Despite the intense focus its received from animal rights activists who managed to stop work on a Pound 18 million animal research facility this summer, Oxford University has vowed that it will resume work on the laboratory sometime this year.
The contractor Oxford had hired to build the laboratory, Montpellier, pulled out after intense harassment of its employees; harassment that led to the resignation of one of the company’s directors.
Oxford seems to think that a High Court injunction against activists will be enough to prevent a recurrence of what happened with Montpellier, but at the same time was short on specifics. According to a university spokeswoman quoted by the Press Association,
We’re not saying anything about whether we have got a new contractor other than to say that we hope to resume work early in the new year and are hoping to get it finished by the end of 2005.
Lets hope Oxford isn’t deluding itself into thinking that the injunction itself is simply going to make animal rights extremists go away and not harass employees of whatever contracting company it ultimately hires for the animal laboratory. Oxford is in for a long, difficult process if it goes forward with the building — and it should go forward, but with eyes wide open.
University Pledge over Animal Research Lab. Katherine Haddon, Press Association, January 5, 2005.