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A drug-industry backed online petition has been launched to encourage the public to show their support for animal testing. The Coalition for Medical Progress hopes to mobilise what it calls “the silent majority”.

The "People's Petition" is the brainspawn of David Taylor, apparently a member of the public with no links to medical research. He said: “I wanted to show people who carry out medical research that I value and support their work and that I want to see this important work continue in Britain.”

Signing up to the petition commits you to the following statements:

1. I believe that medical research is essential for developing new medical and veterinary treatments. I understand that finding safe and effective treatments and medicines requires some studies using animals.

2. I believe that medical research using animals, carried out to the highest standards of care and welfare, and where there is no alternative available, should continue in the UK.

3. I believe that people involved in medical research using animals have a right to work and live without fear and intimidation or attack.

The petition forms part of an ongoing publicity and legal effort by the research community and police to fight back against intimidation and violence by animal rights extremists. February saw the first demonstration in favour of testing, and the recent conviction of a group of extremists who desecrated the grave of an elderly woman whose family ran a farm breeding guinea pigs used in research.

The TeGenero TGN1412 drug trial debacle, where six men were made seriously ill by an immune system therapy despite it having been proved safe in monkeys, has led to some in the press calling into question the usefulness of animal testing. Scientists say it remains the only way to even approach simulating the interactions that occur in the human body, however.

More information here. ®

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