Don't Pet the Animal Rights Movement

After the world learned that it was not an immigrant or a Muslim but an animal rights activist that murdered Netherlands political candidate Pim Fortuyn, there was something of a sigh of relief that the assassination would not further perturb relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe. The Daily Telegraph’s Alice Thomson thinks that sort of reaction is way off the mark. Thomson writes,

Thank God he’s not a Muslim, said the commentators, but they’re wrong to be relieved. Animal rights activist may not be Al-Qa’eda, but they include terrorists, too. At worst, the fundamentalists have warped the concept of the humane care of animals into a form of human hating. As [alleged assassin Volkert] van der Graaf’s neighbour said: “He didn’t care about humans at all.”

In Britain, after the IRA and its splinter groups, fundamentalist animal rights activists have committed the worst atrocities on the mainland: the letter-bomb that injured a pest controller’s child, firebombs for doctors, hounding staff at Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Carla Lane, the television playwright who founded Protesters’ Animal Information Network, recently wrote to Tony Blair to warn of an increase by extreme animal rights activists because they were becoming disillusion with trying to achieve change democratically.

And yet, as Thomson points out, Blair’s government continues to play a game of cat and mouse with the animal rights movement, alternately saying that it will crack down on the extremism only to then turn around and try to deliver legislation to achieve the movement’s goals. This month, for example, the Labor government floated an absurd Bill of Rights for pets.

Thomson warns that this is a dangerous game to play. “Mr. Blair may think the animal rights groups are cute and containable,” she writes, “but they’ve got savage teeth and shouldn’t be petted.”


Blair could be bitten by the hands that feed him. Alice Thomson, The Daily Telegraph (London), May 10, 2002.

Animal Rights Activists Predict More Violent Actions in the Wake of Barry Horne's Death

Reaction to Barry Horne’s death from animal rights activists was swift and predictable — Horne was a hero and his death will likely inspire more violent actions against people in animal industries.

Ronnie Lee, founder of the Animal Liberation Front, said, “I think there are some people who would regard him as a martyr. Everyone in the animal rights movement feels a combination of sadness and anger over his death. That includes people whose thing is to carry out personal actions on animal rights abusers.”

Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, said he did not condone arson but called Horne a “thoroughly dedicated anti-vivisectionist.”

Robin Webb, current ALF spokesman, said, “Barry has given his life. It will harden people’s resolve. … I can’t predict what will happen but people are becoming angry and I belive this will make them angrier. Some people are becoming more radical still.”

Scriptwriter and animal rights activist Carla Lane said, “I don’t believe in violence, arson, or anything like that, but I believe in why Barry did what he did. I hope he will make others think more deeply about it, because if someone is prepared to give their life they must have seen something that was deeply, deeply upsetting to them.”

And Kevin Jonas of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, weighed in to predict that violent actions would escalate. “He was a household name for animal rights activists around the world,” Jonas said. “I can only predict that his death is going to spark a reaction.”

Companies and police in Great Britain are reportedly already preparing for an increase in animal rights related terrorism following Horne’s death. During his last hunger strike, the Animal Rights Militia issued a list of 10 people it claimed it would kill if Horne died. Given the outpouring of love for such a violent individual, don’t expect the activists to pull their punches.


Police alert after animal rights bomber dies on hunger strike. Richard Ford, The Times (London), November 6, 2001.

Animal rights activist dies after hunger strike. Ian Burrell, The Independent (London), November 6, 2001.

Interview. The Guardian (London), November 6, 2001.

Animal activists mourn their martyr dies in hunger strike: Firebomber dies after fourth hunger strike bid to change vivisection policy. Sarah Hall, The Guardian (London), November 6, 2001.

Companies on alert after death of activist: Animal rights group wars of violence. Jimmy Burns and David Firn, The Financial Times (London), November 6, 2001.

Firebomber dies on hunger strike. Philip Johnston, The Daily Telegraph (London), November 6, 2001.