‘Scrap Cambridge animal testing lab’ petition gains almost 5,000 signatures

Rachel Balmer 4 February 2015

A Cambridge-based animal rights group is calling for plans to build an animal testing lab to be dropped.

The online petition launched by Cambridge against AstraZeneca Planning (CAP) is entitled ‘AstraZeneca – Please Drop Your Plans for an Animal Lab in Cambridge.’ It has gained almost 5,000 signatures since its launch only last week on change.org.

The group is calling for the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to scrap their plans to build the centre at the proposed new headquarters on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

The petition asks that the company brings an immediate end to all animal testing, saying that: “AstraZeneca has the resources, facilities and academic brilliance to make this happen – please listen to the concerned voices of the public.”

According to CAP’s website, AstraZeneca uses 300,000 animals per year in what they say to be “cruel, unnecessary and useless experiments.”

Due to the high level of public interest in the application for AstraZeneca’s new headquarters, Cambridge City Council have been unable to reach an outcome about the application within the designated 13-week period. They are expected to hold a meeting and make a decision in February.

A spokesperson for CAP, Rachel Mathai, said: “We are deeply moved by the messages of support we have been receiving and by how hard people are working to help us. A strong message is coming across…a vast number of people do NOT want this lab to be built. We are currently politely contacting AstraZeneca BEFORE the planning meeting takes place, urgently asking them to drop the animal lab from their planned HQ.”

A second year medic commented on the use of animals in experiments, saying: “To date, animal testing has helped in the development of treatments and vaccines for both humans and animals, and overall, in the understanding of science in an effort to alleviate further suffering. In the UK, animal testing is tightly regulated and is only permitted when there is no alternative method.”

Another student told TCS that “it’s a really difficult issue. Whilst you want to develop the best drugs to cure serious diseases in humans, animals are innately innocent and you would have thought that in this day and age there would be better ways to test drugs [and] achieve the same outcome. I wouldn’t sign the petition though as I think it’s difficult to know the complications of both sides of the argument.”