After the University announced their plans to build a new animal lab on the 11th May 2016 we sent our own announcement, stating how outraged and disappointed we were.
On the same day as their announcement, we started asking members of the public and our supporters to send an online letter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie. This letter was up on our website and politely asked for the University to consider changing the proposed animal lab to a human based-research facility.
Within the first two days of asking our supporters to send this letter, we had an overwhelming response with 2000 people sending a direct message to Professor Blaikie’s personal email!
This led to a face to face meeting between Professor Blaikie, several other Representatives of Otago and our previous Executive Director, Stephen Manson.
We expressed our concerns with the facility, talked about the John Hopkins Center for Alternatives and other non-animal based research facilities that they could be modelling themselves to, and we informed them that they are lagging behind while the rest of the world is moving forward towards human-based research.
The meeting ended and Professor Blaikie made it clear that the lab was still going to be built despite there being other, better options.
We have since started a petition against the University!