Welcome to the City of Oxford which fame rests on the Oxford University - "a centre of academic excellence", alma mater of many famous scientists, an institution with history and tradition, and a hell for animals.
How many of students from all over the World dream about at least one term at Oxford Uni? How many tourist put Oxford into their holidays' plans? How many of them are aware what will be supporting with they money?
Think twice before you decide to visit the city which supports cruelty and refuses any prosecutions of Uni workers (researchers at Oxford Uni have been investigated for blatant acts of animal cruelty, yet no one has ever been prosecuted).
Find out what the university really is before you decide to study there.
In memory of Felix, a life so cruelly treated by Oxford University (speakcampaings.org):
From Oxford University site:
Animal tests FAQ
[The site doesn't exists any more. I copied it in June 2008:
(Last modified: 28 November 2005)]
Are the animals well looked after?
Oxford is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare. The well-being of animals in research is extremely important, and all those working with animals take their care very seriously.
The monkeys' housing includes plenty of features which encourage a range of normal behaviours The monkeys' housing includes plenty of features which encourage a range of normal behaviours.
Most research on animals causes little or no discomfort, such as drawing blood samples. Every attempt is made to maximise well-being, and animals are given painkillers and anaesthetics when necessary.
How many animals are used in the UK each year?
Official government figures show that just fewer than three million animals are used every year. To put this in perspective, for each person in the UK only about three animals are used for medical research for the whole of their lifetime. On the other hand over 500 million animals are consumed as food in this country every year.
What sorts of animals are used for research?
According to Home Office figures for 2002, rodents accounted for around 84 per cent of animals used for research in the UK.
Animal Welfare, Human Rights
2 August 2004
A joint Home Office/DTI strategy which aims to protect businesses and individuals connected with lawful research involving animals from harassment, intimidation or violence has been published by the Government. Animal Welfare – Human Rights: Protecting people from animal rights extremists [http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs3/humanrights.pdf] sets out the Government’s strategy for countering animal rights extremism. The plans will strengthen police powers to tackle protests outside people’s homes and stop the harassment of companies.
‘Research using animals has helped save hundreds of millions of lives. The extraordinary recent advances in genetics which now give us the chance to treat or prevent a whole range of incurable diseases and conditions should enable us to save hundreds of millions more,’ write the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Tony Blair MP and the Home Secretary, Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, in a foreword to the report. They say that Britain’s ‘long and proud record on animal welfare and protection’ explains why the UK has some of the strictest regimes for licensing and controlling animal experiments. This has, they say, led to British scientists, institutions and firms being world leaders in medical advances for generations.
The report confirms the Government’s commitment to protecting those who work in the bioscience sector, whether directly or in the supply chain, and will examine all that can be done to protect those engaged in lawful research.
Commenting on the report the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Lucas, said: ‘Today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of the Government’s strong commitment to the future of animal research in the UK. I welcome the measures it proposes to create a climate in which the country can conduct a reasoned debate about the issues involved, while providing greater protection to those involved in legitimate medical research.
‘This research, which is among the most strictly regulated in the world, is vital if we are to understand and develop treatments and cures for many serious diseases. Biomedical research currently underway at Oxford includes the development of malaria vaccines and of treatments for Alzheimer’s and muscular dystrophy. Those involved in such important and entirely lawful activity must be given the full protection of the law against those who use harassment and intimidation in their campaigns.’
Thousands of sentient beings suffer and die inside Oxford University Laboratories in the name of "medical progress". Many animal experiments of Oxford University are done just to satisfy "scientific: curiosity and attract grant money. Researchers at the uni have been investigated for blatant acts of animal cruelty, yet no researcher has ever been prosecuted.
Felix was a macaque monkey who was tortured for one entire year by vivisector Tipu Aziz. While excellent alternative research methods exist, Felix was one of countless numbers of sentient beings that continue to suffer and die inside Oxford laboratories every year for no reason other than greed.
Felix was subjected to the standard method employed to coerce a monkey into compliance: starvation. He had the top of his skull sliced off, an extremely painful procedure. Electrodes were forced into his brain and then he was fitted with a cranial chamber. He suffered alone in his barren cage until the day his torturers had finished with him; the day they put him to death.
