Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 1999
It began in 1992, with two men walking out of a television studio. Colin Blakemore, Oxford Professor of Physiology, is a quiet-spoken, eloquent defender of the use of animals in medical research. Les Ward, Director of the Edinburgh-based Advocates for Animals, is a passionate opponent of animal use. Bringing them together in front of an invited audience with strong opinions on both sides would make the sparks fly and be good viewing. But Blakemore and Ward, retiring after yet another bout that neither side won, were dissatisfied. Both knew that media debates gave them a chance to highlight the flaws and evasions in the other side's arguments, and perhaps to recruit some new supporters to their own. But Ward realized that this was not enough to achieve the radical change he wanted: replacement of animals by other methods. And Blakemore disliked defending animal experiments against all comers. He too wanted to replace animals, albeit only when this could be done without forgoing the real benefits of research.