IF I may be permitted to reply to Phil Beaven's letter "No need for vivisection" SA, Sat, Feb 11.

Workers at Oxford University's new biomedical laboratory do wear masks to hide identities, but not as Mr Beaven would have us believe because they're ashamed to show their faces, but because the Animal Liberation Front has announced that anyone associated with Oxford University, including students, is a legitimate target for attack.

Construction has recently resumed after a period of enforced suspension following a campaign of intimidation and threats to both contractors and shareholders.

The use of animals in medical research is an emotive issue, blighted by the appalling record of their use in the cosmetic industry.

While many believe that the reliability of animal experiments has never been validated, especially in drug testing, there is evidence showing medical breakthroughs flowing directly from their use, as many cancer experts will tell you.

While I can assure Mr Beaven that I am as prone to incandescent rage over animal cruelty as anyone else, normal people, whatever their misgivings, do not indulge in this hate-filled activity.

J P HUNTER Shaw, Swindon