In November 2004 Thames Valley Police investigated an Oxford University professor following claims that a monkey was kept alive, in pain, with an incurable brain infection after an experiment. Vivisectors refused to put her down on the grounds that she was “an asset”. It had to be escalated to a Home Office Inspector before the monkey was put down. Not surprisingly, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute.
More info about Felix, his suffering, death and Felix Project Licence and Oxford Lab cruelty: Felix
More info about the vivisector: The professor accused of cruelty
George was a wild-caught macaque monkey who was blinded in experiments two years later by this same professor who merrily related to a group of students that, once blinded, part of the experiment then included taking George out into the University Park. Just how this action served the experiment, or for that matter, how this experiment served humanity we will never know. We can, however, make reasonable conclusions about how these experiments serve the egos and coffers of the people who perpetrate them.
In 2006 a team of researchers in the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University surgically damaged the brains of 9 macaque monkeys and recorded their responses to various threatening situations, including exposure to rubber snakes and the stares of unfamiliar human faces. Similar previous experiments conducted by the same researchers had shown that the greater the brain damage, the less sociable the monkeys became. Not only was this experiment redundant, but it yielded nothing apart from a tacit admission by the team about the lack of relevance of their own research. They stated that the equivalent tests given to human subjects (using noninvasive scanning equipment) were considerably more complex than those possible in monkeys.
The suffering and cruelty are not limited to the innocent animal victims at Oxford. In the UK, the “Victor” trial of Vioxx began in 2000, despite widely available data on fatalities in the US. One of the principal organisers of the trial was a prominent professor who was appointed to his present position at Oxford in 2001. This professor was also the leading investigator. Furthermore, the institution that was assigned the responsibility of organising the trial was Oxford University. It appears our professor was rewarded with a plum position for putting this work Oxford University’s way. The trial resulted in the deaths of 2000 innocent human victims, yet Oxford has never even apologised. More info about "Victor" trial: http://briandeer.com/rofecoxib-index.htm More info about Vioxx: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rofecoxib
The SPEAK campaign was born from the victory of a campaign against Cambridge University - SPEAC (Stop Primate Experiments at Cambridge). Cambridge University wanted to build a huge research complex to carry out experiments on monkeys. It would be Europe's largest primate vivisection laboratory. Their application had been rejected twice by South Cambridgeshire District Council but accepted later by the National Planning Inspectorate thanks to Blair and Sainsbury. "SPEAC were determined that the monkey laboratories would not be built, and mobilised a mass movement to oppose the plans. Through non violent action they organised a concerted wave of pressure against the university, that ultimately proved effective. On the 27th January Cambridge University finally capitulated in the face of such pressure. The nightmare scenario of Cambridge becoming the primate vivisection capital of Europe had ended." Read more about SPEAK history: About SPEAK
Watch a video about SPEAK campaign to close Oxford animal laboratory:
"This film is a narrative biography of the SPEAK Campaign as it enters its 4thyear of endevours to end animal suffering at Oxford. It will also introduce you to a bright, sentient individual incarcerated by Oxford: Felix. Felix was killed during the making of this film unbeknown to SPEAK. However, Felix was only the beginning of what is to be a 5 year exercise in suffering for others like him at the hands of Oxford vivisectors. The Fight Continues……"
For more info, demo diary, resources go to SPEAK campaign site:
19.10.2009 DHT scientist joins call for Oxford University to champion alternatives
"Oxford alumni including animal behaviourist Desmond Morris, Nobel Prize winning novelist JM Coetzee, Ann Widdecombe MP, environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, former head of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and government adviser on animal experiments 1987 – 1995, Prof. Michael Balls and the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt. Rev. James Jones have signed an Open Letter to incoming Vice-Chancellor Prof. Andrew Hamilton calling for the university to become a progressive and leading institution in non-animal medical research.
The Dr Hadwen Trust’s own Oxford scholar Dr Candida Nastrucci, also supported the initiative. The letter, published in the Oxford Magazine, states: “We are dismayed to see the University committing itself, in its new animal laboratory, to the long-term continuation of experiments which cause pain and other suffering to animals… We would like to see Oxford University become, instead, a progressive institution in this matter – as it already is in so many other respects – and lead the way in developing animal-free medical research”.
