Simon Festing

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Template:Animal testing advocacy Simon Festing is the executive director of the Research Defence Society (RDS), [1] a British lobby group funded by the pharamaceutical industry and universities. [2] The main focus of RDS is to defend the use of animal testing in the UK.


Festing graduated in 1987 as a Bachelor of Medicine from the London Hospital Medical College (now part of Queen Mary, University of London). He worked as a medical doctor for three years before leaving medicine in 1990 to study Environmental Technology at Imperial College, graduating with an MSc in 1991.

He did voluntary work for Greenpeace from 1992 to 1994, before joining Friends of the Earth in 1994, where he was employed as their transport and wildlife campaigner until 1998. He worked as a campaign leader for Help the Aged from 1998-9, then became Director of Public Dialogue for the Association of Medical Research Charities, an umbrella group representing 100 medical-research charities, a post he held from 2000 until 2004, when he joined RDS. [3]

His father is Michael Festing, a member of the UK Animal Procedures Committee, and trustee of the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments, which is financed by the pharmaceutical and animal-testing industries.

Public profile

In December 2005, Festing appeared on a British reality TV show, The Devil's Challenge, [4] in which he was subjected to procedures used in animal labs, later engaging in an online debate with John Curtin, an animal-rights activist. [5] [6]