Animal rights protesters have handed over a 65,000-signature petition to Oxford University calling for it to stop tests on animals.

The signatures were collected by protest group Speak over the last five years.

Most were gathered calling when Speak was calling on the university to cease construction of a new biomedical sciences centre, which opened in November last year.

The petition, which was handed over to a representative from the university today. A spokesman for the university said: “We recognise that people have a range of views on this issue. The university has always said the building is going to be better for animal welfare and is supporting research into disabilities and deadly diseases.

“Animals are only used when no other research method is possible.”