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Science
ITS MY STORY: TESTED ON ANIMALS
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Professor Clive Page describes life under Special Branch protection.
Monday 25 March 2002 8.00-8.30pm

More than most of us, Clive Page worries about his safety, and that of his family. This may seem surprising given that he is a lung specialist trying to rid the world of asthma, but some of his work involves testing new drugs on animals. In 1998 he was one of 10 scientists placed on a death list issued by the Animal Rights Militia. Ever since, Clive Page and his family have lived under special branch protection, with constant camera surveillance in their house, and fear in their lives.

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Clive Page has not let this stop him working or engaging with the difficult issues raised by the Vivisectionist debate. As he explained in January to the House of Lords:

"All of the alternatives to animals are developed by the scientific community. We are the people developing these alternatives...You would use animal experimentation only as the last experiment and you would certainly use alternatives if they were available".

In the programme, Clive Page explains the moral dilemmas of a working scientist. With tighter regulation and alternative methods available, the overall figures for the number of animals used in experiments has halved in 20 years. None the less, in the year 2000 there were over 2.5 million scientific procedures using animals and there is a rising interest in the use of GM animals. Clive Page argues for continued transparency in the work he does:

"I think having a system equivalent to a lay visitor, for example, in with the inspectorate would work very well, because then I think people could go along and see for themselves that in what we do we have got nothing to hide."

The death list was issued when hunger striker Barry Horne began his protest, and the threat was to be carried out if he should die. This happened last November and to date there have been no recriminations - partly Clive Page believes because of the impact September 11th has had on terrorism. He was absent when his lab was attacked in 1998, but his colleague had to call the police, and she explains the trauma of this experience. Through his personal story Clive Page reveals the difficult moral dilemmas of a vivisectionsist trying to conquer a disease that can kill, and the life of a father and scientist living under the threat of terrorism.

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