Janet Payne (‘Animal welfare more important than jobs', Letters, June 5) is presumably healthy and can therefore afford to be against the use of animals in medical research such as that at Mill Hill's National Institute for Medical Research.

But what about the millions of us whose lives depend upon prescription medicines? Or those of us who need medical research to continue? Don't they deserve something better than her emotional propaganda?

The fact is that all modern prescription medicines are developed and tested with the help of animal studies. And I am not simply talking of the legally-required animal testing before human clinical trials. I am referring to the research and development which is conducted in the fundamental stages of drug discovery.

Where there is no legal requirement to use animals, they are used because it's the only way to find out what happens in a living body.

If anyone should disagree with me, then please name me an available prescription medicine that has been developed without any animal research. The Government has taken a sensible and realistic approach to this issue, which has shown much concern for animal welfare, but rightly ignored the emotional propaganda of anti-vivisection groups.

Seriously Ill for Medical Research (SIMR) is a patients' group which supports the humane use of animals and genetic technology where necessary in medical research. Our members suffer from illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and many, many more. We are willing to stand up and support research aimed at improving our health.

To join SIMR (which is free), or for further information, please write to SIMR, PO Box 504, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 5WS or visit us at www.simr.org.uk Thomas Bromley executive secretary Seriously Ill for Medical Research