Diana Isserlis
SES Secretary, Webmaster & Membership Secretary

Diana and puppyFollowing my graduation with a B.Sc. Honours in Mathematics in 1972 at the age of 25, I embarked on a career as a Software Engineer.

I first became aware of the extent of the pointless barbarity of vivisection in the early nineteen seventies when I was sharing a flat with a psychology student. I would read her text books out of interest. One was a book of descriptions of gratuitously cruel “experiments”, with no real scientific value, performed on animals. It made hard and depressing reading, like reading any descriptions of torture.

In 1994 I started studying with the Open university, taking two third level undergraduate courses in computing, while unemployed to keep myself up to date and improve my employment prospect. I went on to study postgraduate courses in computing working towards a postgraduate diploma in Computing for Commerce and Industry. The strategy worked, helping me to gain a number of well-paid computing contracts.

Since August 1991, following a severe gastric infection, I have suffered from M.E. During 2002 and 2003 my health deteriorated rapidly, culminating in a severe M.E. relapse, forcing me to retire early from paid employment. Being addicted to O U study by then, once I realised there would be no point in me gaining an expensive postgraduate qualification, I continued studying, choosing courses out of interest.

In 2004 I stumbled across the O U Students Association. I joined SES after meeting Vivien on FirstClass. In more than 30 years since reading my flatmate’s text books, I naively believed that the situation with respect to the use of animals in experiments would have substantially improved. It has not. That’s in spite of legislation apparently intended to protect animals, scientific and technical advances which make harmful animal use unjustifiable, the hype about the three R’s and the fact that animal models are misleading indicators of the effects of drugs and health conditions on humans.