Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The sweet and fuzzy side of animal rights

I love animals, I really do, but I still think they're animals. We owe it to them to treat them humanely, but we owe it to ourselves not to confuse them with humans. Unfortunately, animal rights activists continue to cloud this message and, while trying to conflate animals and humans, drop to such bestial behavior, even animals wouldn't engage in it. Case in point:

A farm that has been breeding guinea pigs for medical research for more than 30 years is to stop after intimidation by animal rights activists. The family-run Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, has been hit by a six-year campaign of abuse. The owners and people connected with the firm have received death threats. The family said they hoped the decision would prompt the return of the body of their relative Gladys Hammond, whose remains were stolen from a churchyard. The remains were taken from her grave in nearby Yoxall in October. Mrs Hammond, who was buried in St Peter's churchyard seven years ago, was the mother-in-law of Christopher Hall, part-owner of the farm. In a statement, a close relative of Mrs Hammond, who declined to be named, said there was now no reason why her body could not be returned. "Gladys was a relative of the Halls by marriage only and had no involvement in guinea pig breeding. "She was a kind, gentle country lady who loved animals. She was also friendly, generous and loving and always put her family first." [Me: Please note that this friend doesn't think it was wrong to steal the lady's body per se; it was just wrong because she was merely a relative by marriage.]
Stealing bodies was not the extent of the animal terrorist's activities:
The Hall family have been subjected to hate mail, malicious phone calls, hoax bombs and arson attacks.
And that's in addition to people who have enough time on their hands (England is, after all, a nation on the dole) to picket that poor family full time. The terror also extended to those who had the temerity to do business with the Hall family:
Rod Harvey supplied fuel to the farm and endured four years of abuse from activists before he was forced to cease trading with the Halls. The 63-year-old businessman said he received threatening letters, including one accusing him of being a paedophile which was then sent to a number of people he knew. "In December 2003 a brick came through the window of my front door, hitting my foot and cutting my hand," he said. "In view of what they (the Hall family) and their staff have had to put up with I'm not surprised that they have stopped breeding guinea pigs. "I just feel so angry that these animal rights activists have won."
While the animal right's terrorist's battle may have been won, these people have made it clear that their war against this poor family is not over:
Campaigners who have legitimately picketed the farm over recent years said they would continue their protest until the guinea pig breeding operation officially closed at the end of the year. *** In a statement, the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI ) expressed its best wishes to the family and said their decision was "regrettable but understandable". Director of the ABPI Philip Wright said guinea pigs had been essential in research into respiratory disease resulting in breakthroughs in the development of new medicines. "The activities of a few animal rights extremists have placed impossible pressure on those going about their legitimate business," he said. "While animal rights extremists are likely to be only one factor in the final decision, it does underline the need for greater protection of those individuals and companies targeted."
By the way, as a proud owner of a guinea pig, I can tell you a few things about them. They're cute, they recognize the person who is primarily responsible for food, they have short life spans, and they are manifestly incapable of higher thought and existential anxiety (aside from a highly developed, reactive, survival instinct).