Fern Wickson calls for animal-rights activists to be formally consulted on university animal-research programmes (Nature 463, 293; 2010). The UK practice of including lay members of the public on university animal-ethics committees might be a sounder strategy.

It is true that more productive dialogue ought to exist between scientists and protesters. But for the most vocal and militant activists, no compromise is acceptable. Their adherence to the cause is almost religious. Such rigid views are unlikely to add usefully to the discussion.