to him they are so close to finding a cure yet not in his lifetime because of animal activists... I would like to see how their opinions change should someone close to them get sick.
Claire, London

I hope those pro-animal experiments do not have the misfortune to suffer their next life as a primate in a lab.
Mark, Hong Kong

Whether the protestors are right or wrong, why do we live in a country where the minority dictate to the majority.
Konrad Black, UK

Science should not advance by inflicting suffering. We think we know what primates are and that they are beings who cannot suffer in the way we do. Science continues to surprise us with what it reveals are the true cognitive abilities of chimpanzees and no doubt we will be surprised as the abilities of other primates turn out to be far higher than we estimate them to be today. Its always possible to create other methods of study and research.
Graham, Hemel Hempstead

A human life is worth infinitely more than any animals'. People suffering from diseases deserve the best chance to find treatments for their conditions; this is a blow for medical research and all future patients.
Paul Skinner, Cambridge, England

To regard this type of research as "unpleasant but vital" is to show gross ignorance of the reality of these experiments. This type of research, "vital" or not, is exceedingly cruel and abusive. NO research is vital when it creates this degree of suffering to primates. These plans should have been shelved long ago. How arrogant of human beings to entitle any degree of suffering in other animals "vital".
Jill Gershen, Germantown, USA

This sort of research is unpleasant but vital to the continuing advances in medicine
Annabelle, Northampton, UK
This sort of research is unpleasant but vital to the continuing advances in medicine. All that will happen is that another centre will be established outside the UK, where the stringent animal welfare regulations and laws do not apply. We need to be aware - animal suffering has not been stopped by this decision, the likelihood is that it will be far worse elsewhere. Whether we like it or not, it is better that research takes place in this country, where we know that the animal's welfare is protected.
Annabelle, Northampton, UK

Rights are a human construct: a compact between the several members of a state, to preserve the self inviolate, which is the primary end of all organisms. Animals necessarily cannot have rights, lacking as they do the faculties to conceive of them, and the wherewithal to enforce them. They have no inherent worth, except insofar as they are of use to mankind (that being the very definition of worth). To say that animals suffer is mere anthropomorphism. Anti-vivisectionism is the substitution of emotion for reason, and turpitude for morality (as the remarkably inhumane posts on this board show).
Alex, UK

Animals should not be regarded as insentient objects for us to use, abuse and toss aside as we see fit. Suffering is suffering, no matter who or what is experiencing it. Just put yourself in the place of the animals for a moment and try and imagine the abject terror, misery and pain they feel either whilst locked in cages for weeks or being experimented on in research labs. Do you really think that's acceptable? More money should be spent on prevention and developing more reliable alternatives to animal experiments. The "problem" with that is that there's no money to be made in prevention......
Chris, Worcs

Cruelty to animals is dreadful but if it is done with the express purpose of saving human lives, it must be right. After all we farm animals and slaughter them for our use. The use of animals to test make up, the dangers of smoking etc. should never be allowed. This decision is another nail in the coffin of our universities.
Msmo, London UK

Instead of spending millions on sending robots into space only to find that don't work, why not use the money to find alternative ways of experimenting? The animals they use just don't have a choice - that's not fair!
Alison, Surrey

Do animal rights activists deny themselves treatment when they or their loved ones are suffering from a disease the cure for which was developed using animal experimentation? I doubt it. Yet that is what they seek to impose on the rest of us and our children. People should be more grateful for the science and the doctors that save lives and alleviate human suffering. They accuse these scientists of cruelty - the hypocrisy of it makes me quite sick.
tim lord, London UK

To all the pro-vivisectionists, the next time you are ill, I suggest you go to see your vet
Bruce, Northampton
To all the pro-vivisectionists, the next time you are ill, feel a bump somewhere on your body, or suspect something is wrong, I suggest you go to see your vet. Surely, if animal testing works so well he will be able to cure you better than your doctor. Drugs don't get on the market just because of animal testing. Yes, animal testing is usually involved, but they DO NOT FIND the cure. The majority of drugs tested on animals go on to harm humans in clinical trials and are scrapped. There are well over 400 alternatives to animal testing available today.
Bruce, Northampton

Speaking as someone who has lost a mother to cancer, has a nephew with cancer, has lost a number of relatives and friends to cancer, I can honestly say that each and every one of my friends and family would have not wished any animal to have been hurt or killed to assist them. I must also add that their families think the same, I still think the same even my sister's son has cancer. It is fortunate that I know and have known some remarkable people in my lifetime who respect all living things.
E SLOAN, England

