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Clamp down campaign
Posted 28 July 2004
Animal Aid statement in response to Government 'clamp down' on animal rights activists
It is clear that there is an orchestrated campaign - by vivisection lobbyists and their government supporters - to focus all attention upon the 'extremist threat' and away from the increasingly important debate as to whether animal experiments are scientifically valid. Increased restriction on legitimate, open debate and peaceful protest leads to increased frustration - and by a small minority, the recourse to direct action as the chosen method of expressing opposition.
Animal Aid is thoroughly committed to non-violent, non-intimidatory campaigning, as is the vast majority of animal rights advocates. The broad commitment to non-violence is made evident by our deep disgust at the kind of Home Office-sanctioned cruelty that takes place in animal labs.
The current atmosphere of hysteria denotes a moral panic - more and more people are troubled by our message, and so the gatekeepers of the orthodoxy put up the barricades and attempt to whip up a frenzy of paranoia to cloud the real issue.
The effect is not only to demonise those campaigning peacefully - and using science and ethics as our 'weapons' - but also to make it virtually impossible for a scientist to stick his or her neck out and question or indeed contradict the message being peddled by the vivisectors.
Those campaigning against the use of animals in research are paraded as a sorry collection of moronic thugs - despite the fact that in 30 years of radical animal rights campaigning nobody involved in animal experimentation has ever been killed or even seriously injured. In comparison, three animal campaigners have been killed in recent years. At Animal Aid, two of our peaceful local contacts have been attacked in their own homes, one beaten up whilst leafleting in a town centre, and, at head office, we have received fire bomb and death threats.
The Home Office recently admitted that it had never conducted an evaluation of the efficacy or benefit to human medicine of animal experiments, or assessed a study by any other party. (See Home Office admits ignorance.) This is profoundly significant. The true crime is that animals are being needlessly abused in experiments that are cruel, and at best pointless, at worst a potential danger to human health.
Notes to Editors
Up to £70 million a year spent by research companies on protecting their properties and key personnel.
£130 million earmarked for Lord Goldsmith's department, to make the criminal justice system more effective in terms of prosecuting animal rights activists, and to be spent on the prosecutions themselves.
£25 million set aside by the National Association of Pension Funds, to offer in reward for information leading to the conviction of an animal rights activist involved in 'investor terrorism' (targeting shareholders of animal-testing companies).
£280,000 made available by the Home Office in 2002 for funding 3Rs - refining, reducing and replacing animal experiments - of which only £56,000 was directed specifically to replacing the use of animals. This total is predicted to rise to about £660,000 once a new 3 R's centre is built.
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