A 16-year-old Ohio boy who skinned and cooked a guinea pig and a rabbit he bought at a pet store will not be charged with a crime after police in Thompson Township and the Geauga Humane Society decided he had not violated any laws.
The boy cooked the guinea pig and rabbit as a demonstration for his living skills class at Ledgemont High School.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, prosecutors declined to file charges after determining that it would be hard to sustain a claim that killing the animal was “unnecessary” as the boy and several classmates ate the cooked animal, and they could find no evidence that the animal had suffered unnecessarily wen the boy killed it.
Sharon Harvey, executive director of the Geauga Humane Society, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer,
From a standpoint of being able to prosecute, we could not find evidence to pursue a cruelty charge. Do we disapprove of what happened? Absolutely. But, sadly, what happened is not illegal.
Unless the school cafeteria at Ledgemore is vegan — and I’m guessing Ledgemore has not been above offering students hamburgers and hot dogs — I’m not sure why this case prompted such outrage.
Do people think that products like hamburgers,
hot dogs and chicken nuggets all come in the middle of the night from the meat fairy?
Cooking demo wasn’t a crime. John Horton, Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 28, 2005.
Andrew Davies, 22, was sentenced in October to serve a month in jail after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a protest earlier this year at Darley Oaks Farm which breeds guinea pigs for animal research.
Davies was charged with intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress. Following a national day of protest against the Darley Oaks Farm, Davies went to the home of Darley Oaks Farm employee Simon Turner and shouted at Turner. Videotape played in court showed Turner yelling,
How does it feel, Simon, to be a prisoner in your own home? To have all your neighbors know you abuse animals for a living? You are a disgrace to the human race. People like you should be locked up, strapped down and experimented on.
Davies’ attorney, John Skinner, provided some interesting details about the commitment level of animal rights activists in the UK. Skinner told the court,
My client became involved in animal rights after having worked at a turkey farm at an early age, and being disgusted at the treatment of the animals involved. Effectively, since that age, animal rights has been his entire life and he has committed himself to that. Having committed himself to animal rights, he has attended at least one protest every two weeks and he has protested at Darley Oaks between 50 and 100 times alone.
Skinner told the court that Davies has never held a job for more than six months and apparently hops from job to job at bars to support himself while crusading against animal research..
Davies received a one-month sentence, with half of that served in jail and the other half on the UK equivalent of probation. He also was given an indefinite antiÂ–social behavior order which prohibits him from having contact with any employed by the partners of the Darley Oaks Farm.
Turner told the Burton Mail that he was pleased with the outcome,
IÂ’m pleased with the outcome. ItÂ’s about time they started dishing the jail sentences out.
Urgent ELP! Bulletin. Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network, October 5, 2004.
Here’s the full text of a notice that Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs posted on its website in February in its continued harassment of David Hall and company.
SNGP New Target – Calor Gas
Calor Gas supply the Halls with gas for use in their central heating systems. With winter well underway it is time to freeze the killers out and ensure Calor Gas sever all ties with this animal killing family.
We need to remind the Halls (as if they could have forgotten!) that anyone who has anything to do with them will have to face the anger of the animal rights movement and we need to show Calor Gas that those who deal with the business or personal life of animal killers such as the Halls will not be allowed to do so any longer.
Contact Calor Gas TODAY and let them know what you think of them dealing with a family that sends animals to torture and death in laboratories and breaks the necks of guinea pigs with their own bare hands!
Email them, phone them, fax them, write to them, and organize demonstrations against them — whatever you do do it loud and proud safe in the knowledge that you are hammering another nail into the coffin of the vile vivisection business of the Hall family.
MP Michael Fabricant spoke in the House of Commons in early February to denounce extremists animal rights activists who have been harassing the owners of David Hall & Partners, which breeds guinea pigs for medical research.
Although not as well known as the harassment against Huntingdon Life Sciences, groups such as Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs and individual activists have emulated the strategy of groups and individuals trying to bring down HLS.
Fabricant described such tactics in his speech,
One of my constituents runs a guinea pig farm for medical research which is controlled by the Home Office to protect the animals and to ensure the guinea pigs are bred and kept humanely.
He has written to me saying: ‘Before New Year’s Eve, the activists smashed all the downstairs windows of my 86-year-old father’s home whilst he was in the house, and then threw red paint bombs through the smashed windows. He was petrified. Between Christmas and New Year they were also at my niece’s house . . . and they turned off all her water and then concreted the stop cock so she could not get it back on.’
