EDITORIAL: A right to defend animal research

This week sees the launch of a controversial initiative by the

Research Defence Society, the group that campaigns on behalf of

organisations involved in medical research on animals.

At a press conference on Tuesday, director Mark Matfield unveiled a

series of leaflets that profile individuals working in, and benefiting

from, the medical results of animal experimentation. It is the beginning

of a fightback against the anti-vivisection lobby, that will seek to

demystify research through a greater focus on the people involved in the

industry, including increased media access to many laboratories.

Whatever one's personal stance on the emotive issue of animal

experimentation, it is hard to argue with the fundamental defence of

lobbyists - that in a democracy every organisation or individual has the

right to put their point of view and to explain their actions and


For the past couple of years this particular group has been largely

silenced by the very real fear of violent reprisals by animal-rights


Matfield has personally been targeted, and it must have take great

courage for the individuals featured in this campaign to be identified

and speak out.

Understandably, there are many who would balk at working on such a

campaign, and condem experimentation on ethical and moral grounds. But

the real issue here is not about the justification or villification of

animal experimentation but that of free speech and the right to use

public relations methods to put your case, create transparency and open

up debate.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in