Boring, not brutal 1

March 25, 2005

Andrew Linzey evidently does not live in our universe but rather in a curious parallel universe operating on very different moral foundations ("Why II fear for the treatment of laboratory animals", March 18).

In his universe, honest and hard-working scientists who are trying to understand life's mysteries or are working to develop new treatments for human diseases are evil - Jakin to those who perpetrated "Dachau and Hiroshima".

By contrast, the thugs who destroy laboratories, attack the staff of animal breeding establishments and terrorise the shareholders of companies with holdings in the sector are sorely discriminated against because the Government is finally seeking to reduce their terrorist activities to some degree.

In his universe, an academic can regard "undercover videos" as the only reliable source of evidence about the normal course of events in a university animal house. Well, he really would have grounds to complain if he were forced to watch a webcam of an animal house because it would be so excruciatingly dull. He would see many months of routine feeding, watering and cleaning of cages, occasionally some pairing of mice for breeding, and then perhaps he might get to see an injection or a change of diet.

He is unlikely to see any suffering at all because most Home Office-licensed procedures are "mild" or "moderate" and much less likely to result in suffering than many routine procedures carried out without regulation by veterinarians or farmers.

Jonathan Slack
Head of the department of biology and biochemistry

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