Medical testing on animals saves lives. We don't have to eat meat to live. Yet why aren't these protesters outside factory farms, which cause pain and suffering to thousands more animals, often in far worse conditions? Though to expect sense from people who attack any building in Cambridge with the words "Bio" and "Science" in its title might be asking too much...
Wendy, London, UK

Having looked carefully at the evidence for and against I have come to the conclusion that the government and research organisations would be using their money more wisely investing in other more effective ways of testing. To continue testing on primates may be cheaper but the results could actually be detrimental to human health.
Tina Davenport, Cambridge

Regarding finding alternatives to animal testing - funding and licences are not granted for animal work in this country unless the applicants have demonstrated that there is no viable alternative. I don't like the idea of animal research, but I would rather it was done in this country where the laws are already in place and there are strict rules to keep the numbers and suffering of animals used to an absolute minimum. The same cannot be said of many other countries in which such research is carried out.
Rachel, UK

As a council tax payer who contributes to the cost of policing in Cambridgeshire, I am delighted that this laboratory has been shelved. I am tired of paying for Huntingdon Life Sciences' security and would have been horrified to be expected to foot the bill for another torture chamber for animals.
Jane F, Cambridge

I don't want to live longer at the expense of this world
Stuart Taylor, Bristol, UK
When I consider what it must take to experiment on a primate, I see it as no great loss that someone should be prevented from undertaking such a gruesome activity. Have we not damaged our planet and distanced ourselves from nature enough? We live for years and years already and I don't want to live longer at the expense of this world, no matter what.
Stuart Taylor, Bristol, UK

I only wish this had been decided because of reasoned argument rather than blatant, aggressive and threatening behaviour.
Gerry, UK

It seems to be rather a sad reflection on society that the project has been shelved not for the moral reasons, i.e. right or wrong, or the cost to animal life outweighing the benefits, but for the uneconomic need to protect the facility.
Martin B, Eastbourne

In the 21st century we have super computers that can map the entire human genome. So why does modern universities feel the need to use tax payer money to allow truly sadistic megalomaniacs to torture innocent animals in the "Interest of Science and Medical Research". Animal research has never been of any true value. I personally see no difference in a society that can justify cruelty to animals as being morally superior to a society that tortures a race or religion of people as their inferiors. Its time for all of the human race to realize that we are all earthlings on this small blue world.
Donna Ditara, New York, USA

As somebody involved in animal research I have to say that if there is any sort of alternative then we will do anything to use it. Animal research is difficult, expensive and time consuming. However, despite what certain small groups may say it does continue to produce results that save and improve lives. As a parent who almost lost a daughter recently, and whose life was undoubtedly saved by medical intervention, I would have to say that all the lab mice in the world, as cute as they are, are not worth the life of one child.
Paul, London UK

I am amazed at how many people claim that an emotional response is incorrect, and that we should follow science, and yet their own views are motivated by their own emotions- due to their own experiences or otherwise! Pressure from animal rights groups make facilities like this rethink how they are doing their work. Hopefully they are not just setting up exactly the same laboratory in another country, but will start to address issues around animal experimentation, and the rights of other species. Humans are not the only organisms who have a right to live with a purpose beyond serving human needs.
Francesca, London, UK

MRI is surely the most sane and accurate method of exploring precisely what is happening in human brains - rather than what's happening in the brains of primate
Kaz, NJ, USA
Insulin and its effects had been known for over 20 years before Banting and Best reproduced in animals what had already been observed in humans. Scientists are excited about yeast-derived insulin because it's closer to human insulin, and safer than the current animal sources. Our closest primate relative's brain in one quarter the size of the human brain and does not contain many of our essential neural pathways. Parkinson's doesn't occur in primates, and neither do many human neurological problems. MRI allows us to map what is happening in the human brain as it happens without intrusive surgery.

