Hypocrite Against Animal Research

Over the weekend, the Times of London ran an interesting profile of an animal rights activist who has actively campaigned against Huntingdon Life Sciences and other animal research firms in the UK, but who now is using treatments tested on animals to treat her breast cancer.

According to the Times, Janet Tomlinson, 61, has been an active campaigner in a number of animal rights protests in the UK, from the successful campaign against Hilgrove, to the current campaigns against the Newchurch guinea pig farm and Huntingdon Life Sciences. But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Tomlinson had no problem running to doctors to receive the sort of treatments that would never have been developed had she had her way.

Tomlinson uses a number of justifications for her behavior. The classic, of course, is the Mary Beth Sweetland defense — Tomlinson’s taking the drugs for the animals,

I can do more good for animals staying alive than dying.

Well, of course — she and her fellow animal rights activists are special. Why shouldn’t they partake of the fruits of the animal research industry? Hell, who could blame Tomlinson if she wanted to enjoy a nice steak or wear leather, either. After all, she’s doing it for the animals.

Her second line of reasoning is that it’s really all the drug companies fault. In fact — pay close attention here — the drug companies are guilty of criminal behavior for providing her with a treatment that might extend her life,

If this testing on animals is as beneficial as the doctors say, then it would stop cancer. But it hasn’t — and that has to be criminal. It helps some, and chemo might help me and kill the infected cells, but it might not. I should not have to live with that fear when scientists have had so much money and tested enough animals and yet they can’t tell me the treatment will work.

Thanks to medical advances in detection and treatment, the 20-year breast cancer survival rate is as high as 65 percent in some countries. In the United States, deaths from breast cancer fell from almost 34 per 100,000 in the late 1980s to less than 27 per 100,000 in 1999. Ah, those wiley criminal scientists.

And, of course, Tomlinson hedges her bets. In case she does live another 20 years or more, it won’t be due to the animal-tested drugs she’s taking,

If I’m saved, it will be in spite of the drugs being tested on animals. All my friends are telling me I’m the guinea pig because whether you recover or not, it is a fluke of nature, a lottery.

Just because the drugs are tested on animals it does not mean that we are going to survive. I am only taking the course of action I am because there is no alternative. I really don’t see how putting an electrode in a monkey’s head or stripping fur on a guinea pig and sticking toxic liquid on it has helped me or is going to help me. It’s disgusting that I don’t have a choice.

But, of course, she has an obvious choice — don’t accept the treatment. If animal research is complete hooey and Tomlinson can’t see how experimenting on animals might help her or other breast cancer patients, then don’t reward drug companies by buying their wares. Just say not to animal-tested drugs.

Instead Tomlinson would prefer the hypocrisy of accepting the only treatments proven to increase the odds of survival in women afflicted with breast cancer, while simultaneously raging against the individuals, companies and governments for encouraging the sort of research that led to these treatments in the first place.


The animal lab critic, cancer and hypocrisy. Valerie Elliott, The Times (London), August 28, 2004.

Police Win In Battle Over Arrest, But Only at Extremely High Cost

A case decided in early July demonstrates the high price that is attached to keeping animal rights extremism in line.

Police in 1998 arrested 10-year-old Daniel Taylor at a protest against Hillgrove Farm. Taylor attended the protest with his mother and two aunts and was videotaped throwing a rock at the farmhouse. Taylor was held for almost seven hours and then released to his parents with just a warning.

Taylor then turned around and sued the police for unlawful arrest, assault and false imprisonment. A jury awarded him 1,500 pounds.

Police appealed that decision and on July 6 an Appeals Court ruled that police had held Taylor an hour longer than they should have, but otherwise found the arrest and detention appropriate. It reduced Taylor’s award to only 200 pounds.

But the other side of the coin is that the total police incurred about 100,000 pounds in legal fees — a few more victories like that, and the police might be in real trouble.

Still, Barbara Moore of the Thames Valley Police’s legal services department said that the department felt it had an important principle to defend,

We’re delighted that the Court of Appeals has found that the manner of arrest used by Thames Valley Police in this case was correct and lawful. The principle here is very important not only to Thames Valley, but to the police service as a whole, as it clarifies the correct procedure for arresting a minor.

. . .

If the original court decision had not been overturned by the Court of Appeals, the police service could potentially have faced many costly claims for damages.


Protest: Police ‘win’ a costly legal battle. David Horne, This is Oxfordshire, July 7, 2004.

Huntingdon in the Crosshairs

Scripps Howard News Service recently ran a brief, but thorough, story outlining the ongoing animal rights campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Writer Lance Gay notes that HLS is fighting back both legally and with public relations efforts.

“We can’t afford to be silent,” said Michael Caulfield, vice president for operations. “We can’t let the intimidation win.”

