THIS week, 72 companies, university research departments and charities involved in animal experimentation signed a so-called ‘concordat on openness'.

But it will do little to combat the secrecy of vivisection. Instead, the concordat forms part of an elaborate public relations exercise that is designed to improve the image of vivisection whilst ensuring that the disturbing truth (animals being deliberately brain-damaged, injected with lethal viruses, given electric shocks) remains hidden. If the signatories to the concordat are genuinely committed to openness, then they should call for a repeal of Section 24 - the notorious secrecy clause that is used to prevent even the most basic information about animal experiments from being released. The Freedom of Information Act should, instead, apply. This is a statute that would provide access to information about animal experiments, but protect genuinely confidential details. The public, which funds a great deal of animal research through its taxes and charitable donations, deserves to know how their money is being spent.

Isobel Hutchinson


Animal Aid

The Old Chapel

Bradford Street