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Animal tests

The Physiological Society and GlaxoSmithKline, the drug company, are sending a free DVD to secondary schools explaining why animals are used for developing medical treatments.

A poll of more than 100 science teachers at the Association for Science Education conference this year showed they were desperate for facts about animal research, the Coalition for Medical Progress says. Animal testing is also a popular citizenship topic.

Frank Ellis is schools liaison manager for GlaxoSmithKline, which invites students to tour its laboratories. He said animal testing was necessary to develop modern medicines and save lives.

"We all want to know that a new medicine is safe to take, and by first administering the medicine to animals we can be confident that it is," Mr Ellis said.

Tim Phillips, the campaigns director of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, said the DVD was clearly a well-financed campaign in favour of animal experimentation. "This will be pro-vivisection propaganda and it should be seen as such," he said.

"We are extremely concerned about multinational companies defending their policies under the guise of education."

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