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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK
Debate on future of animal lab
Cambridge University
Plans for the laboratory were originally put forward in May 2000
Senior academics at the University of Cambridge are expected to debate the future of a controversial new animal testing laboratory.

First proposed in May 2000, plans for the 20m laboratory in Cambridge are still awaiting approval from the office of the deputy prime minister, John Prescott.

On Tuesday academics will discuss a report which alleged university authorities did not give the complete picture when the plans were first put before the university's own governing body, the Regent House.

The report by the Board of Scrutiny, the university's official watchdog, claims the extent of animal experiments at the site was kept hidden.

As a result it says, the Regent House passed the plan without knowing the true nature of it.

Chairman of the Board of Scrutiny, Professor John Spencer, said: "We certainly don't think this was a proper thing to have done."

'Outrageous and immoral'

Gillian Evans, professor of medieval theology at the university and member of the Regent House, described the move as "outrageous and immoral".

She said: "To find that we are being expected to approve something without knowing the real details is very frightening."

South Cambridgeshire District Council has twice refused permission for the facility and the university appealed against the decision.

While senior academics debate the plans on Tuesday at the Senate House, the animal activist organisation Animal Aid, has called for a demonstration.

The planned laboratory provoked uproar among anti-vivisectionists for its proposed use of marmosets and macaque monkeys.

Scientists insist the experiments are crucial for researching incurable diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Animal laboratory inquiry ends
08 Jan 03  |  England
Cambridge argues for monkey research
25 Nov 02  |  Science/Nature

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