AN ONLINE petition asking people to support the use of animals in medical research has been backed by a Swindon activist.

In February, 16-year-old Laurie Pycroft took a stand against the animal rights activists who opposed the building of the new research facilities at Oxford University.

And he has now signed the People's Petition, which asks people to sign up to statements backing the continued use of animals for medical research in the UK.

It also asks them to support the rights of scientists to do their work without fear of intimidation or attack.

"I think it is an excellent idea and I have already signed it myself," he said.

"I would actively encourage everyone who believes in biomedical testing or who believes that scientists have the right to carry out their work without fear of attack to sign it."

The website, which is backed by the Coalition For Medical Progress, is the brainchild of David Taylor, who was appalled by incidents such as the theft of the remains of Gladys Hammond, who was a relative of the operators of a guinea pig farm at Darley Oak, in Newchurch.

"Like almost every human being alive today, I benefit from medical research using animals," he said.

"Apart from this I have no vested interest in research. I'm not a doctor or a researcher. I don't work for a drugs company or own shares in one.

"I don't even have a scientific background.

"I wanted a way to show people who carry out medical research that I value and support their work and that I want to see this important work continue in Britain.

"There are people who, in a quiet way for now, want to make their voices heard and this is what this site is about."

So far, more than 6,500 people have added their signature to the petition.

It asks the public to sign up to three statements concerning animal research.

They are that medical research is essential in developing safe and effective treatments, where there is no alternative medical research using animals should continue in the UK and that people involved in medical research have the right to live and work without fear or intimidation.

For more information, or to sign the petition log on to