SIR – I have just read the letter from Isobel Hutchinson (T&A, March 19) concerning the use of animals in the search for the cure of diseases that affect human beings.

I assume that she is more than five years old, and had it not been for the use of animal testing, she would have had 20 per cent chance of succumbing to one of the many childhood diseases before reaching that milestone in her life.

Would she have us going back to the days of Edward Jenner, who in 1796 inoculated an eight-year-old farm boy with cowpox and than exposed him to smallpox to see if his immunity theory worked (it did)?

As for the open labs and the Animal Welfare Pledge that students have to sign, this document is only being used to ensure that no animal rights activists are going to get access to the animals, the staff or their property.

Eric Naylor, Green Lane, Idle