The letter comes in the 50th anniversary year of the birth of the Three Rs concept (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments). These principles were incorporated into the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 as part of an implicit expectation that animal use would be gradually phased out. However, in the absence of a clear government led national strategy to replace animals and invest in non-animal solutions, the real potential of the Three Rs has not been realised and this year Home Office statistics revealed Britain’s animal experiments have reached a 22-year high.
The Dr Hadwen Trust has called on the main political parties to commit to developing a Roadmap to Replacement. This would involve pro-active stakeholder engagement with experts from science, academia, industry, politics and animal welfare. Universities such as Oxford could clearly have a significant role to play in championing the development of advanced techniques to replace experiments on animals. The letter asks the incoming Vice-Chancellor to consider a Declaration of Intent to place renewed emphasis on the Three Rs and in particular to commit itself energetically to the replacement of animals in its scientific research.
The Open Letter is an initiative of Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford (VERO) and its patron Sir David Madden. Other signatories were Mike Baker, Chief Executive of the World Society for the Protection of Animals; Dr Candida Nastrucci, Science and Communications Officer of the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research; writer Richard Adams; philosopher Prof. Stephen Clark; psychologist Dr Richard Ryder; neurosurgeon Dr Marius Maxwell; and current Fellow in Philosophy at Oxford University Dr Katherine Morris."
21.05.2009 The information that Oxford University did not want anyone to see and tried their best to keep hidden
SPEAK: "In July 2006, the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) used the Freedom of Information Act to request that universities should disclose the number of primates they had used in experiments in two particular years and for a summary of their current primate research. A number of universities complied with the request but six, including Oxford, refused to do so.
Oxford University proffered the ridiculous argument that disclosing the information would be likely to endanger the safety of the researchers and would prejudice their commercial interests.
After a thorough investigation, the Information Commissioner rejected the universities’ arguments and in a landmark ruling in April, the Commissioner’s Office ordered these six top universities to release information about the animal experiments they conduct. The Commissioner believed it was not sufficient to say that, due to the actions of a tiny minority of activists, there may be some general risk to the safety of individuals involved in animal research.
On 5 May 2009, Oxford University finally released the information that had been requested, which included details of the numbers of animals, including primates, imprisoned and killed inside its laboratories over the last few years.
This information revealed that Oxford University's new biomedical sciences building can hold up to 16 000 animals inside it at any one time. This is a huge number of animals, all of whom are individuals who are being deprived of their freedom, who are suffering and who will be killed when they have outlived their usefulness to this institution. And this number does not even include all the animals that Oxford University incarcerates and experiments on in total, just the ones being held inside the new lab.
In 2008, Oxford University held eighty six macaque monkeys captive. They forced them to learn certain tasks by depriving them of food and water. Sixty six of these macaques were then experimented on, which mostly involved slicing off the tops of their heads and removing parts of their brains for research into Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s, despite the fact that macaques don't get either of these diseases. Others were used to try to develop vaccines for HIV and other illnesses.
Oxford University claims that the monkeys don't suffer when being taught the tasks they want them to do, and that they do some of them 'entirely voluntarily', which is a farcical depiction of the fact the animals are starved into submission. Don't forget that no animal would willingly place itself into a tiny transportation cage that is so small that it can't turn around, or willingly spend hours unable to do anything but touch items on a computer screen.
Oxford University goes on to claim that only small sections of brain are removed, that the animals receive anaesthetics and painkillers and that the brain damage is minor. What they neglect to mention is that similar procedures have been refused licences in a number of other countries due to the suffering that such research causes to animals and that the experiments are ethically unacceptable because of this. In fact the Home Office licenses granted to Oxford University shows that these experiments cause the animals severe and substantial suffering.
Oxford University also claim that 'At the end of its life the animal is humanely killed.' which makes it sound like the animals are put down when they reach the end of their natural life. This is not the case at all; the animals are killed as soon as they have served their purpose and are no longer of any use to the researchers - a pitiful end for creatures who should be afforded the right to be able to live their lives free from being experimented on.
Despite their best efforts, there is no justification that can excuse Oxford University treating living animals in the way they do in their laboratories. The very fact that they continually try to prevent any details about their animal research from being made public, should make everyone question just what this institution is up to and what it is trying to hide.
