In a recent post, I focussed on the desecration of Gladys Hammond's grave by people unknown. Gladys Hammond was a relative of the Hall family, who raise guinea pigs for use in biomedical research and who, along with their entire community, have been the targets of unrelenting and vicious attacks by Animal Rights extremists. So it was natural that suspicion for the desecration should fall on Animal Rights extremists.
Sarah Dixon, of the extremist AR group "Save Newchurch Guinea Pigs" denied that her group was involved, even as she took the protectively neutral position of "not condoning" the desecration.
Today we learn a little more. An extremist AR group in Florida is including the desecration as one "action" in its "Diary of Actions," a lengthy list describing AR attacks against a whole host of targets.
Here's what the Independent has to say about the issue:
The theft of a grandmother's remains from a grave in a country churchyard in Staffordshire was claimed by extremists yesterday as a victory in the global campaign for animal rights.
The Florida-based website of the direct action magazine Bite Back hailed the removal of 82-year-old Gladys Hammond's coffin as a successful "sabotage" operation. Bearing the slogan "more than one action a day, every day" the site listed the exhumation alongside other strikes in recent weeks. These included a paint stripper attack on a German businessman's home in Dusseldorf, the "liberation" of mice from a laboratory in Russia and the defacing of billboards at a greyhound stadium in Ireland.
Police believe the reason Mrs Hammond, who died in 1997, was targeted was because she was the mother-in-law of one of two brothers who run Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, where guinea pigs are bred for medical research. Campaigners claim the animals are kept in appalling conditions at three locations in the villages of Newborough and Newchurch, allegations the family denies.
The farm has found itself at the centre of an increasingly pernicious protest thought to be conducted by members of the Animal Liberation Front. Not only have the farm's owners, David Hall and his two sons Chris and John, been targeted, but the entire village in which they live has come under attack.
Regarded by the Home Office as the most extreme campaign of its kind, the Halls and their friends and neighbours have been subjected to personal threats, attacks on their property and smear campaigns.
A 70-year-old woman had the windows of her home broken; the landlord of a local pub was threatened with arson after refusing demands to ban the brothers; veterinary staff, the village hotel, and local solicitors have all been warned not to have anything to do with the Halls, and the greens of the brothers' golf club were dug up after anonymous threats were received.
Mrs Hammond's son-in-law, Chris Hall, described the family's disbelief yesterday saying the five-year campaign against them had plumbed new depths. "We are devastated and disgusted by this barbaric criminal act. There cannot be many people who would stoop to this terrible atrocity."
To make matters worse, said Mr Hall, demonstrators turned up outside their home on Sunday to "chant verbal abuse" at them - part of a continuing "peaceful" protest. "It shows the kind of people they are. It shows what sort of world we are forced to live in," he said.
[ . . . ]
Sarah Dixon of Save Newchurch Guinea Pigs, which has been campaigning against the farm, said she could not condone the "horrendous" incident but insisted the peaceful protests would go on. "This incident ... is nothing to do with our group and we have no knowledge as to who is responsible. As far as we are aware the police have said animal rights is only one avenue of investigation they are taking. It hasn't been established this is down to animal rights activists," she said. . . .
As I pointed out recently, Dixon's "could-not-condone-it" position is despicable: it's purely neutral, in the sense that she neither condemns nor condones grave desecration. And yet, Dixon and her group hold themselves above the rest of us as moral beacons, beacons that we lesser sorts should rally to for a kindler, gentler, more sensitive world ...
For its part, "Bite Back!" magazine is about as extreme an expression of Animal Rights ideology and action as you're likely to find. Like all such extreme "information services," they are careful never to directly incite violence or encourage law breaking: they merely identify targets, publish personal information about them, demonize them, catalogue legal and illegal techniques that might be used to intimidate and coerce them, were one so inclined, and report on "actions" taken by anonymous "useful idiots" like William Cottrell, Harrison Burrows and others.
So it's not at all surprising that the website would approve for inclusion in its list of the "actions" taken against their enemies - in this case the Hall family - the novel act of grave desecration.
After all, Gladys Hammond is just another dead thing.
Thanks to David S. for the early tip.