Cambridge dons kept in dark
The governing body of Cambridge University - known as Regent
House - has broken its silence over the way it claims it was bounced into
approving the proposed monkey research centre. The Council of the University
did not even tell Regent House that the planned 'new research facility'
would engage in primate research.
The revelation is contained in the latest edition of the university's
formal journal, called Cambridge University Reporter. There is clearly
a great deal of anger that the equivalent of the university's parliament
was duped by the executive.
A Daily Express report, reproduced below, is even predicting that should
John Prescott give the project planning approval Regent House could vote
against going ahead.
Plans to build a £20million centre in which experiments
would be carried out on monkeys could be scuppered after university dons
claimed they were not told its true purpose, writes
John Ingham in the Daily Express.
The project, backed by Tony Blair, was approved by Cambridge University's
governing body, the Regent House, three years ago.
But an annual independent report by the university's watchdog, the Board
of Scrutiny, last week revealed that the vote went through after "the
truth" about the centre "was kept from the Regent House".
The board has now recommended that Regent House be given a vote on the
centre if it gets planning approval. The governing body could then throw
the whole scheme out.
The proposed centre has twice been refused planning permission by the
local council. A public inquiry was held earlier this year and the report
is now with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who is expected to give
his ruling by the end of the summer.
But Mr Blair has already backed the centre, which will test potential
cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. And Science Minister
Lord Sainsbury, who has bankrolled the Labour Party to the tune of £11.5million,
has described it as of "national importance".
Animal welfare groups say the research will be cruel and unnecessary
while alternatives to vivisection already exist.
Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler said: "It would
seem that the university was misled into passing this centre without a
"The experiments to be carried out are unnecessary
and cruel. They involve opening up monkeys' heads and deliberately damaging
their brains. Nothing of benefit will be produced for humans."
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Extract from the Daily Express, 11 August 2003, by John