Commenting on the Government's announcement that it is cracking down on animal rights extremists, Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Animal Welfare spokesman, said:
"The Liberal Democrats join the Government in condemning the activities of the tiny minority who use extreme intimidation and harassment to pursue their ends and we support the extra measures proposed today.
"There is a danger that the need to deal with this handful of extremists is leading the issue of animal experimentation to be falsely presented as one between scientists on the one hand and extremists on the other. The truth is being lost in the middle.
"Much more needs to be done to minimise and refine experiments, through data sharing, the exploration of alternatives to experimentation, and the elimination of ethically unacceptable testing.
"The tragedy is that the action of a handful of extremists is closing the space for real debate and actually setting back the battle for hearts and minds.
"There is a strong body of opinion in the country which is deeply uneasy about animal experimentation, both for ethical and scientific reasons. For example, this session 220 MPs have signed a motion describing research on primates 'ethically abhorrent'.
"We need to find a way of discussing these issues sensibly again without pretending that all scientists are in favour of everything, which they are not, and that all who question the present arrangements are extremists, which they most certainly are not."
Contact Norman at:
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