Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Timeline: Oxford research centre

The BBC News website chronicles the key events in the development of Oxford University's animal research centre.

Protesters outside the new building.
The new Biomedical Sciences building took five years to build

Late 1990s - The University of Oxford begins planning a new facility to re-house research animals at a cost of 18m.

Autumn 2003 - Work begins on the site in South Parks Road, Oxford.

January 2004 - Cambridge University abandons its plans for a research centre to experiment on primates. It cites spiralling security and building costs.

March 2004 - Campaign group SPEAC - Stop Primate Experiments At Cambridge - becomes SPEAK "the voice of the animals" and moves to Oxford. The group claims the Oxford centre is a replacement for the shelved Cambridge primate facility and that it is a primate house. The university says this is nothing to do with Cambridge and will house 98% rodents and fewer than 0.5% primates.

April, June, July 2004 - Animal rights campaigners turn their attention to Oxford. University staff, some contractors, suppliers and their shareholders, become targets for intimidation and criminal damage.

A contractor wears a balaclava while working on the building.
Contractors were targeted by some of the protesters

July 2004 - The main building contractors pull out of the project. Work grinds to a halt and Oxford becomes the national focus of the debate over experiments on animals.

November 2004 - The university refuses to back down. It obtains a High Court injunction against the protesters which grants an exclusion zone around the building site and limits protests.

The government backs the university with the help of new laws against domestic extremism and with cash. Thames Valley Police sets up Operation Rumble - a dedicated team to police the actions of animal rights activists.

November 2005 - Work on the abandoned building begins again, with builders wearing balaclavas to protect their identities.

February 2006 - Pro-Test, an independent Oxford-based group supporting animal research and condemning extremism, is formed.

November 2008 - Completion of the Biomedical Sciences building. The research centre opens for business and the first mice are moved in, beginning a phased process of animal transfer that will last several months.



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