Still, Gay writes,

Caulfield admits it is tough to persuade the public that drug tests on beagles and monkeys are needed, but those animals are sued because they are easy to handle and there’s a long history on how they react to drugs that provides a guide on how new drugs are going to affect human cardiovascular systems.

Meanwhile activists see their efforts to shut down HLS as merely the first salvo in efforts to end all animal testing.

Barbara Stagno, Northeast director of In Defense of Animals, says the ultimate goal of the campaign is to stop researchers from using animals for either drug or cosmetic testing.

And, of course, the activists are more than willing to use violence, with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty spokesman Kevin Jonas saying, “Windows will be broke, and cars will be flipped, an animals will be taken. HLS will close down. That’s a promise I will make to you.”


A dogfight over animal testing. Lance Gay, Scripps Howard News Service, July 2001.

The Barry Horne Fiasco

Animal rights activist and
convicted arsonist Barry Horne recently ended his much-publicized hunger
strike after 68 days. Horne, currently serving an 18-year prison term
in the United Kingdom for a series of arson attacks, began his hunger
strike after Britain’s Labour government failed to deliver on a campaign
pledge to create a special commission to examine animal experimentation.
The prolonged hunger strike, however, raised more questions about Horne
and his supporters than about animal experimentation.

At first, Horne’s
hunger strike seemed to energize at least some parts of the animal rights
community on both sides of the Atlantic. Activists in the United States
and Great Britain staged numerous demonstrations and activities in support
of Horne, and some groups began linking their generic protests against
fur or animal experimentation with Horne’s hunger strike. But in
December the whole affair turned into a public relations disaster as the
animal rights terrorists got involved and Horne and his supporters made
a series of blunders.

Everything started to unravel
thanks to UK Animal Liberation Front spokesman Robin Webb. Webb, who made
numerous television appearances during the hunger strike, gave the media
a list he claimed came from the radical Animal Rights Militia. On the
list were the names of four people the ARM claimed would be assassinated
should Horne die.

The list included Christopher
Brown of Hillgrove Farm, who provides animal uses in medical experiments;
Colin Blakemore of Oxford University; Clive Page of King’s College;
and Mark Matfield of the Research Defence Society. Death threats are no
strangers to Brown and Blakemore who have been targeted by UK activists
in an unrelenting campaign of harassment and terror; Blakemore’s
children once received mail bombs intended for him.

Webb tried to distance himself
from the ARM hit list, saying, “we do not condone this,” but
he couldn’t bring himself to condemn the threat of violence either,
and perhaps for good reason. A British television documentary on animal
rights violence included allegations that Webb actively encouraged such
violence. Former ALF member David Hammond claimed, for example, that Webb
was the main force behind the violent animal rights group, the |Justice
Department|. Hammond also claimed that Webb once offered him a sawed-off
shotgun and asked whether he knew Blakemore. Suddenly, Webb was off consulting
with lawyers rather than distributing hit lists.

And then something really strange
happened – amidst all of the talk over who would be killed if he
should died, Horne ended his hunger strike without obtaining any of the
concessions he demanded. This was odd because only several days before
the British newspaper The Observer ran a story quoting Horne
saying, “I want to die. This is the end. In death you win. …
It is not a question of dying. It’s a question of fighting. If I
die, so be it. We have tried to negotiate with the Government. They have
condemned me to death.”

The same story quoted his next-of-kin,
Alison Lawson, saying “It is only a matter of time now [before Horne

Following publication of that
story, however, Horne and the Animals Betrayed Coalition, which has been
the main animal rights group publicizing Horne’s plight, denounced
The Observer’s story and emphatically said that Horne,
in fact, wanted to live. What was going on here?

According to a story published in The Observer a few days after Horne ended his hunger strike, Horne had
planned a long fast but wanted to end his strike well before death, much
as he had done in two previous hunger strikes. Seeing newspaper stories
with quotes from activists such as Tony Humphries suggesting “he
is a dead man” forced Horne’s hand, The Observer argues, and led him to issue the press release insisting he wanted to
live. Some animal rights activists might have wanted a martyr, but Horne
wasn’t willing to play the part.

Ultimately, Horne ended his
hunger strike not only without getting the concessions from the Labour
government he sought, but if anything his actions delayed the creation
of a committee to look at animal experimentation, since the Labour government
doesn’t want to be seen as giving in to blackmail and threats of
political terrorism. The Animals Betrayed Coalition did try to put a positive
spin on the story by claiming Horne decided to end his hunger strike after
examining papers sent to him by the Labour government, but those were
apparently papers Horne had in his possession for some time and which,
in any case, did not grant the assurances Horne sought.

