The Pro-Test movement was founded in January 2006 by Laurie Pycroft, a 16-year-old student from Swindom, United Kingdom. Pycroft didn’t want the public to be exposed to only one opinion concerning animal research, which at the time was dominated by radical opponents of animal research. A prime example was in July 2004 when the construction of a new research building for biomedicine was stopped for a year after an intimidation campaign led by radical activists targeted contractors and their employees. When construction finally restarted in November 2005 the activists restarted their campaign as well. These activists began included students as their targets and were supported by extremists groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front.
We contacted Laurie Pycroft after Pro-Test for Germany went public on the eve of June 4th. Here is his statement:
“I am delighted to offer my support to Pro-Test Deutschland, the latest group in a global network of animal research supporters. As the founder of Pro-Test in Oxford, UK, it is wonderful to see so many dedicated scientists standing up to threats and intimidation, and explaining the importance of the work they perform.
Being a student of neuroscience, I was dismayed to hear of Prof. Logothetis being forced to abandon his vital work involving primates. Harassment and misinformation are unacceptable debating tools and yet they are used all too often by animal rights activists, who frequently monopolise the debate by scaring away any opposition. There is only so much of this abhorrent treatment that an individual scientist can take, but Pro-Test Deutschland will form a platform from which researchers may stand together and speak freely without fear of being targeted. I have every confidence Pro-Test DE will be successful in this endeavour and that the debate over animal research in Germany will be much less one-sided in the future.”