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Vegan war against vivisection laboratories

Animal rights movement is planning a new war against vivisection laboratories after securing a significant victory in its fight to ban testing on live creatures.

Activists are plotting to step up their campaign after being emboldened by a Government decision to end tests of bleach and other household products on live rabbits and guinea pigs—experiments relatively few people realised still existed.

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone has told MPs that the Lib-Dem/Tory coalition was "committed to ending the testing of household products on animals" and that work had already started defining which goods would be affected.

I am not yet in a position to confirm when such testing will be finally brought to an end, but hope to be able to do so shortly," she the Commons.

Although animal testing for cosmetic products was banned in Britain in 2002, similar experiments, which are not required by law, continued for polishes, fabric conditioners and washing powders.

The experiments, which take place at commercial testing centres, often involve pouring chemicals into the eyes of rabbits, or painting chemicals solutions onto the backs of guinea pigs and other rodents to gauge their toxicity.

Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, welcomed the Government's decision, adding: "We hope that hope that this will lead to a truly informed debate on animal experiments."

However, the decision has also heartened more militants groups within the animal rights world whose morale was smashed by the arrest five years ago of several of the movement's leaders for arson and blackmail.

Their new targets include a laboratory currently being built at Leicester University where demonstrators have chained themselves to railings and gone on hunger strike amid police warnings to the site's construction workers to increase security.

Activists have already broken into the premises of Willmott Dixon, the construction company leading the work, where they unfurled a banner from the roof saying the company was "building hell for animals".

They have also sent threatening emails to smaller sub-contractors warning "action will be taken" against them unless they pulled out.

A spokeswoman for construction safety specialist Easi Edge, which no longer works on the project, said: "That's when the police got involved. Working there caused us a lot of problems that we just don't need."

Most of the country's animal rights groups are due to converge on farmland Northamptonshire next month where they will discuss new tactics and learn techniques to evade police surveillance.

Daily Express / 4 July 2010

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