Sir – Now that the construction of the Oxford Animal Lab is complete, it is time to move on from the controversy surrounding the lab to an open and educated debate on the future of animal testing.

The European Parliament is preparing to debate a revision of Directive 86/609 governing animal experimentation. With growing support among MEPs and European citizens for the replacement of animal testing, this is long overdue. Even the European Commission has a stated commitment to replacing, reducing and refining approaches to animal testing.

As an MEP, I want to make sure that the EU overhauls its out-of-date laws on animal testing. Europe needs to establish a world-leading Centre of Excellence in non-animal research to speed up the development of new techniques, moving away from outdated and cruel animal research and bringing a new era of modern science without animal suffering.

On Thursday, March 5, I will be speaking at a public meeting in Oxford entitled ‘Replacing Animals in Research: What’s Happening in Europe?’. I will be joined by the President of the Eurogroup for Animals, and the Policy Director of the Dr Hadwen Trust, the UK leader in non-animal medical research.

The meeting is organised by Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford (VERO); a University-based group. It is being held at the Friends Meeting House, in St Giles, and starts at 7pm. It is open to everyone, not just members of the University. I hope to see as many people as possible at the meeting.

Dr Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP for the South East, Vice-President, EU Cross-Party Animal Welfare Group, Vice-President, RSPCA