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Injunction allows animal testing lab to go ahead

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OXFORD UNIVERSITY said this week that work would resume 'as soon as possible' on its controversial animal research facility, after winning an anti-harassment injunction against animal rights protesters.

A number of contractors and suppliers withdrew from the £18M project following a buildup of attacks on company premises and physical intimidation of personnel (NCE 17 June). Work stopped in July.

'Everyone now has increased confidence that they will be protected, ' said an Oxford University spokeswoman. She did not say whether the previous contractors or a new company would do the work.

The University hopes to complete the Biomedical Research Facility by the end of 2005 she said. Work is one third complete with the concrete frame largely in place.

The High Court injunction prohibits a number of named protesters from coming within 50m of the facility. A 90m limit is also set around the homes of university and contractor personnel, shareholders and visitors to the project.

Peaceful protests are allowed at the site only once a week with no more than 50 protesters.

One of the animal rights groups, Speac, protested its non-involvement with violent activities and said the injunction was a draconian limitation on the right of free speech.

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