Biography: Tom Holder
Tom Holder graduated from Oxford University in 2007, with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. His time at university coincided with the escalation of violence and intimidation by animal rights extremists. Frustrated by the climate of fear descending on Oxford he became instrumental in the formation of the original Pro-Test committee in February 2006, and took up the role of Press Officer, giving interviews to a variety of international news broadcasters.
He was Head Steward and Emcee at the original Pro-Test march in February 2006, which attracted nearly 1,000 students, scientists and members of the public. Holder reprieved these roles in June 2006 at the second demonstration.
During 2007, Holder took over communications and internal operations, in addition to the press officer role, coordinating Pro-Test’s day-to-day activities. He also began participating in more debates around the country, in schools, universities and on the radio; facing opposition such as Alistair Currie (UK campaigns coordinator for PETA), Michelle Thew (Chief Executive of British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) and Kathy Archibald (Director of Europeans for Medical Progress). Holder took on the Emcee role for a final time in February 2008, for the third Pro-Test rally.
In March 2008 he moved to the US to take on animal rights groups by founding “Speaking of Research.” His project is supported by both Pro-Test and Americans for Medical Progress, and aims to mirror Pro-Test’s grass roots activities by generating student and faculty support around the US for scientists conducting animal research. During his time in the US he toured extensively giving talks and presentations across the country.
Tom returned to the UK in October 2008 and continues to assist with Speaking of Research as well as the UK organisation Pro-Test. He is a regular contributor to the Speaking of Research news blog and still travels around the world to give talks on behalf of Speaking of Research. In April 2009, he became involved in Pro-Test for Science – helping them organize and carry out a rally in support of research – attracting around 700 people. In June 2013, he helped Pro-Test Italia organise a demonstration in Milan, Italy; where they stood up to the rising tide of animal rights extremism across the country.