SPEAK campaign

SPEAK campaign

SPEAK, the Voice for the Animals is a British animal rights campaign that aims to end animal experimentation in the UK. Its current focus is opposition to a new animal testing centre being built by Oxford University.__TOC__

History

The campaign was born out of "Stop Primate Experimentation at Cambridge" (SPEAC), which in 2004 halted the construction at the University of Cambridge of a new primate research facility. Had it gone ahead, the facility would have been Europe's largest primate vivisection centre. Cambridge announced in January 2004 that the facility would not be built as a result of delays caused in part by animal rights protesters. [ [http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2003-04/weekly/5949/4.html Primate Research Facility at 307 Huntingdon Road: Notice] , Cambridge University Reporter, January 28, 2004, retrieved July 21, 2006.]

After this announcement, the coalition of activists involved in SPEAC learned that the University of Oxford was planning to build a new biomedical research facility to house research animals. In response, the activists announced the formation of "SPEAK, the Voice for the Animals," declaring that their campaign against Oxford would be the second stage in their efforts to end all animal testing in the UK. The activists said that talks between Oxford and Cambridge resulted in Oxford agreeing to conduct some of the brain experiments that were lost at Cambridge. [ [http://speakcampaigns.org.uk/primatelab.php The New Primate Laboratory] , SPEAK, retrieved July 21, 2006.]

The campaign

Activists

The spokesman for SPEAK in Oxford is Mel Broughton, who has served time in prison for possession of incendiary devices with intent to bomb Huntingdon Life Sciences, Europe's largest contract animal-testing laboratory. In December 2007, he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail, two counts of possessing an explosive substance, and two counts of having an article with intent to damage, in connection with arson attempts at Oxford's Queen's College and Templeton College. [
*Doward, Jamie. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/animalrights/story/0,11917,1189921,00.html Sex and violence allegations split animal rights campaign] , "The Observer", April 11, 2004, retrieved August 19, 2006.
*Davies, Catriona. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/29/nviv29.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/29/ixhome.html Animal rights activists plan training camp for militants] , "The Daily Telegraph, July 29, 2004, retrieved July 21, 2006.
* [http://www.netcu.org.uk/media/article.jsp?id=320 Animal rights activist charged in connection with attacks on Oxford University] , NETCU, December 14, 2007, retrieved December 14, 207.
] Other activists who have been named publicly are Robin Webb, who runs the Animal Liberation Press Office, and Amanda King, who was involved in the Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs campaign.Walsh, Gareth. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2230927,00.html "Animal rights militants are paid legal aid"] , "The Sunday Times", June 18, 2006.]

Withdrawal of contractor

In July 2004, the university's principal contractor, Walter Lilly, a subsidiary of the Montpellier Group, withdrew after its shareholders received threatening letters. Oxford continued the project amid tightened security with a new, unnamed contractor. [ [http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/po/biomed.shtml | Biomedical research facility: News] , University of Oxford, July 19, 2004, retrieved July 23, 2006.]

PEAK and the law

Allegations of violence

Although SPEAK only sanctions legal avenues of protest, the campaign has been accompanied by acts of intimidation, incitement, and violence, usually claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).Foster, Patrick and Woolcock, Nicola. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2019256,00.html Students fight back for animal research] , "The Times", February 1, 2006, retrieved July 21, 2006.] Robert Cogswell, co-founder of SPEAK, has said the campaign neither condones nor condemns the actions of the ALF. [ [http://archive.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/2005/9/29/88601.html Bans blamed for lab arson] , "thisisoxfordshire.co.uk", September 29, 2005, retrieved July 21, 2006.]

Incidents have included an arson attack on Hertford College boathouse; an attack on Corpus Christi College sports pavilion (which was, apparently, confused with Christ Church property); sending threatening letters to building firms connected with the construction project, the vandalism of other firms connected with the university, and threatening violence against Oxford University staff and students. [
*Cornwell, Rachel. [http://www.oxfordstudent.com/mt2005wk0/News/boat_clubs_count_the_cost Boat clubs count the cost] , "The Oxford Student", October 5, 2005, retrieved July 21, 2006.
* [http://www.directaction.info/news_july06_05.htm Received anonymously by activists in the UK] , "Bite Back", July 6, 2005, retrieved July 21, 2006.
* [http://www.directaction.info/news_sept25_05.htm Received anonymously by activists in the UK] , "Bite Back", September 25, 2005, retrieved July 21, 2006.
* [http://education.guardian.co.uk/businessofresearch/story/0,,1589719,00.html Threats posted to Oxford lab contractors] , Press Association, October 11, 2005, retrieved July 21, 2006.
* [http://www.directaction.info/news_jan22_06.htm Anonymous communique] , "Bite Back", January 22, 2006, retrieved July 21, 2006.
*Ungoed-Thomas, Jon and Fielding, Nick. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3561-2014798,00.html ALF threatens all out war against Oxford students'] , "The Sunday Times", January 29, 2006, retrieved July 21, 2006.
]

SPEAK say that, in the course of their legal protests and demonstrations, their members have suffered assaults and intimidation from police in collusion with the university. In September 2004, Mel Broughton's mother suffered minor injuries during a protest at the construction site, when an unidentified substance was thrown at her, allegedly by one of the construction workers. [
* [http://www.speakcampaigns.org.uk/news/20040912demo.php 70 year old activist brutally assaulted] , SPEAK, September 12, 2004, retrieved July 23, 2006.
* [http://www.speakcampaigns.org.uk/news/20040620tvp.php Thames Valley Police Bully Boys - Swing Into Action!] , SPEAK, June 20, 2004, retrieved July 23, 2006.
* [http://www.speakcampaigns.org.uk/news/20041030demo.php Great public support at weekly demo, but petty harassment from police] , SPEAK, October 28m 2004, retrieved July 23, 2006.
]

