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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March 2004, 13:27 GMT
Activists vow to stop animal work
Mouse, RDS/Wellcome Trust photo
The university says 98% of animals housed at the centre will be rodents
Campaigners have vowed to stop the completion of a university facility housing animals destined for research.

A total of 18m is to be spent on the facility at Oxford University's South Parks Road science area.

The centre replaces a number of existing animal house facilities at other campuses, a spokesperson said.

But Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, said the plans suggest clear implications that the total volume of animal research is to be stepped up.

University bosses say animals are only used in research programmes of the highest quality and where there are no alternatives.

It says the facility will provide animals for research into the treatment of diseases such as cancer, leukaemia and heart disease.

I think it [the centre] is a very significant step up in the animal experimentation they carry out
Andrew Tyler
A spokesperson for the university said: "This project has been in planning and in development for over five years.

"The new building will bring about the closure of several animal facilities currently dispersed throughout the science area.

"Based on current profiles of research, we expect that 98% of the animals housed there will be rodents.

"Depending on other Home Office licences held, there may also be some amphibia, ferrets, fish and primates."

'Extremely depressing'

But Mr Tyler - of the campaign group at the centre of previous protests against a primate centre at Cambridgeshire University - told BBC News Online: "We certainly will be campaigning against this.

"Our protest plans have not been formulated yet but we've certainly followed this whole business.

"I think it [the centre] is a very significant step up in the animal experimentation they carry out and that is extremely depressing and retrograde.

"There are clear implications of additional capacity in the plans we've seen.

"Such experiments do not produce benefits for people, as well as the obvious problem of the animal suffering."

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