Eighty-Six year old embarks on hunger strike

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An 86 year old woman is carrying out a 72 hour hunger strike in Oxford City Centre in protest against the construction of the University’s controversial £18m biomedical research laboratory on South Parks Road.
Joan Court, from Cambridge, is staging her protest on Cornmarket Street until Saturday afternoon. Court said her main aim is “to make a moral and spiritual stand against something that I find wicked.”
An injunction currently prohibits animal rights protests from entering within 100 yards of any building owned by the University or its colleges. However, police have since visited and approved the location of Court’s protest.
Court said that although she was against violent demonstration, she is “not opposed to the destruction of property” as a means to free animals used in vivisection.
“It is immensely important that students know what is happening,” she said, “and that if they feel it is wrong, they can have a voice.”
Joan Court has worked for both the World Health Organisation and Quaker group in India at the time of the civil disobedience movement led by Mahatma Gandhi before the independence of India from the British Empire. Court says that he is a great personal inspiration to her own methods of protest.
A debate chaired by Tony Benn, the longest serving Labour MP in the history of the party, was also held at Oxford Town Hall on Thursday 21 April. The debate, entitled “Animal Experiments: Science or Fiction?” was attended by Dr Jarrod Bailey, Science director of Europeans for Medical Progress.
The organisation, formerly known as ETMA, includes medical professionals and scientists who support investigation into mainstream medical research, particularly the effectiveness of animal testing in preserving human life.
The university stated that it would be investing in research into alternative methods of drug testing, although it was not willing to disclose to what extent this would be.
The contractors – Montpellier Group, and RMC – for the construction of the lab pulled out of the project last summer following continued protests.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2005

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