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Rock legend backs DHT at Parliament for ‘world’s first’

ROCK legend and animal welfare supporter Brian May gave his backing at Parliament to the announcement by Hitchin charity the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) of a ‘world’s first’ education and research initiative.

The Queen guitarist is a Patron of the DHT whose new initiative will see the UK spearhead a collaborative global search for more ethical, human-relevant alternatives to animal testing.

The DHT, the UK’s leading humane medical research charity, and Queen Mary, University of London, have joined forces to create the first Professorial Chair in animal replacement science.

The new post will be based at the pioneering Blizard Institute in London and has been made possible thanks to a £1 million legacy left to the DHT specifically for this purpose by lifelong supporter Alan Stross. 

Kailah Eglington, Chief Executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust, said: “This branch of science is becoming increasingly accepted among the scientific community and it is vital that new and existing scientists and researchers are aware that successful alternatives to animal testing are available today and that more are needed.”

Brian May said: “Over the past few years I’ve become progressively more involved in campaigning for animal welfare.  It comes at a certain time of life, perhaps … this awareness that things have gone horribly wrong in the world at large, in the way we value, understand, and behave towards the other species on this planet.

“This new initiative is a very significant step forward in promoting awareness of the principles of replacement science in the scientific community. It is an endorsement of the importance of the ethical treatment of animals.”

A change in UK legislation directed by the EU, which came into force this year, ensures that alternative, non-animal research techniques are used in medical research if they are available. 

The DHT Professorial Chair at the Blizard Institute will play a pivotal role in leading the UK’s response to this legislative change in creating links between scientists in the sector and in identifying areas of best practice in replacement science.  It is also intended that educational programmes specific to animal replacement science will be developed to inspire more young people to choose a career in the field.

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