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New threat from animal rights activists

Building and decorating firms have been sent threatening letters

believed to be from animal rights activists warning them not to work

for Oxford University, it emerged today.

Thames Valley Police said it knew of 18 anonymous letters which

tell contractors they will be targeted by the militant Animal

Liberation Front group if they undertake work for the university.

Oxford University is currently building new research laboratories

where tests on animals will be carried out.

In July last year Montpellier subsidiary Walter Lilley abandoned a project to build an £18 million research laboratory in Oxford after shareholders were targeted by militant animal rights groups.

Detectives believe it is likely other people may have also been

targeted, but chose not to report the letter to the police.

A police spokesman said: 'It is believed the letters are part of a

campaign by animal rights extremists who are trying to prevent work

by Oxford University to build new laboratories.

'Although everyone is entitled to an opinion about this very

emotive issue, it is just not acceptable to act in a way which

intimidates other people and threatens their livelihood.'

A number of demonstrations have already been held at the new

laboratory site, where tests will mainly be carried out on rodents

and fish.

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