Colin Blakemore, the recently appointed chief executive of the UK Medical Research Council (MRC), has threatened to resign from his post if the British government does not reaffirm its commitment to the use of animals in research and to the rights of scientists to speak out and engage the public on such controversial issues.

The issue has arisen over the secretive system of granting British honors such as knighthoods. Normally, the new chief of the MRC would automatically be granted a knighthood, but at the end of last week documents were leaked that suggested that Blakemore had been rejected for an honor because of his involvement in “vivisection.”

Blakemore, a neuroscientist and Waynflete Professor of Physiology at Oxford, has been outspoken on the use of animals in research. Animal rights activists have beaten Blakemore up, vandalized his home, and injured his secretary with razor blades. For a time, he...

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