Great Britain Approves Horse Cloning Plan

After denying proposals to clone horses in 2004 (see this article for more background), Great Britain approved a plan by Professor Twink Allen of Cambridge University to clone horses.

Allen wants to clone horses, in part, to better understand and improve the genetic selection process in creating racing horses. The government had previously denied his requests on the grounds that the benefits outweighed the possible harm done to the cloned animals. Allen, in turn, accuse the government of caving to animal rights activists.

The government approved his latest request, but the approval stipulates that Allen cannot clone champion race horses.

Allen had mixed feelings about the government finally approving his research, telling Cambridge News,

I’m very pleased, but disappointed they haven’t gone the whole hog and allowed us sensibly to clone for commercial reasons, where there is a real need for it.

Allen will carry out tests in which he hopes to mitigate the problem associated with cloning other animals. He told Cambridge News,

If by doing these we can show that we don’t turn out a bunch of abnormal, suffering animals, my opponents might be able to have their minds changed.

If by opponents he’s talking about animal rights activists, Allen should save his breath. As Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid told Cambridge News, activists consider any such cloning to be an abomination,

This [research] is grotesque and the start of a slippery slope. Prof. Allen has already conducted experiments that turn the stomach. The Home Office originally rejected this application and for good reason.


Scientist gets go-ahead for horse cloning ban. Cambridge news, March 31, 2005.

Animal Aid Hands Out "Mad Scientist" Awards

Five Animal Aid activists dressed up as “mad scientists” and a giant caged monkey and handed out their annual “Mad Science Awards” to staff at Cambridge University’s Department of Experimental Psychology.

The activists didn’t actually get to see any of the researchers they were targeting, but rather handed certificates to security guards.

Animal Aid activist, Andre Menache told Cambridge News,

It went very well. We achieved our aim and handed the certificates to the security people to give to 16 researchers who have performed really grotesque scientific research.

Two of them got the main awards for mutilating the brains of monkeys. They say this research is to improve treatment of people with strokes but not one of the treatments has had any bearing on people.

The research that Menache is referring to is aimed at better understanding human diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.


Protesters target monkey lab group. Cambridge News, November 18, 2004.

Great Britain Announces Center to Explore Alternatives to Animals in Medical Research

In May, Lord Sainsbury announced that the British government would support the creation of a new national center designed to cut the number of animals used in medical research by pushing for ways to further implement the widely accepted view of replacing, refining and reducing such tests. Not surprisingly, the same animal rights groups complaining about the increase in animals used for medical research quickly attacked the plan as “a joke” and “a sham.”

The government’s plans are the result of a House of Lords report that urged the creation of just such a center for exploring non-animal research methods. An unnamed National Anti-Vivisection Society spokesperson complained to the Daily Telegraph that,

Now the government has hijacked the proposal, but made it a center which will explore both animal and non-animal research.

But Lord Smith of Clifton, who chaired the committee that produced the report, praised the government’s plans to create the new national center,

The government has accepted my committee’s recommendations to set up a center. i think the higher profile that the government is giving this question should reassure people that animals aren’t used willy nilly.

Which, of course, will never satisfy the animal rights activists who are against animal testing regardless of whether a given test is necessary or effective. As Geoffrey Thomas of the Dr. Hadwen Trust told The BBC,

I think it is very important that the emphasis is on replacement — and the three R’s is simply diverting attention and resources from that specific topic.

The National Anti-Vivisection Society’s Jan Creamer went even further, telling the Press Association that the center was “a joke.”

What the Government has announced today is a joke. This center is going to be governed by people who are committed to animal research. The Government had an opportunity to invest in cutting edge technologies and research. Instead they have gone for the same old people and the same old tired ideas.

Animal Aid’s Andrew Tyler dismissed the three R’s approach, telling the Press Association,

The only R that has any merit is replacement — given that experimenting on other species produces results that cannot be reliably applied to people.

Lord Sainsbury told the Press Association that while replacement is the ultimate goal, for the forseeable future animal research will be essential in animal research and both reduction and refinement are thus important goals. Sainsbury said only animal groups who accept the three R’s approach will be welcome on the new Center’s board,

It is not about having a debate between people from widely different positions. The extreme actions taken by some animal rights groups is a quite separate issue and we have made it clear as a Government that we do not tolerate that kind of behavior.


Minister backs center to cut tests on animals. David Derbyshire, Daily Telegraph (London), May 22, 2004.

Animal rights groups attack new research centre. Neville Dean, Press Association News, May 21, 2004.

Shake up of animal tests expected. The BBC, May 20, 2004.

Animal Aid and Others Call for Boycott of Botox

Animal rights groups in the UK recently discovered that every batch of Botox — the anti-wrinkle treatment that uses the botulinum toxin — is tested on mice to ensure its safety. UK animal rights group Animal Aid is calling for a boycott of Botox until the manufacturer switches to non-animal testing.

According to Animal Aid,

Thousands of mice are being poisoned to death to test the latest cosmetic craze: ‘Botox’. In barbaric experiments known as LD50 toxicity tests – supposedly outlawed by the government in 1999 – the animals are injected with the toxin and suffer symptoms including impaired vision, paralysis of the body, and paralysis of the diaphragm, which leads to death by suffocation.

