The Government is risking controversy with news that it has been
approaching advertising agencies through COI Communications with a view
to doing an ad campaign to support animal testing.
The Government is hoping to meet two objectives with the campaign.
First, to convince the public that animal testing is essential and that
vivisection can save human lives. Second, it wants to communicate that
the Government does care about animal welfare.
COI has talked to an undisclosed number of agencies on behalf of the
Department of Trade and Industry in a bid to sound them out and gauge
sensitivities surrounding the highly confidential project.
The task is said to be part of the remit of Lord Sainsbury, the DTI's
minister of science and innovation.
Agencies are expected to reject COI's invitation to tender for the
controversial task. A DTI spokesman said: 'A number of agencies were
approached regarding the possibility of carrying out work in this area,
but the decision was taken not to take the matter further at this
COI roster agencies include D'Arcy, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
The news will anger animal rights campaigners. Lobbyists have hit the
headlines recently for targeting the contract research company
Huntingdon Life Sciences.
Huntingdon angered lobbyists last year when it used advertising to
defend its record on the use of laboratory animals. The Advertising
Standards Authority received 93 complaints about the ads, all of which