Leading academic slams activist for making unfounded claims

Richard Blaikie argues with Australian animal rights activist James Aspey
A leading academic has hit back at an activist who made inaccurate claims about a new animal testing facility.

Professor Richard Blaikie, the deputy vice chancellor of New Zealand’s University of Otago, said remarks made by Australian animal rights activist James Aspey were wrong.

Aspey, a well-known member of the animal rights community, had protested outside the new $50million testing facility which is still under construction.

He claimed animal testing produced false results and harmed humans.

But angry Prof Blaikie said:

“Research using animal models has played a vital part in nearly every medical breakthrough over the past few decades and has saved hundreds of millions of lives worldwide.

“It helped develop painkillers, anaesthetics, asthma inhalers and insulin, and is responsible for rising numbers of people surviving cancer.”

The university is permitted to use animals in research or teaching under the Animal Welfare Act if the purpose is to enhance human or animal health, or the management of the environment.

On Saturday, April 22, about 70 people took part in a protest against the lab led by the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society.

Aspey was among the protesters and claimed afterwards:

“Animals testing causes unnecessary pain and suffering in animals, and produces false results, which ultimately harms humans’’.

The new facility is expected to be completed in February next year.

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