It is a complete travesty that non-consenting, sensitive and intelligent creatures are being incarcerated and then mutilated in barbaric and cruel experiments that should have been banned many years ago. SPEAK will continue to fight for the rights of animals not to be imprisoned inside laboratories and not to be experimented on, not until every cage is comfortable, but until every cage is empty."
|Year||Total number of primates held & used (i.e. made to learn tasks )||Number of primates who underwent procedures and experiments (such as brain mutilation)|
03.05.2009 Protesters demand end to Oxford animal testing
by Rishi Stocker
Animal rights protest group SPEAK this week handed over a 65,000-signature petition to Oxford University, condemning the opening of the Oxford University Biomedical Sciences Centre and calling for an end to all testing on animals.
A spokesman from SPEAK said the 65,000 signatures had been gathered for the cause of stopping animal testing at Oxford specifically and were ‘proof of the strength of feeling against its operations among the local community and tourists alike.'
The petition was accompanied by a march down Cornmarket.
Another activist told the BBC "We're hoping the University will take notice at the amount of opposition to the experiments they do. We were hoping to either get the building stopped, or get it changed to a cutting edge lab looking at alternatives [to animal testing]. The new lab means we can now concentrate on all animals being tested on at Oxford University, and not just the new building."
The moves were timed to coincide with the end of the World Month for Laboratory Animals, an international campaign with which SPEAK has been heavily involved. The group has organised demonstrations throughout the UK against animal research and testing. Similar groups overseas have also been involved in the month of protest, with one demonstration in California seeing a dramatic confrontation between pro-testing and anti-testing campaigners.
Toby Holder, a spokesman for the pro-animal research group Pro-Test, questioned the value of the petition. "Over the last five years, SPEAK has gathered this enormous amount of signatures, but I'm not sure what it hopes to achieve by handing it to Oxford University."
"Even if it was 65000 signatures, they don't have the right to halt the medical advances for the rest of us."
The submission of the petition comes shortly after a major victory for the anti-testing movement, when the British Union of Anti-Vivisectionists forced Oxford and other universities to publish figures on primate testing, which they had previously refused to do.
The university have released a statement in response to the petition and protest, saying "Animals are only used when no other research method is possible." The spokesman said further: "We recognise that people have a range of views on this issue. The university has always said the building (the Biomedical Sciences Centre) is going to be better for animal welfare and is supporting research into disabilities and deadly diseases."
SPEAK's spokesman dismissed this statement as ‘meaningless', saying the public should focus on the animals that are ‘convulsing and dying at the bottom of their cages in the centre.'
The group's website urges tourists to boycott Oxford, urging students and tourists to "Say no to the city that supports corruption and cruelty. Boycott Oxford and say yes to a science based on compassion that actually works."
The petition has been met by mixed reactions from University students. Robert Smith, a Biochemist in his first year at St Hilda's College, believes that one should focus on the rewards that animal testing can reap in the field of medicine, while still ensuring that animals were kept as comfortable as possible. "When we think of animal testing cruelty and exploitation are often the first things that come to mind. It is sometimes easy to lose sight of what it can actually achieve. As soon as one looks at the number of instances where new cures for human diseases have been found thanks to tests on animals it becomes much harder to condemn. That having been said I feel that measures should be taken to improve as much as possible the conditions in which laboratory animals are kept. Consideration for the animals' welfare is equally important."
A 2005 Cherwell survey showed that 86% of Oxford students are in favour of the university carrying out research on animals, with just 11% opposed. By a similar margin, 84-10, they also supported the new animal research facility. Many students said that the actions of animal rights campaigners had made them more likely to support testing.
05.11.2008 Mel Broughton (SPEAK) trial
Published Date: 05 November 2008
An animal rights campaigner from Northampton has insisted he had nothing to do with a plot to firebomb a lab at Oxford University.
Mel Broughton, of Semilong Road, has taken the stand at Oxford Crown Court to claim he was the target of a police campaign because he was a high-profile activist against the experimental laboratory.
Broughton, 48, denies conspiracy to commit arson, possession of an article to damage property and keeping explosive substances in relation to failed firebomb attacks.
David Bentley, defending, revealed a recording of police officers discussing Broughton in 2007.
He said: "Included in that were a couple of officers who were talking about you (Broughton) in a disparaging fashion, who were discussing candidly ways to, as it were, 'get you' in some way or another.
"One was recorded as saying that he would wage a 'dirty war'."
Broughton told the court that whenever he went to Oxford, his every move was recorded by police officer – from joining a protest to sitting in a coffee shop.
