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.