SIR - Tony Blair has announced he intends to sign the so-called 'People's Petition' - thus generating more publicity for the pro-vivisection cause.

Despite the massive campaign against the opponents of vivisection, the latest Sky poll confirms that more than 60 per cent of the public remain opposed to animal testing.

The government would do well to heed this clear message. The vast majority of those who oppose animal experimentation have done so peacefully for decades.

It is time for the government to recognise that vivisection harms both people and animals, and stop pretending this debate is about animal rights 'extremism' versus science.

For many people, vivisection is another form of unacceptable animal cruelty. Added to this welfare concern is the mounting evidence that the data obtained from animal research cannot be reliably applied to human medicine. The time has come for an independent scientific evaluation of animal experimentation. Eighty-two per cent of GPs have declared they would welcome such an inquiry, as have 240 MPs - signatories to a parliamentary motion.

Andre Menache, Scientific Consultant to Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge