A SWINDON teenager has won special praise from Tony Blair for his campaign group's fight against animal rights extremists.

The Prime Minister has highlighted the work of Pro-Test, run by Laurie Pycroft, in a Government statement about medical research.

Laurie said: "I'm quite flattered to be mentioned in the document it's a sure sign that Pro-Test is raising issues that are in the public interest.

"It also shows there is no longer a climate of fear over speaking out in support of such issues and the fact that he mentioned Pro-Test by name will hopefully mean more support for our campaign."

In the document, Mr Blair offered Government support to police crackdowns on animal rights protesters who use violence, and praised grass roots movements like Pro-Test.

Last May Mr Blair said he would sign a pro-animal testing petition in a stand against what he called a "tiny group of extremists".

Laurie set up Pro-Test in January as a volunteer group to raise awareness of the benefits of medical testing.

He said: "Pro-Test is coming along very well. It's a bit quiet over the university summer but we are working on less public projects.

"We are a core group of students, but we get volunteer help from people who are interested in our cause."

The 16-year-old revealed his support for an Oxford MP's plan to label products that have involved animal research.

"We are interested in Dr Harris' idea of putting a sticker on all products that have been tested on animals," Laurie said.

"That way, people would be able to see just how far we rely upon on animal testing, and if they still didn't agree, they would have the choice to opt out of buying the goods."

Despite receiving recognition from Mr Blair, Laurie will continue to work independently.

He said: "We are very much a grass roots organisation. While we follow the Government line in some areas we are not a mouthpiece for them."

Pro-Test was launched in January to support the construction of a new animal research facility at Oxford University, the building of which was delayed after animal rights extremists threatened violence against the contractors and other companies involved in its construction.

For more information visit www.pro-test.org.uk