Botulinum toxin, of course, is fatal to human beings so ensuring that human beings are only injected with enough to paralyze muscles rather than cause more serious problems is essential for ensuring the treatment’s safety.

Companies that manufacture botox assure this safety by using an LD50 test. Since botox batches will vary in potency, an LD50 test is used to determine what the correct dosage level for each batch is. In fact, botox is packaged in vials of 100 mouse units, with each mouse unit being the dosage need to kill 50 percent of mice when injected in animals.

Animal Aid believes such testing should be illegal under Great Britain’s ban on animal testing for cosmetics. But botox has a number of clinical uses as well, and what Great Britain has done is given manufacturer Dysport a blanket clearance to do animal testing of botox — since the use of botox for cosmetics purposes is still off-label in the UK, it hasn’t been forced to consider the conflict created with its cosmetics testing ban.


Outcry over mice that die for every batch of Botox. Sean Poulter, Daily Mail (London), January 27, 2004.

Botox and Animal Experiments. Animal Aid, January 2004.

F— The Animals?

Fashion designer Julien Macdonald has a lot of experience with facing animal rights protests over his use of fur, and he certainly didn’t do anything to lessen enmity from activists with this statement as part of an interview with British newspaper The Observer,

I think there is so much else going on in the world. Focus your attention on something that’s important. Like finding a cure for cancer. Finding a cure for Aids. I say fuck the animals. There’s somebody dying in a bed because there’s no cure for that disease. At the end of the day everybody eats meat. It really doesn’t matter. I think what was a taboo has now become the norm. It was a taboo to wear diamonds. Now everybody wears diamonds. It’s a trend, a fashion. What do you think your cat or dog eats? Where do you think that meat comes from? Where do you think Pedigree Chum comes from? It’s not picked off a tree.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Sean Gifford told Wales on Sunday,

Most people shun fur. The catwalk doesn’t dictate what people wear, it has become a desperate battlefield of designers trying to be outrageous. Dinosaur designers like Macdonald have this way of seeing a beautiful animal and saying, ‘Oh, look at the beautiful mink — let’s break her neck and steal her skin.’ If Macdonald wants to be a true visionary he would find a way to recreate the beauty of a mink without causing suffering.

A spokesman for Animal Aid added that,

His [Macdonald’s] shallow existence doesn’t leave him much time to combat the evils of the world. Yet he whines and whines about anti-fur protesters who apparently should be finding a cure for cancer instead!


Grand master flash. The Observer, September 7, 2003.

Fur flying over Mac. Kate Jackson, Wales on Sunday, September 14, 2003.

Controversy in the UK Over Plans to Wipe Out the Ruddy Duck

A debate raged this summer in the United Kingdom over the government’s plan to completely eradicate the UK population of the ruddy duck.

The ruddy duck is an American species of duck that was imported into Europe during the 1940s and established itself in the wild in the early 1950s after an accidental release. Currently there are an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 of the animals in Great Britain, most of them in Scotland.

The ruddy duck’s problem is that it is too successful in breeding with closely related species, most importantly the white headed duck which is endangered. Spanish authorities, for example, blame ruddy ducks that fly from the UK to Spain for causing the collapse of the white headed duck population there.

The British government has conducted a number of trials over the past few years, paying up to 1,000 pounds per ruddy duck killed. In total, 2,651 ruddy ducks were killed in the trial programs.

Criticism has come on two fronts. First, there are those who point out that at 1,000 pounds per duck the government could ship the ducks back to the United States via first class air travel.

Second, of course, are the animal rights activists. Animal Aid’s Andrew Tyler likened the concern over preserving the white headed duck to racism. He told The Herald (UK),

Obsessively targeting one species of duck whose only crime has been to mate with another amounts to speciesism.

He also told the Times (London),

. . . the whole thing is stomach-churning. This is the first attempt at an avian extermination programme.

Talk about genetic impurity is racist. This is simply what happens in nature; it’s a natural survival mechanism. The scheme is hugely unpopular and when wildlife preservation groups and landowners refuse to co-operate you are going to see government killing gangs forcing themselves on to land.

Animal Aid organized protests on August 13th and 14th against the planned cull. In a press release announcing the protests, Animal Aid Campaigns Officer Becky Lilly calls the plan to kill the ducks “ethnic cleansing”,

It is disgraceful that the government is committed to this morally repugnant and scientifically illogical slaughter programme. It is particularly disturbing that top-table conservation groups such as the RSPB and the WWT are the main movers for this scheme. They should be focussing their efforts on saving animals and their habitat rather than promoting ethnic cleansing projects. Since so much of the slaughter has already taken place in Scotland, we want the Scottish public to know what is being done in their name and with their taxes. We are confident of continued widespread support.

It’s no wonder that the front page of Animal Aid’s web site argues that, “When it comes to illuminating the core issues relating to animal cruelty, sometimes imaginative prose can reach the places straightforward factual argument cannot.” I.e., when you don’t have any straightforward factual arguments, ditch that in favor of this sort of nonsense.


Stop killing the ruddy ducks, say wildlife campaigners. Cameron Simpson, The Herald (UK), August 14, 2003.

R.I.P. Ruddy duck. The BBC, March 3, 2003.

Protesters in duck demo. Evening Times (Glasgow), August 14, 2003.

Ruddy Protests Come To Scotland. Press Release, Animal Aid, August 13, 2003.