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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 February 2008, 15:46 GMT
Pro-animal testing group in rally
Protesters stand outside the High Court
Animal rights activists protested at the university's last court date
About 200 supporters of scientific animal testing have marched in Oxford in protest at "fear and intimidation" from animal rights groups.

Pro-Test supports the building of the University of Oxford's new biomedical research unit in South Parks Road.

The university has said the centre will rehouse its existing animals, and that 98% of the creatures used in research would be rodents and fish.

A Pro-Test spokesman said testing on animals was vital for effective drugs.

He said the aim of the march was "to stand against the campaign of fear and intimidation which had previously all but silenced the voices of many scientists across the country".

During the rally, one lone animal rights protester came to the front of the crowd and shouted. He was escorted away by police.

Tom Holder, an Oxford student and one of the march organisers, said: "There are widespread misunderstandings regarding animal research.

Injunction granted

"We must all take active steps to put this right.

"The new laboratory will provide top class facilities for scientific research and state-of-the-art accommodation for the animals housed within."

Dr Evan Harris, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, also spoke at the event.

Work on the new university research lab was halted between July 2004 and November 2005 following a sustained campaign from animal rights groups.

An injunction was later granted to protect all those providing goods or services to the university from intimidation and harassment.



SEE ALSO
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