Oxford Dons Targeted by the Animal Rights Thugs

Article excerpt

Byline: MATTHEW BAYLEY

ANIMAL rights extremists have published sensitive information about Oxford dons and ministers in their bid to halt development of a controversial laboratory.

The private phone numbers and home addresses of senior figures, including Home Secretary David Blunkett and University Chancellor Chris Patten, were posted on the Internet.

The website, set up by a group calling itself Badgers Unknown Anarchist Ventures, also listed private information about other ministers, including Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt and Science Minister Lord Sainsbury of Turville.

Plans for Oxford's [pounds sterling]18million animal research centre - which will help find cures for diseases such as leukaemia - were delayed in July when building contractor Montpellier pulled out of the project.

The university said it regards the latest move by extremists as 'another threat'.

A spokesman added: 'We can only perceive publication of this information on the Internet as an invitation to those prepared to harass, threaten or attack people conducting legal activities.' The website listed more than 100 addresses, including those of senior university figures Lord Bingham, the High Steward, the vice-chancellors, academic heads and proctors.

Personal details of the architects of new laboratories and staff in the Department of Experimental Psychology were also listed.

The connection between many on the list and the animal rights campaign was unclear.

Tim Lawson-Cruttendon, acting for the university, said publication of the information could breach a High Court injunction protecting university staff, students and visitors from 'harassment'. …