Combined with DNA research, human cell culturing, computer modelling, and other forms of brain scanning, MRI is surely the most sane and accurate method of exploring precisely what is happening in human brains - rather than what's happening in the brains of primates.
Kaz, NJ, USA

What kind of country do we live in - where we think more of animals than we do of children. I would never buy cosmetics tested on animals - but medical research ....
Janie, Scotland

Why do we think humans are any more important than animals? They have just as much right to live without pain and suffering as we do. An animals life is worth just as much as a humans - at least they don't destroy the planet.
Anon, UK

This is a real blow to the development of new treatments. So many people have survived debilitating diseases through research on animals. I hope that those who object to the centre remember what they have done when their relatives are struck down by Alzheimer's. It's so much easier to criticise when you don't have to see the impact of such diseases, isn't it.
Chris, Cambridge

Although it's sad to watch a close relative/friend die from disease we should except the fact none of us will be around forever. I remember reading in the Bible "Thou shalt not kill" it did not say anything about making exceptions for medical research!
C. L, Reading

I suppose everyone who's expressed the view that animal research should be allowed until a better alternative is found has made a will donating their body for scientific research?
Nik, Devon, UK

Exactly which diseases would have been investigated at this facility? Would the results of this ugly trade have saved more lives than say banning smoking? Does animal testing give real benefit or is it just part of a scientific process which continues unquestioned by the establishment until us, the uninformed and stupid, general public start asking so many awkward questions that this avenue no longer proves viable and someone has to change it. The Roy Meadows case springs to mind!!
I. Mcdonell, UK

This work has and will continue and the best course of action is to make sure it is monitored as closely as possible
Phillip, London
These animal rights protesters cannot possible ignore the fact that this work has and will continue and the best course of action is to make sure it is monitored as closely as possible, and that can only happen when carried out in the UK. I agree the testing of cosmetics is wrong but the life of however many monkeys compared to a human life is not really difficult decision for me to make. Then again we cannot loose sight of the fact these are the same people that think they can stop fox hunting by throwing bricks at horses.
Phillip, London

It's good to see that action does get taken if a lot of people make enough noise about it. It's time that other, modern, non-harmful testing methods were found. This isn't the dark ages.
Dave, Doncaster, UK

Looks like a victory for the Animal Terrorists. Still, there will be less animals alive as a consequence. Shame about the humans whose diseases may have been remedied.
Phil Thompson, Peterborough, UK

Although I don't like to see animals harmed and used unnecessarily in experimentation, I think we must accept that in some cases this research is vital. My mother has Alzheimer's and I wish there was more we could do for her and if this involves some animal experimentation, then so be it. I wonder what the activists would say if they came down with some of these conditions.
Madeline Holwill

How many of these so-called animal rights campaigners eat their McDonalds burgers, wear leather shoes, etc.? How many of them thank the pharmacy companies for the drugs that keep us alive today and have all but eradicated most diseases of the 19th century? We need very strict controls on any experimentation, which won't exist in many other countries where this facility will likely now be built. Of course, we could always experiment on humans, couldn't we?
Brian, UK

Not everything on this planet is ours for the taking
Ajana, Singapore
Unfortunately too much research is into preventable diseases. Till we, as a species, take responsibility for our own health and stop expecting medical research to keep genetically defective humans live - no matter the cost - we cannot use and abuse other species. Remember the smoking beagles? Not everything on this planet is ours for the taking.
Ajana, Singapore

The elimination of human suffering is worth any number of dead animals. If it's a choice between a sick child's life and an animal's life who in their right mind would save the animal?
Lorraine, St Albans, UK

Lorraine, St. Albans, UK: Why do you presume the child's life is worth more than say, a hundred, dead animals and the suffering they endure? Why? Where do you get this from?
Annabelle, Kensington, UK

The onus is upon researchers to find alternative means of doing their research, wherever possible. It's not acceptable to subject animals to torture where there are alternatives or where the research isn't strictly necessary.
Steven Forrester, UK

At a time when many jobs are being lost by outsourcing to India, it's amazing that a big facility like this will be forced abroad. Do we really believe that conditions will be better for the primates if the lab is in a different country?
Patrick Kirk, Berks, UK

Most animal experiments are flawed or unnecessary. You cannot compare many results in animal tests with those in humans. Money should be spent developing more sophisticated ways of conducting medical research. I am glad that they are shelving the research centre at Cambridge, but have one concern - that this doesn't mean UK companies paying overseas agencies to carry out research for them. Controls and animal welfare are often MUCH worse abroad than in the UK.
Claire, Hampshire, UK

This is a major blow to British medical research. It also illustrates the weakness of current legislation regarding the criminal activities of the violent elements within some animal rights organisations. Hopefully, this important research can (and will) be carried out at Porton Down.
Dr Norman Day, Birmingham, UK

