Pro-Test: Standing Up For Science
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PAST ACTION

In this section you can read about our campaigning events in chronological order. You should also check out our blog, which adds more detail on our campaigns and tracks reportage in the media.

25.02.11: Pro-Test: Five Year Anniversary

Pro-Test were out on the streets increasing awareness of animal research. Over the course of two hours, only one person expressed any disagreement with animal testing (and very politely) showing how much public opinion in Oxford appears to have swung in support of animal research. In the evening Tipu Aziz, Laurie Pycroft and Tom Holder gave presentations on the actions and successes of Pro-Test before announcing the final wind up of Pro-Test's activities. 09.02.08: Pro-test marching on two year anniversary
On Saturday 9th February 2008 Pro-Test marched for a third time in support of animal research. Our aims were to:

* Defend - the rights of researchers to work in peace
* Celebrate - the successes of animal research in developing treatments for disease
* Communicate - a better understanding about animal research to non-scientists everywhere

The March was a huge success - drawing people from all over the country. Expect a more full report with pictures soon

21.11.06: Oxford University Student Union backs animal testing
After gathering 500 signatures in a matter of days Pro-Test forced OUSU (Oxford University Student Union) to hold an Oxford-student-wide referendum on animal testing. An astonishing 90.4% of voters backed a motion supporting animal testing and the Oxford lab. More in our blog.

03.06.06: Pro-Test Marches Again
Our second demonstration was held in Oxford city centre. 600 citizens marched in support of animal research and scientific progress. See full details on our blog.

22.05.06: Public Meeting, Oxford Town Hall
Pro-Test held its first public meeting in Oxford Town Hall. 100 scientists, students and members of the public heard about the scientific and ethical case for animal research from a panel comprised of leading Oxford scientists, patients' representatives, local MP and former GP Dr Evan Harris, and members of the Pro-Test committee. An hour's questions and answer session followed. The evening was a great opportunity for people to learn more about animal testing, the new lab, and Pro-Test's campaigning activities and ethos. Unlike previous events, which have been disrupted by threatening behaviour from anti-vivisectionists, the tone was civilised and respectful, with people discussing the issue from both sides of the argument in an open and unintimidated way. We were proud to have drawn out many scientists in particular (they constituted a majority of the audience) to talk about the necessity of their work, and take this as an encouraging sign that the climate around animal research continues to change from one of fear to one of openness and rationality. A full write-up of the event can be found on our Information and Media blog.

27.04.06: This House WOULD test on animals
Pro-Test's founder, Laurie Pycroft, lead a distinguished team of debaters at the Oxford Union last week to defeat a proposed motion, This House Would Not Test On Animals. Pro-Vivisection views won the day, with 85% (273 out of 331) voting in favour of continued animal testing. Debating against Dr Gill Langley and Alistair Currie (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) Andrew Knight (specialist in welfare science) and Uri Gellar (spoon-bending 'psychic'), Laurie was accompanied by eminent scientists Prof Lord Robert Winston (TV personality, former President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science), Prof Colin Blakemore (Chief Executive, British Medical Research Council) and Prof John Stein (Oxford University Professor of Physiology and Pro-Test member).

31.02.06: Thank you for building our lab!
Pro-Test delivered a consignment of dougnuts, muffins, juice and other treats to the builders working on the Oxford lab as a gesture of solidarity and support for their work. The University's initial contractors, Montpellier, were forced off the job by a campaign of intimidation which included harrassment of its shareholders and construction workers, including at their homes. From July 2004 to November 2005, no construction took place; the new contractors are forced to operate in unmarked vans and many of the builders are so afraid of being targeted by animal rights extremists that they must wear balaclavas to disguise their identities. Pro-Test believes this campaign of intimidation is totally unacceptable and stands in solidarity with the workers building this vital facility. The Director of Construction later thanked Pro-Test on the builders' behalf, expressing their regret that they weren't able to participate in the press call outside the lab - for obvious reasons.

25/02/06: Pro-Test's first Public Demonstration
With only four weeks in planning, the demonstration went extremely well, with complete non-violence and bearing a message of solidarity and support for scientific progress. We marched from Broad Street up to near the site of the new biomedical research laboratory and had numerous speakers including Professor Tipu Aziz, Consultant Neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery at Oxford University; Professor John Stein, professor of Physiology at Oxford University; Dr Simon Festing, Executive Director of the Research Defense Society and Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West.

The demonstration was the subject of international media attention and at least 700 people were marching at any time, and total attendance is estimated at over 1,000. The Thames Valley Police were supervising the event at all times, and helped greatly to facilitate a peaceful protest.

28.01.06: How it all began...
Our first protest consisted of three members walking around Oxford holding a placard, and was extremely successful. Despite being met with abuse and even vandalism of our placard from "animal rights" protestors who were also marching, a very enjoyable time was had by all. Our group was called everything from "excrement" to "heroes" by members of the public, the vast majority of whom seemed supportive. The entire protest cost a total of £1.98 and raised public awareness of our cause, as well as securing us an interview with BBC Radio Oxford.

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