laboratory which will be used for testing drugs on animals is being built
of Leicester is building the laboratory on a car park behind the fire station
in Lancaster Road, on the edge of its city campus.
chiefs said work there would involve carrying out "vital" tests
on mice and rats in an effort to find new treatments for cancer, heart disease,
meningitis, diabetes and kidney disease in humans.
rights activists said they were disturbed by the plans, and said they were
considering holding a protest march at the site within months.
Anti-Vivisection Alliance (NAVA) said it believed beagle dogs, which are
commonly used in animal testing, as well as rodents would be used for tests
at the laboratory.
denied any dogs would be used.
from the university said the laboratory would replace "existing facilities"
and provide "an improved environment for staff and animals".
Mercury asked the university which animals it currently uses for tests and
where the testing happens, but the university did not respond to the question.
spokesman said it was "committed to conducting medical research without
the use of animals where effective alternatives exist".
animal research is carried out, it is to test the safety and effectiveness
of treatments before they are tried on humans.
said: "The scientists, technicians and veterinarians involved with
the animals on a daily basis operate within strict ethical codes under a
dedicated culture of care for all animals within the university."
said that over the years, animal testing had contributed to developments
such as penicillin, meningitis vaccines and insulin for diabetics. However,
NAVA said the university's lab would be a "pointless waste of lives,
money and resources".
Luke Steele said: "The University of Leicester already has a number
of facilities, which use primates, dogs and rodents in experiments.
is absolutely no reason for another laboratory to be built. It is squandering
money away from potentially life-saving research which is accurate and does
not involve abusing animals."
permission for the site was given by Leicester City Council earlier this
month. The laboratory should be up and running by early next year.