Bath University... would like to correct some misconceptions in Andrew Linzey's article. The Animal Procedures Committee is not a rubber-stamping exercise but an independent body established by the 1986 Animals in Scientific Procedures Act to advise the Home Secretary on licensing issues. This body is made up of a cross section of people who represent the ethical and welfare issues surrounding animal research. It does not have powers to grant or refuse licences. Licences are granted by the Home Secretary, who is advised by professional inspectors employed by the Home Office.
The Serious and Organised Crime and Police Bill would not criminalise those advocating consumer boycotts or the handing-out of leaflets calling for such actions. The Bill would not affect the right to legitimate protest, but it includes vital measures to protect companies, universities and others from the campaigns of harassment and intimidation by animal-rights extremists. There is no basis for the assertion that the Bill would curtail consumer boycotts of companies doing animal experiments.
Minister for Science and Innovation
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