Research Defence Society

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The Research Defence Society was a British lobby group defending experiments on animals for research purposes. At the end of 2008 the Research Defence Society merged with another UK organisation - the Coalition for Medical Progress to form Understanding Animal Research. [1]

The Research Defence Society's aim was to disseminate information about, and to defend the use of, animal testing in medicine. It represented the interests of 5,000 researchers and institutions. It was reportedly funded by the pharmaceutical industry and universities. The organization stated it was funded by its members, which includes medical scientists, doctors and veterinarians, as well as pharmaceutical companies, research institutes, universities and charities that support medical research. The Times writes that the RDS is 'funded by the pharmaceutical industry and universities'.[2]

Its last executive director was Dr. Simon Festing who has gone on to be the CEO of Understanding Animal Research [3].



Circa 2007

Circa 2003

Executive Director: Dr Mark Matfield | Communications Director: Barbara Davies[8]


Circa 2007

  • Chairman: Professor Nancy Rothwell DBE FRS | Honorary Secretary: Professor R Lemon | Honorary Treasurer: Dr D Clough
  • Members: Professor P Andrews | Dr Jean Bradbury | Ms L Curtis | Mr D Everett | Mr A Gay | Dr T Morris | Dr C Stanford | Ms S Whitehead | Dr P Wright[7]

Circa 2003

Dr Peter Read CBE FRCP FFPM Honorary Secretary:

Professor C Page Honorary Treasurer:

Dr D Clough Members of Council:

Mr R Bond Dr D Everett Professor T Hamblin Dr B Hughes Professor R Lemon Dr T Morris Ms M Rice Ms S Whitehead Dr P Wright[8]

Presidents and Vice Presidents

Circa 2007

Circa 2003

President: Lord Perry of Walton OBE MD FRCP FRS Honorary Vice-Presidents: Professor Sir Colin Berry DSc FRCPath FFPM Sir James Black FRCP FRS Sir Walter Bodmer FRCPath FRS Sir Arnold Burgen FRCP FRS Sir Roy Calne FRCS FRS Mr Tam Dalyell MP Sir Colin Dollery FRCP Sir Michael Drury OBE FRCP FRCGP Sir Andrew Huxley OM FRS Dr Leslie Iversen FRS Sir David Jack CBE DSc FRS Baroness Knight of Collingtree DBE Sir Stanley Peart FRCP FRS Sir Phillip Randle FRCP FRS Professor Patricia Scott MBE Sir John Vane FRS Professor Owen Wade CBE FRCP Lord Walton of Detchant FRCP The Rt Hon Lady Warnock DBE Sir David Weatherall FRCP FRCPath FRS[8]

Contact (now defunct)
Internet Archive holdings:



  1. Understanding Animal Research Home Page
  2. Focus: A campaigning hero The Sunday Times - Britain February 26, 2006
  3. Understanding Animal Research About Us page
  4. The 2005 figure is from: LinkedIn Kirk Leech, accessed 22 August 2013
  5. Leech's profile post 2008 seems to imply that he only worked for RDS from 2007: Battle of Ideas Kirk Leech, accessed 4 September 2013
  6. The first Internet Archive holding of the RDS website that mentions Leech is from 11 February 2007: Structure The previous version of that page held in the Archive is from 21 October 2006: Structure
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Research Defence Society Structure, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 28 September 2007, on 27 August 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Research Defence Society Structure, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 5 June 2003, on 4 September 2013