A protest against Oxford University’s use of animal testing will be held today, coinciding with the 40th World Day for Animals in Laboratories (WDAIL). The protest intends to highlight the plight of animals who “suffer in the name of research and profit.”

The event is co-organised by WDAIL and Speak – the Voice for the Rights of Animals, which has previously campaigned against the building of a new animal laboratory by the University. It regularly holds demonstrations and information stalls in Oxford.

The organisation’s founder Mel Broughton, stated: “Millions of animals are still being experimented on in the name of medical research.

“In the twenty-first century we now have the means and the ability to carry out cutting edge medical research without recourse to animal experimentation.

“Those who think that science is ethically neutral confuse the findings of science, which are, with the activity of science, which is not.”

There will be speakers at the event, including the first person to rescue an animal from a laboratory in the UK Mike Huskisson, campaigns manager at Animal Aid Jessamy Korotoga, and the founder of AJP Claire Palmer.

The day begins with a rally at Oxpens Park at noon. The march begins at 1.00pm and will follow a route through Cornmarket and to the University’s laboratory on Mansfield Road. There is set to be speeches both at Oxpens Park and outside the laboratory.

British universities have been condemned by the anti-vivisection campaign group, Animal Justice Project (AJP), who alleged that some of the rabbits “had been infected with cholera, others given fatal injections, and some had their eyes sewn shut.”

In 2018, Oxford “neglected” to release the number of rabbits they had used in testing. This was the first time in four years that the University had not provided the information. In 2017, they carried out 236,429 tests on animals.

British universities have been acused of “growing more secretive” about their use of animal testing, with AJP alleging that Edinburgh, Cambridge, UCL and 15 others also declined to give details.

An Oxford University spokesperson said they refuse Freedom of Information requests only on data already due for release.

They stated: “The university also releases all animal testing data, by species and sever- ity, every single year. This is usually in the autumn.”

However, the Animal Justice Project called for greater transparency about “out-of-date and futile” tests on rabbits.

Other universities, such as Liverpool, UCL, and Sheffield, have also been criticised by the campaign group. The AJP alleged last year that Nottingham University “infected sixty baby rabbits with cholera, causing diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration.

“They were believed to have suffered extreme thirst, low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat causing death if “humane termination” was not carried out.”

According to data obtained by the AJP, the UK is one of the largest users of laboratory animals in the world. According to the latest Home Office statistics, over half of the 3.87 million experiments conducted in the UK in 2017 were in universities.

This figure corresponds to around 26 animal experiments per day in the United Kingdom.