The fascinating thing — and what is exactly the problem in the UK — was the response from Cabinet Minster Hain who is the Leader of the Commons,
Many of us have a lot of sympathy with animal rights movements and support them. We want proper protection for animals and an end to cruelty, but to take things to such an extent and to terrorize scientists, doctors and others involved is wholly unacceptable.
So the irrational nonsense spouted by the animal rights movement is a good thing, it’s just some of the tactics they use that are a problem for Hain. Gee, I can’t imagine why the animal rights movement is so emboldened in the UK.
MP’s fury at animal rights attack. Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Post, February 3, 2004.
With all of the attention on Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty’s campaign of harassment against Huntingdon Life Sciences receives, sometimes the nastiness carried out by Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs against the owners of the Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm.
David Hall and family own the farm and raise guinea pigs that are used in medical research. Like HLS, activist opposed to the Halls target associates with threats and harassment in order to attempt to isolate the Halls. As with HLS, this tactic has proven quite effective.
As has been discussed on this site, SHAC often reaches for tangential targets such as companies that provide janitorial services for HLS, but SNGP carries this even further by targeting small-scale shops that the Halls might patronize.
For example, here’s a typical success trumpeted by the SNGP site: the SNGP asked activist to mail, e-mail and telephone The Red Lion — a pub frequented by members of the family. And sure enough, on February 26 the SNGP site published the following letter from the corporate owner of The Red Lion,
Dear Mr. Hall,
In the last ten days we have become a target of increased disturbance and threats (relating) to your use of the Red Lion, Newborough, a pub owned by our Company and operated by a tenant.
Whilst we are not in any way condoning the actions, as a responsible business we must take into consideration the safety and well being of our own staff, customers and the staff of our suppliers. To this end we feel we must ask you and your family to cease using The Red Lion, Newborough, with immediate effect. Whilst this situation is regrettable for all concerned we believe this is the most practical solution. We are sure you would not like any of our staff or customers or indeed yourselves to come to any harm as a result of your continued patronage of the Red Lion.
We are sure you will appreciate and respect our position.
For and on behalf of The Union Pub Company a trading division of
The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, PLC R
And still the British government seems unable or unwilling to crack down on such blatant acts of harassment.
A British group called Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs sent out a release in August announcing plans for a September 6 demonstration to commemorate the 1999 theft from a research facility of 600 guinea pigs by the Animal Liberation Front.
According to the press release (emphasis added),
On September the 6th we will be gathering to remember the 600 guinea pigs rescued by the ALF from those gruesome sheds; we will be remembering the 2,500 guinea pigs that Chris Hall killed with his bare hands after that victorious raid; we will be remembering Dave Blenkinsop and all those in prison for making a difference to the lives of subjugated animals and we will be remembering all the human and non human victims of the accursed vivisection industry.
Blenkinsop, of course, is the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty extremist currently serving more than 10 years in jail for, among other things, assaulting Huntingdon Life Science’s managing director Brian Cass with a pickaxe handle.
According to the Birmingham Post, more than 150 people showed up for this protest. Despite openly celebrating Blenkinsop, a Save the Newchurch Guinea Pig representative who would only give his first name, John, whined that animal rights activists were unfairly portrayed as terrorists,
The word terrorist is bandied around too often. Demonstration and peaceful protest is part of everyday life and we are stigmatized for it. We are being branded for being compassionate. We give our lives to this campaign and some people will go to prison.
In “John’s” world, three people assaulting a man with pickaxe handles is a compassionate act for which activists are unfairly stigmatized.
It’s fitting then, that the other speaker of the event was ALF spokesman Robin Webb. Webb said,
At the very outset of this campaign we liberated 600 guinea pigs, some would say burgled, and placed them in permanent homes.
The ALF activities have also pursued acts of economic sabotage, damaged vehicles associated with the breeding of guinea pigs for vivisection.
I can’t predict what ALF activists will do, I have no prior knowledge of unlawful activities but their actions will continue so long as Darley Oaks Farm continues to breed guinea pigs for vivisection.
Of course, Webb too thinks assaulting people with wooden weapons is also perfectly appropriate. After the attack on Cass, Webb said,
This serves Brian Cass right and is totally justifiable. In fact he has got off lightly. I have no sympathy for him. I do not condemn this act. I condemn what Brian Cass does to animals. In fact, I would say I condone this. What surprises me is that this doesn’t happen more often.
Gee, it’s hard to imagine where the press gets the idea that animal rights activists are terrorists who condone violence.
Perspective: Sinister Face Of Guinea Pig Farm Protest Movement. Sarah Probert, Birmingham Post, September 8, 2003.