Cutting from the Daily Express. Top: J Creamer / NAVS
"It would seem that the university was misled into passing this centre without a vote"

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.

Dons' fury

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 vote.

"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 Ingham