Government plans pro-vivisection ad campaign

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

point.'



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

were rejected.



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