Could animal activists affect your research?
Plans to give UK police more power when dealing with animal rights activists have been well publicised recently, together with pharmaceutical companies taking their research and animal tests elsewhere to avoid huge security costs. But how much is the activity of animal activists affecting researching doctors? Ruwanee Haris finds out
High profile research institutions, such as Huntingdon Life Sciences, have repeatedly been targeted by extremist groups in the United Kingdom. But as research on animals is connected with so many practicing clinicians, should they worry about the repercussions? Yes, says the security manager of a leading research institution, “The first thing doctors going into animal research have to be aware of is that their line of business is not a normal one. It will involve activists, and you have to know about the dangers.”
Spokesman for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Matt Worrell, says, “It has been estimated that universities have added security costs of up to £175 000 a year if they carry out animal research. It's more difficult for academic institutions than for private companies. They have to be open access and can't just stick up barbed wire and have Securicor guard the entrances.”