Journalist Michael Buerk has launched a blistering attack against animal rights extremists, labelling them 'terrorists' in a new TV docum- entary.

The construction of an animal research laboratory in South Parks Road by Oxford University has thrust the city to the forefront of the animal rights debate over the course of the past two years.

Earlier this month, Newsnight broadcast a debate between those in favour of and those against testing on animals for the benefit of medical research.

Now Mr Buerk, 60, has joined the debate by heavily criticising animal rights protesters.

He said: "It's all a terrible mix of sloppy sentimentality and lazy disinterest. There's hopeless confusion over our relations with animals.

"These protesters think animals have the same right as us - that's wrong. If experimenting is necessary to cure terrible human conditions it should be done - simple as that."

In the documentary, called Don't Get Me Started: Michael Buerk - Animal Rights, Human Wrongs, Mr Buerk says extreme action by hardliners is just a 'euphemism for vandalism or even terrorism. He investigates how campaigners are damaging public support through direct action.

The former Ten O'Clock News anchor also interviews animal rights campaigner Mel Broughton, a former hardline activist and now a spokesman for the campaign group Speak, which is campaigning against the building of the Oxford lab.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Mr Broughton said Mr Buerk's comments made no impact to the campaign to stop the building of the the Oxford lab.

He said: "It is more of the same. I have become very disinterested in what the media report. They take very little effort to find out what the issue is about. Mr Buerk was hostile from the very start of the interview.

"He was just interested in controversy and like the rest of the media, portraying us all in the same way.

"I try very hard with the media, but the problem is if you are entering into this debate and there is an agenda set out beforehand it starts to get a bit tiresome."

Don't Get Me Started is due to be screened on Channel 5 on Tuesday, August 22.