According to Thames Valley Police, a January 14, 2006 SPEAK protest resulted in around 350 protesters tearing down fences and throwing missiles at police officers. SPEAK, in response, accused the police of a "sustained and brutal attack" on protesters, including "women, children, the elderly and infirm." [ [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000102&sid=aJ.ywl6q_42k&refer=uk Scientists March in Favour of Animal Laboratory in Oxford] , Bloomberg L.P., February 25, 2006, retrieved July 23, 2006; [http://speakcampaigns.org.uk/news/20060115rumbled.php You've been rumbled!] , SPEAK, January 15, 2006, retrieved July 23, 2006.]

Injunctions

In November 2004 the university obtained an injunction against a number of individuals and groups, including Broughton and SPEAK, which restricts them from approaching within 50 yards of the construction site and the homes of those connected with the construction, and from holding protests of greater than 50 people in Oxford without police support. [ [http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/po/app.shtml Application to the High Court for an Order] , University of Oxford, July 9, 2004; [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/oxfordshire/3997835.stm University wins animal rights bid] , BBC News, October 11, 2004.] The injunction followed mounting complaints from students, researchers and workers about the hours-long use of sirens and megaphones by SPEAK on an almost daily basis. In 2006, Oxford appealed to the High Court to extend the injunction after "clear threats" were made against the university by the ALF. The court ordered that the injunction be widened to extend the exclusion zone, ban the use of megaphones and afford greater protection to individuals supplying goods or service to the university. A request by Oxford to further restrict the number of protesters to 12 was denied. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4992434.stm 'Clear threats' to new Oxford lab] , BBC News, May 18, 2006; [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5018718.stm Oxford lab injunction tightened] , BBC News, May 25, 2006.]

In October 2006, after allegations were made on the SPEAK website, Oxford University won a further injunction, prohibiting SPEAK from publishing allegations about the identity of contractors. [ [http://www.oxfordmail.net/display.var.975942.0.speak_barred_from_naming_firms.php Speak barred from naming firms] , "Oxford Mail", October 19, 2006.]

"The Sunday Times" reported on June 18, 2006 that members of SPEAK have been awarded legal aid to finance a challenge to the injunction preventing protesters from photographing staff, students, and contractors at work or at their homes, and that places restrictions on the size and duration of demonstrations. The newspaper has named Mel Broughton, Robin Webb, and Amanda King as three of the activists who have received the funding. Since being granted legal aid, King was successful in having her name removed from the injunction, but Webb was not. He had argued that the injunction would curb his freedom of speech as a journalist, and that he was not a member of any animal rights group. According to "The Guardian", in his ruling the judge described Webb as a "propagandist" and a "pivotal figure [in the ALF] ". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6048228.stm Oxford wins court ruling over ALF] , "BBC News", October 13, 2006.]

Advertising Standards Authority ruling

A brochure produced by SPEAK included a quote from Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). The quote stated that: "The animal testing regime ... is utterly futile." NICE objected that the statement was quoted out of context and was therefore misleading. In June 2006, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint by NICE and ruled that the use of the quote was in breach of ASA guidelines. [http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/non_broadcast/Adjudication+Details.htm?Adjudication_id=41436 "Non-broadcast adjudication] , Advertising Standards Authority, June 21, 2006.]

The ASA noted that Rawlins' quote referred to the use of animal testing in "long-term carcinogenicity studies with known genotoxic compounds or compounds that produced hyperplasia in chronic toxicity tests only," and did not imply that he was against all animal testing.

Pro-Test

In January 2006, a student group called Pro-Test was formed by Laurie Pycroft, then a 16-year-old, with the aim of countering SPEAK and defending the use of animals in biomedical research. Both groups called demonstrations in Oxford on February 25, 2006, resulting in about 700 Pro-Test supporters opposed by 200-300 from SPEAK. [ [http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=295032006 Marchers outnumber rights activists] , "The Scotsman", February 25, 2006.]

ee also

*Animal testing
*Oxford Arson Squad
*Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
*Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs (SNGP)
*Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)
*Western Animal Rights Network (WARN)
*Animal rights
*Leaderless resistance

Notes

Further reading

* [http://www.speakcampaigns.org/ SPEAK campaign website]
* [http://www.pro-test.org.uk/ Pro-Test website]
* [http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/animal-testing/UK government regulations on animal research] .
* [http://www.apc.gov.uk/ The Animal Procedures Committee] , a government advisory group.
* [http://www.buav.org/undercover/cambridge.html "Cambridge University"] , a summary of BUAV's report on Cambridge University.
* [http://www.buav.org/pdf/ChiefInspectorAnimalsReview.pdf British Home Office response to the BUAV investigation] (pdf), February 11, 2003
* [http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/biomed/facts.shtml The New Animal Research Facility] , Oxford University
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8122-2154678.html "Inside an Animal Lab"] , "The Times Online", April 2006
*Saville, Sandra. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1407818,00.html "Lab monkeys 'scream with fear' in tests"] , "The Guardian", February 8, 2005
* [http://www.rds-online.org.uk/ RDS Online] , in defence of biomedical research, with [http://www.rds-online.org.uk/pages/page.asp?i_ToolbarID=2&i_PageID=48 Myths FAQ]


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