As might be expected, the announcement yesterday that the Hall farm, an enterprise that raised guinea pigs for research purposes, would be closing at least in part because of an Animal Rights campaign of intimidation, vandalism and thuggery lasting several years, has prompted some fall-out.
Medical researchers have urged companies involved in animal testing to "hang in there" until legislation introduced last month to tackle campaigns of intimidation and harassment begins to take effect.
The Research Defence Society (RDS) said the Government had shown a strong commitment to dealing with offenders and said it was confident the "tide would turn" against extremists.
Admonishments to "hang in there" and plaintive declarations that the "tide would turn" don't exactly overflow with optimism for the future.
The failure of the British government and the legal system to protect the Hall guinea pig farm from AR thugs is apparent to anyone with half a brain, and unless the government — and the private sector — take this seriously, it's going to happen again.
More than 500 leading UK scientists and doctors have signed a declaration published today by the RDS in which they pledge their support for animal testing for medical research.
Three Nobel laureates - Sir Paul Nurse, Dr Tim Hunt and Sir John Sulston - are among the signatories, as well as 190 Fellows of the Royal Society and the Medical Royal Colleges, and more than 250 academic professors.
Which, of course, is meaningless. Support for the enterprise of animal-based research is a necessary condition for it to continue, but it is not by itself sufficient. It is also necessary for scientists, industry and the government to go on the offensive — to reveal the Animal Rights movement for what it is.
That's not hard to do . . . the Center for Consumer Freedom is pioneering how one attacks the attacker, which requires nothing more than an effective PR campaign focussing on the weaknesses of the Animal Rights movement, in essence countering ideological drivel with facts about Animal Rights — its ideology, logic and goals (see below).
The Declaration on Animals in Medical Research was made the day after the owners of a guinea pig breeding farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, announced plans to close at the end of the year.
The timing of the statement, which was signed over the last month, is not linked to the decision by David Hall and Partners to cease breeding operations at Darley Oaks Farm.
The Hall family was subjected to a six-year hate campaign by fanatics and hopes its decision will prompt grave-robbers to return the body of 82-year-old Gladys Hammond.
As I said yesterday:
I doubt Mrs. Hammond's remains will be returned. It'd be too much trouble, and it would be risky to do so.
Plus, in the perverted thinking of the extremists, the Halls had it coming, and not returning the remains will serve as an object lesson to others the extremists wish to intimidate into compliance . . .
And her remains are just another dead thing . . .
It would take a person of monumental stupidity to keep Mrs. Hammond's remains, if there is any chance at all of being caught with them. There is no reason whatsoever for a person to keep the remains, and every reason to put as much distance between him/herself and Mrs. Hammond's remains as possible, as soon as possible.
Back to the report:
Mrs Hammond was the mother-in-law of Christopher Hall, who co-owns Darley Oaks Farm. Her body was stolen from a grave at St Peter's Church in nearby Yoxall last October.
Dr Simon Festing, executive director of the RDS, said: "Our message to other companies involved is 'Please hang in there'."
Dr Festing predicted that new legislation designed to prevent the harassment of people at home and to stop "economic damage" through campaigns of intimidation would have an effect.
"There's a clear commitment from Government to sort out the problem of animal rights extremism," he said.
"There is new legislation which has only just come into force and we hope the Government will provide resources so that police can enforce the law.
New laws are great, but if the government isn't willing to commit resources to enforcing them, they are worthless.
Parenthetically, the National Association of Pension Funds could have played a very important and even pivotal role in this battle, with little inconvenience or expense to themselves, had they but followed through on the commitment they originally made to fight AR terrorisms, but then broke.
I had this to say about fighting AR terrorism here:
And so I come to this: why on earth should the pharmaceutical companies look to government for the lion's share of their protection? Why are they not actively engaged in protecting themselves?
Perhaps there's something here I fail to appreciate, but it seems to me that the NAPF and the pharmaceutical companies could with relative ease mount a large and effective public relations campaign, a campaign that might well damage the solvency of the AR industry by changing public opinion and discouraging well-meaning but naive people from contributing to the AR coffers.
From a tactical point of view, it seems to me the campaign should have two goals: the first would be to attack the Animal Rights movement head on. Publicly and repeatedly reveal the incoherence of AR "philosophy," the logical consequences of following its precepts and abandoning animal based research, and the tactics of the movement (what AR propaganda is and how it works, the abundant hypocrisy of AR luminaries, and the tactics of intimidation, coercion and violence).
How hard or expensive could it be to create spot TV and radio commercials, place adds in newspapers, and plaster posters in the cars of the underground?
The second goal would be to defend animal-based research. Surely the citizenry of the UK is well enough educated to be able to understand how drugs are developed and brought to market, the difference between basic and clinical science, and how and why animals are irreplaceable in modern health care.
Don't just tell the citizenry that animal based research and testing are necessary for modern medicine, tell them how science works, and why there are no substitutes. And don't be shy — assume the best of the citizenry — that they are smart, interested and willing to listen to what research really is and how it works (as opposed to research as distorted by AR ideologues).
Again, there is no earthly reason why newspaper adds, radio and TV commercials and posters wouldn't be an extremely effective way of getting the message out.
Up until now, the pharmaceutical companies have been playing defense: the AR people have been allowed to frame the questions to their advantage, and the forces supporting research have reacted to questions of the "do you still beat your wife" variety.
Were the supporters of research to go on offense, they could frame questions the way they want them framed, and make the AR people play a little defense.
Back to the article:
"We have strong support from the scientific community and we have had had some prosecutions of animal rights extremists this year.
"I believe the tide will turn and we can get on top of this problem."
Dr Festing said the last time there had been such a drive to deal with the issue was in 2001 when the Government stepped in to provide banking services for Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).
The pharmaceutical testing company has been at the centre of a long-running campaign.
Aside from the Darley Oaks and HLS campaigns, the third major protest of concern to the RDS is that directed against the University of Oxford.
Dr Festing said animal rights activists had already halted building work on an £18 million University of Oxford research centre after intimidating the construction company.
Today's declaration aimed to highlight the medical and scientific benefits that animal experiments could provide.
It also stated that scientists should make every effort to safeguard animal welfare and minimise suffering. [My emphasis . . . ed]
These people haven't a clue what they're up against! They don't have a clue about the difference between animal welfare and Animal Rights!
They really think that they can counter Animal Rights propaganda by playing defense! As if they could appease AR activists by adopting additional animal welfare policies!
Those supporting the use of animals in biomedical research haven't figured out that nothing they can do or say, short of abandoning animal-based research altogether, will silence their Animal Rights critics, who are well adept at inventing newer and more effective ways to demonize the research community regardless of what promises and procedures are adopted by scientists, industry, academia and the government, what concessions are made.
The research community hasn't learned that it cannot negotiate with AR people, who begin with the premise that the life of an animal and a life of a human are equally valuable, a premise that rejects the very concept of animal welfare in favor of animal liberation.
People who believe that the life of a human and that of an animal are of equal value aren't going to be appeased by reducing the number of animals used in research, or by providing animals with larger cages or an enriched environment. The only way you can appease these people is by abandoning Animal Based research altogether.
Why is it so difficult to accept that not everyone views the world through the same lens, a lens which views a human life as being of greater value than an animal life?