About 200 supporters of “Pro-Test” marched in Oxford yesterday to “defend the rights of scientists to work in peace”.

The rally began at 12 noon with speeches made twice along Broad Street and then again at the biomedical facility.

Pro-Test was founded in January 2006 by sixteen year-old Laurie Pycroft. The organisation states three main aims: to “defend the rights of researchers to work in peace”; to “celebrate the successes of animal research in developing treatments for disease”; and to “communicate a better understanding about animal research to non-scientists everywhere”.

Pro-Test supporters marched to illustrate their continuing support for the building of the University of Oxford's new biomedical research unit in South Parks Road, which is now nearing completion. Pro-Test’s website states that, “Without animal research, medicine as we know it today wouldn't exist.

“Animal research has enabled us to find treatments for cancer, antibiotics for infections, vaccines to prevent some of the most deadly and debilitating viruses and surgery for injuries, illnesses and deformities.”

The protesters marched along Broad Street chanting, “No more Fear, animal research wanted here.”

The rally was carried out peacefully, however, during a speech made by MP Evan Harris, one animal rights protester came to the front of the crowd and began shouting. He was escorted away by police.

In 2006, OUSU held an Oxford University referendum on animal testing. 90.4% of voters backed a motion supporting animal testing and the Oxford lab.

Watch the Cherwell24 Video report of the rally.