Skip to content or view screen version

Professor Colin Blakemore in Animal Rights Zone

Carolyn Bailey | 14.02.2011 07:16 | Animal Liberation | Education | Social Struggles | Oxford | World

The animal rights social network and advocacy website Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) announces a groundbreaking interview with British neurobiologist and University of Oxford1 Professor Colin Blakemore Ph. D. to take place at 10pm GMT on Saturday February 19, 2011.

Colin Blakemore is a supporter of the use of nonhuman animals in medical research, recently arguing that animal experimentation is virtually the sole use of animals that can be morally defended on the grounds that such use is the ONLY one not done for pleasure or personal gratification.2 He has not participated in such experimentation in more than a decade and is known to have been horrified by fishing, opposed to hunting for sport and cosmetic testing on nonhuman animal subjects as well as viewing circuses and zoos unfavourably.

In 1992, along with Les Ward, then director of Scottish anti-vivisection group Advocates for Animals, Prof. Blakemore was a founding member, of The Boyd Group3, an independent think-tank concerned with the ethics of experimentation on other animals. The group’s claimed objectives included reviewing the role of institutional ethics committees, refining laboratory animal use, the use of animals for testing cosmetics, genetic engineering, the use of non-human primates, and the use of animals in testing household products.

Blakemore, who has specialised in vision and the development of the brain, has published hundreds of scientific papers, a number of books and talks regularly in the media on these subjects and various related topics4.

Realizing the controversy inherent between animal rights and the use of other animals of experimental test subjects, ARZone hopes to bring further understanding of both sides of this controversy to a wide and varied audience.

Prof. Blakemore has long been the subject of criticism from within the animal advocacy movement for his support of medical and scientific experimentation on nonhuman test subjects. Speaking in The Observer5 in 2003, Blakemore has said: 'I believe in openness and dialogue' and it is in this spirit that he has agreed to participate in a wide-ranging discussion with the members of ARZone. He is expected to be asked questions about the medical, scientific and moral questions surrounding animal experimentation in the context of the use and treatment of other animals as well as animal rights.

ARZone hosts weekly Question and Answer sessions with a variety of people who are connected in some way to issues surrounding human-nonhuman relations with the goal of increasing understanding and education. While ARZone does not endorse or promote the views of its guests and forum participants, support for animal experimentation is one of the clearest manifestations of the ideology of speciesism and human supremacy in society, therefore we are obligated to examine it thoroughly.

For more information, please visit ARZone on the web at:


Carolyn Bailey
- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Hide the following 8 comments


14.02.2011 09:05

You don't have to go making up bizarre terms like 'nonhuman'. The English language has a perfectly serviceable word that you can use in this situation - 'animal'. Look it up if you don't believe me.



14.02.2011 10:14

We are all animals and that's the point. Personally I don't think that he should have been invited to speak - it's not as if we are ever given a right to speak at their meetings.

Jon B

Just wondering: why are we giving a platform to the pro-vivisection lobby?

14.02.2011 10:38

"Blakemore is outspoken in his support of the use of animal testing in medical research, though he has publicly denounced fox hunting and animal testing for cosmetics.

He came to the attention of the animal rights movement while at Oxford University in the 1980s, when he carried out research into amblyopia and strabismus, conducting experiments that involved sewing kittens' eyelids shut from birth in order to study the development of their visual cortex."

And lets not forget...

"He has been chair of the Coalition for Medical Progress, the Research Defence Society and Understanding Animal Research...."

Oh and he is one of the researchers pushing for the new UKCMRI lab in St. Pancras. What a great fellow to have on ARZone!

Now lets all make some hot cocoa, sit together holding hands and listen to what this wonderful, warm, and definitely not corrupted/paid by the vivisection industry man has to say about why we should slice animals up for money.

You can oppose vivisection on two levels.
Either you oppose it entirely due to the fact that nonhuman animals hold the same value as us human animals and therefore should not be tortured inside laboratories for ANY reason.
You can also oppose in on the basis that vivisection holds extremely mixed results and is often misleading with scientific results and holds little scientific value compared to more modern methods.

Either way, Blakemore has no place to speak. He IS pro-vivisection (for so-called 'science'), and he DOES NOT think nonhuman animals hold the same value as human animals. There is no reason for him to speak, perhaps except to hear his warped 'justification' of animal abuse...


Personal gratification?

14.02.2011 10:41

"Colin Blakemore is a supporter of the use of nonhuman animals in medical research, recently arguing that animal experimentation is virtually the sole use of animals that can be morally defended on the grounds that such use is the ONLY one not done for pleasure or personal gratification"

I'm guessing the limitless research grants and glorifying one's own name doesn't count as personal gratification then.


Let's have evidence, not assertions.

14.02.2011 12:03

'glorifying one's own name' - evidence for Blakemore doing this?

And research grants as evidence for personal gratification? Grow up and find some arguments that go a little further than mud slinging.

Not Flakemore

should be interesting

14.02.2011 16:22

I think Blakemore is scum for what he has done to animals in the past (sewing up kittens' eyes), but it should be interesting to hear what he has to say. I believe he even went vegetarian for a while during the the BSE scare, at least partially.

Funny how people can be fairly right-on in some ways but not in others.

I guessed this would raise a lot of controversy!

It's also good that vivisectors are divided on what is acceptable and what isn't e.g. with Tipu Aziz defending the indefensible like cosmetics tests on animals and experiments on great apes.

On the one hand animal experiments kill a tiny number of animals compared to the meat trade, but on the other hand the suffering can be longer and more intense (although factory farming must be not far off).


Reason for this

14.02.2011 20:16

Blakemore is being replaced in many of his various posts and is basically skint. he's spent all his ill-gotten gains from defending torturing animals and now he's trying to put himself out as a one-man "think-tank" to try to drum up some cash. Don't let this fraud advertise!

Colin, how about you get a proper job.

Please ask him how much money he earned from torturing these animals (and also from his second 'career' defending the torture.)

Tax Man


16.02.2011 00:37

Re glorifying his own name, remember how he sulked when denied a New Year's Honour -

"A senior UK Government scientist has said he may resign after reports he was not put forward for an honour because of his support for animal experiments."

"A senior UK Government scientist blocked in the New Year's honours list has told how he was embarrassed then angry when he heard the news....

he said: "It was a real blow, not just to my aspirations, but to the whole (scientific) community..."

He said his concerns had "absolutely nothing to do with whether I thought I deserved an honour". "I thought there was simply an issue of principle," he said....

He suggested a new system with two main categories: one for exceptional achievement in a person's job and another for selfless contributions to the community."


Don't forget to ask him why he wouldn't debate with Dr Ray Greek.

anti honours