Let's be rational

May 21, 2004

Your article (May 14 ) stated that I "misleadingly" claimed to be a student of Colin Blakemore's. He additionally accuses me of having "fuelled the campaign" against him and, in his letter (May 14), of refusing to discuss animal experimentation rationally.

I have never claimed I was his research student. Given the animal suffering he has caused I would not have accepted a research studentship with him. But, if I am asked, I do not deny that he lectured to my undergraduate class at Cambridge in the 1970s.

Blakemore attempts to discredit my 1980s critique of his animal experiments by eliding it with a Sunday Mirror article, but my scientific criticism was factual and based on the published work of other researchers. That extremists reacted violently to Blakemore's animal experiments has always been a matter of regret.

Portraying himself as the unbowed spokesperson for animal experiments, Blakemore courts personal publicity - but only when he can control it.

Let's hope that in his Medical Research Council role we will see real evidence of his concern about the "important subject" of animal experimentation, rather than an endless round of speeches defending it.

Gill Langley
Hitchin, Hert

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