Pro-Test celebrate 10 year anniversary
Pro-Test, set up in 2006, was a grass-roots movement that supported animal research, specifically a new Oxford animal laboratory that was the focus of many animal rights groups. Pro-Test encouraged members of the public, scientists and organisation to speak out in favour of the benefits that animal research has made. This year they celebrated their 10 year anniversary and the worlds in which animal research operates in now is quite different to the world in which Pro-Test held its first rally, in Oxford on the 25th February 2006. The organisation was set up by Laurie Pycroft, a 16 year old school dropout from Oxford, who was frustrated with the constant anti-vivisection protests that were occurring in the city against the University’s decision to build a new biomedical research facility. Ultimately successful in challenging the animal right’s extremists and changing the narrative in which animal research laboratories were viewed, this year they celebrated their 10 year anniversary. Although no longer officially still in action, having discontinued active operations in 2011 after their success in Oxford, Pro-Test’s legacy is that the public is still in favour of animal research, having understood its importance, and that those with extreme views on animal research have been challenged. Encouraging the public to take a closer look at complex issues is what IDEA is all about. Mat Corbett, IDEA UK’s Executive Director, argues that “we need to encourage everyone to question and think critically about issues rather than just accepting what one side, however vocal says” this is what Pro-Test did by providing the other side of the debate. Similarly, in 2013 IDEA UK and Understanding Animal Research undertook the Big Animal Research Debate to encourage such thinking and understanding on the issue of animal research.
Pro-Test were not the only new group to start in Oxford, Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford was also set up in 2006 to oppose of the use of animals in medical research at Oxford.