SIR - Mr Turtle (Letters, Sept 17th) is unable to provide any evidence to support his views about animal research. The reality is that every medical breakthrough of the last century has resulted from experiments involving animals, including treatment for diabetes, polio, leukaemia, cancer and heart surgery.

Currently animal testing has a key role to play in developing vaccines and treatment for diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimer's and Aids. The vast majority of animal tests do not cause suffering to animals and animals are well cared for.

A tiny minority of tests do involve the animal experiencing discomfort but the industry constantly tries to minimise the use of such experiments. The fact is that progress in our treatment of illness and disease does depend on these experiments.

The industry has been making big advances in alternative testing but the reality is that animal research can never be completely replaced.

The Association of Medical Research Charities representing over 100 medical charities including Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation said recently: "There is no truth in the argument that animal testing is no longer necessary".

Even if the thugs who threaten and intimidate people who work in testing were to be successful, medical progress would not grind to a halt. Testing would move to other countries where regulation and legislation is far more lax.

Given Mr Turtle's lack of substance on this matter, it is no wonder Lord Winston could not be bothered to reply to his letter.

Brian Willman, Ashley Gardens, Richmond