Let's use just science as the basis for this - not emotion
Peter, UK
I am an insulin dependent diabetic, living a normal life thanks to insulin injections. Insulin and its effects were discovered by Banting and Best in the 1920s by experimenting on dogs. Prior to that all diabetics died of the condition.
Am I in favour of animal experimentation - you bet I am. It goes without saying that there should be strict regulation and that any scientist should have to present their theories, the items that they seek to prove, and sound scientific reasons why that proof cannot be achieved by other means.
Let's use just science as the basis for this - not emotion.
Peter, UK

I'm so pleased that this disgraceful centre has been cancelled. Animal rights should not be relegated to the fringe. I am however shocked and appalled that both Tony Blair and John Prescott have been supporting this dreadful thing, another reason for me not to vote for Labour again until they are removed.
Adrian de Montfort, Leeds UK

Cambridge University should put their expertise and research into alternatives other than testing on primates. If testing on primates was illegal, I'm sure it would not be too long before an alternative was found. Where there is a will there is a way.
Alf, London

If animal rights groups want to help, they should not be driving this work from our shores, but insist that other countries improve their welfare legislation to meet our high standards
David, Andover
It seems that everyone loses here, including the animals. A British institute will now lose out on the experience and benefits of running a world class centre. Britain has some of the tightest regulation in the world regarding animal welfare in research. The duration and level of any suffering the animal experiences has to be justified by the likely benefit to mankind. These experiments will still be done, but at another centre, where such safe guards may not be present. If animal rights groups want to help, they should not be driving this work from our shores, but insist that other countries improve their welfare legislation to meet our high standards.
David, Andover

The recent bird flu outbreak which is hitting the news clearly shows it's about time we started treating our animals with more respect. Vivisection should not be part of a 21st century world.
Paul, Hastings

I agree with the building being shelved. I am no tree-hugging hippy, but I simply cannot abide potentially putting animals through extreme discomfort/pain with the possibility of death. I see it as an extremely selfish act using other creatures as guinea pigs for human medicines, especially when the majority of test experiments fail.
Graham, Ely, UK

I agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion and there are people who will stand up for animals' rights. However, to believe strongly enough to cause the damage to lives and property that antivivisectionist groups do, they have to be willing to refuse all medical treatment that has been tested on animals. How many of them can honestly say that?
Peter, Cambridge, UK

Where there is no alternative to animal testing then I support it. I don't however support it for anything other than medical research. Cosmetic testing should be banned. People who are against ANY form of animal testing need to seriously consider the alternatives. Maybe the anti-animal-testers would be happier with happy animals but sick babies.
Zorro, Wales, UK

Potentially valuable research will be lost
Mark, Cambridge
Potentially valuable research will be lost. Whether you believe in the morality of the research or not, a small number of extremists should not be allowed to hold research to ransom in this way.
Mark, Cambridge

Primate testing wouldn't be needed if enough human volunteers were prepared to take their place. How about it animal rights campaigners?
Kelly Mouser, UK

To Kelly Mouser: I'm no extremist animal right activist by any means, but cannot stomach primate testing. If I started to develop Alzheimers or any other mental illness, I'd offer to be tested on, but as I wouldn't be considered mentally sound, I'd be refused, even if it was viable. These primates don't have the luxury of choice. Primates form relationships, have families, communicate and are sentient beings. What makes their rights any different to a human's?
Jan, Edinburgh, UK

When will man realise that the other animals on this earth are not merely here for our own use and convenience?
Lee B, Eastbourne, UK

Humans have no right to "use" other helpless creatures for their own benefit especially no primates that are so close to humans.
Ingrid Corker, Buntingford Hertfordshire

It is disgusting that a research centre critical for medical research has been axed due to a minority of people. I would love to see these animal rights people sitting down in front of brain disease sufferers and their families explaining why valuable research that could save them will not be possible. How many of them refuse to use drugs when they are ill? Drugs that were tested on animals!
Louise, Sheffield

Working for a major pharmaceutical organisation which is regularly targeted by animal rights groups, I am party to information that clearly shows the majority of animal rights activists are hypocrites who generally use the products that they demonstrate against. This doesn't mean I support such activity, but I believe animal testing should be governed by the government, not by small hypocritical militant groups. Valuable research might be lost because of the loss of this facility.
Anon, UK




SEE ALSO:
Primate research lab plans axed
27 Jan 04 |  Science/Nature
Legal challenge to primate centre
03 Jan 04 |  Science/Nature
Activists protest at animal lab
11 Oct 03 |  Cambridgeshire


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