National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

From flying start to disappointing finish -

Posted: 10 May 2007


Blair the first Prime Minister to campaign for animal experiments

Ten year’s on from the New Labour – New Life for Animals leaflet, Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of Animal Defenders International and the National Anti-Vivisection Society (ADI/NAVS) reflects on Blair’s legacy on animal welfare: “With milestone achievements -such as banning fur farming, cosmetics testing on animals, the cruel ascites method of anti-body production, hunting and hare-coursing, and the Animal Welfare Act Tony Blair should be going down in history as ‘the animal protection Prime Minister’ but sadly it is unlikely he will be remembered that way. Instead Tony Blair is more likely to be remembered for a sense of reluctance, obstruction, being forced to act on animal protection by his Party, and latterly for his ill-informed support for an animal laboratory that was never built.

“Looking back, Tony Blair’s attitude towards animal protection can be seen as a microcosm of how he steadily lost touch with public opinion, and even his own party, during the course of his long premiership. A flying start but a disappointing finish as he became the first Prime Minister to actively campaign for animal experiments.”

“His ill-advised support of Cambridge University’s laboratory, the rise in animal experiments during each year he was in power, and even signing an online petition supporting animal research, have more to do with media spin and old university ties than conviction. The Cambridge monkey lab was the facility nobody wanted but Blair stood by the doomed project. Imperiously, he ignored the verdict of the planning inquiry he had himself instigated and over ruled the local authority only to see plans for the lab evaporate when investors, notably the pharmaceutical industry, failed to share the Prime Minister’s faith in primate experiments. Blair was left defending the lab on the grounds that it was a stand against terror and animal extremists, a threat derided in the planning inquiry, when in reality the lab simply did not have the scientific justification and consequently financial backing never materialised.”


Download the Monkeys & Men report: an assessment of the use of primates and non-animal techniques in neuroscience research (PDF)

MEPs back campaign to end primate tests across Europe

Primate experiments: the facts

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