He admitted he had previously been part of a firebomb plot but added he was now too old, too high-profile and no longer willing to take part in direct action.
But forensic experts allegedly found Broughton's DNA on a bottle top and a match found at the lab.
Prosecutor John Price said when police raided the defendant's home, they found sparklers - which can be used as fuses on explosive devices - hidden in his bathroom.
Broughton said: "I have not knowingly been involved with anything to do with these devices.
"It (direct action) is something I'm no longer willing to do… I'm getting older and I'm no longer able or willing to do that."
He explained the hidden sparklers by saying he had bought them as an eye-catching addition for a night-time vigil outside the controversial lab, and added the intensive police surveillance and his criminal record had made him paranoid and caused him to conceal them.
The trial continues.
12.11.2008 The Journal about Mel's trial - write a comment
Animal rights "terrorist" in court:
16.11.2008 Oxford Lab Opens
Oxford University Laboratory officially started on 11th November 2008
"Only Rats currently but primates will follow." Read here:
"Oxford University officially stated today, 11th November 2008, that its new animal torture lab is complete and that animals are in the process of being moved in. According to the University it will be fully operational by the middle of 2009, although of course it should always be remembered that Oxford has been proved to have lied consistently about this building and its use.
The opening of the lab has made SPEAK more determined than ever to continue campaigning against the horrific animal abuse carried out by this institution.
Oxford University is responsible for the suffering and death of thousands of animals; animals like Felix the macaque monkey, who after the University’s researchers had trained him to perform tasks, by depriving him of food and water, had the top of his head sliced off and electrodes forced into his brain; animals like the nine macaque monkeys used in one experiment where they were brain damaged and then had rubber snakes waved in their faces, after which the researchers made a tacit admission about the lack of relevance of their own research.
SPEAK succeeded in delaying the opening of the lab for over three years and, indeed, it was only completed because the Government stepped in and would not let it fail. The costs have spiralled out of control by millions of pounds, with no end in sight of this overspending. It has placed the subject of vivisection into the forefront of peoples' minds and has made it very clear to anyone else considering building any other such labs in the UK just how difficult that would be.
Now begins the next stage of the SPEAK Campaign – we have launched BOYCOTT OXFORD – CITY OF ANIMAL ABUSE aimed at tourists both in this country and abroad, letting people know that if they come to Oxford and spend their money at any of the University’s historic buildings or sites of interest they are contributing to an institution that routinely mutilates and brutalises animals. We will, of course, also continue to campaign on the streets of Oxford where we see support growing by the day.
The animals now entering this hellhole have no-one to speak for them, or fight for them, but us and we will continue the battle against the horrific suffering inflicted upon them in barbaric experiments until vivisection is consigned to the dustbin of history, where it belongs."
03.02.2009 Arson DNA evidence 'unreliable'
DNA evidence in the case against a man accused of fire-bombing Oxford University is "unreliable", a forensic expert has told Oxford Crown Court.
Mel Broughton, 48, of Northampton, denies carrying out two petrol bombs at Queen's College in November 2006 and failed attacks in February 2007.
The prosecution alleges a tiny DNA sample found on an unexploded device matches Mr Broughton's DNA profile.
But Dr Alan Jamieson said testing such small samples could be "misleading".
The case centres on a tiny DNA sample found on an unexploded device at Templeton College in February 2007, and the defence case is that "Low Copy Number" DNA samples are unreliable.
Defence witness Dr Alan Jamieson told the jury that he has "long-standing and well recognised" expertise in forensic evidence.
Dr Jamieson gave evidence in the Omagh Bomb trial resulting in an acquittal, the court heard.
Dr Jamieson told the jury that tests carried out on DNA samples taken from a match, found on one of the devices, were in his opinion "a complete waste of time" and "potentially misleading".
But the prosecution barrister Mr Moore said that because Dr Jamieson was "not in a laboratory, doing day to day tests", he had "limited forensic experience".
Mr Broughton was said to be the leading figure of animal rights group Speak, which started in 2004 in protest at plans to build an animal testing research laboratory in Oxford.
He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit arson and one count of possession of an article or articles with intent to destroy or damage property.
He denies all the charges against him.
The case continues.
13.02.2009 Mel jailed for 10 years
info and photos: SPEAK