There are many lessons from
the Horne fiasco, the most obvious of which is the extent to which animal
rights activists of all stripes are willing to support terrorists and
terrorist activities, starting with Horne himself. Although Horne wasn’t
willing to die for the cause, he was willing to endanger the lives of
others during the arson campaign for which he is now serving an 18-year
sentence. Horne planted incendiary devices, hidden in a packet of cigarettes,
in stores of which he disapproved. Horne’s activities were particularly
dangerous, however, because he planted his bombs in the products sold
at the stores.

One of his devices, for example,
was hidden in a leather bag which a woman subsequently bought. The device
wasn’t discovered until four months later, after the woman had allowed
her children to play with the bag. Horne’s activities represent an
extraordinarily callous disregard for human life, and he deserves every
single day of his jail term. As Ian Glen, who prosecuted Horne, told the
jury that convicted him, “the risks and dangers to human life were
blindingly obvious and the risks were either run or ignored for the sake
of political beliefs.”

That animal rights activists
would rally around such an individual speaks volumes about the moral compass
of the movement. Animal rights activists like to compare their cause to
the U.S. civil rights movement, but Martin Luther King Jr. and others
didn’t sneak around planting bombs in handbags – in fact the
civil rights movement activists were victims of the sort of violence the
animal rights movement perpetuates.

Medical researcher Colin
Blakemore, one of the targets of the ARM hit list, wrote an op-ed piece
noting something peculiar about those singled out for violence:

[When he was first targeted by activists] I was convinced that openness
offered the only route to understanding. But that very stance angers
the terrorists. It is surely significant that three of the four people
who were actually named for assassination by the Animal Rights Militia,
myself included, have participated in broadcast debates on the use of
animals in the past few weeks. The message is clear: defend yourself,
try to respond to criticism, and you may be killed. The perpetrators
of such tactics are not interested in dialogue: they are a lynch mob
that will not even give their victims the right to defend themselves.

The other important lesson
is that negotiating with terrorists only encourages more terrorism. As
Blakemore points out in his article, Horne and other animal rights activists
have been encouraged by a Labour government that actively courted them
during the most recent election cycle. According to Blakemore, Labour
accepted over 1 million pounds in donations from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and in exchange led animal rights activists to believe
it would convene a commission to look at modifying Great Britain’s
1986 Animals Act which regulates animal experimentation.

The Labour government did
follow throw by banning Cosmetics Testing, which was a rather minor
victory given how few such tests were actually being carried out in the
UK (most such tests are performed in the United States, Japan or France).
The British government should follow Blakemore’s advice and condemn
all animal rights violence and extremism.


I will talk to those who threaten to murder me. Colin Blakemore, Sunday Telegraph (UK), December 1998.

Horne: I’m dying to save ‘tortured’ animals. Yahoo! News, December 6, 1998.

‘I want to die. It’s the end.’ The Observer (UK), December 6, 1998.

Animal activist attacked shops with fire-bombs. Will Bennett, Electronic Telegraph, November 4, 1997.

‘Ruthless’ animal rights bomber convicted. Will Bennett, Electronic Telegraph, November 13, 1997.

Horne ends hunger strike. A.J. McIlroy, December 13, 1998.

Revealed: how Barry Horne refused to become a martyr for the cause. The Observer, December 20, 1998.

Animal rights protester ends hunger strike. ITV News, December 14, 1998.

Militant protests target Britain. Animal Liberation Front Press Office, Press Release, November 24, 1998.

Police fear backlash if animal activist dies. John Steele, November 26, 1998.

Supporters rally for hunger striker. The BBC, November 29, 1998.

Hunger striker back in jail. The BBC, December 11, 1998.

Ordinary guy heading for martyrdom. The Telegraph, December 7, 1998.

Day 53 of Hunger Strike. Animals Betrayed Coalition, Press Release, November 29, 1998.

Animal liberation prisoner close to death. North American Animal Liberation Front Press Release, November 22, 1998.

Prisoner in hunger protest ‘near death.’ The Independent (UK), November 22, 1998.

Animal liberation prisone hunger striker given last rites: Barry Horne to go into intensive care. Animals Betrayed Coalition, Press Release, November 23, 1998.

Animal liberation prisoner close to death. North American Liberation Front Press Office, Press Release, November 22, 1998.

ARM lists potential targets. Animal Liberation Front Press Office, Press Release, December 3, 1998.

Animal rights ‘hit list.’ The Guardian (UK), December 3, 1998.

Dolly Scientists on Security Alert. The Scottsman, December 3, 1998.

We’ll kill 10 if this man dies. The Mirror, December 3, 1998.

Scientists on alert after death threats. The BBC, December 4, 1998.

Stephen Hawking condemns animal rights movement

British physicist Stephen Hawking
recently denounced animal rights extremists bent on banning the use of
animals in medical experimentation. Hawking author of the best selling
A Brief History of Time, attacked the animal rights movement in
comments before a meeting of the British Association of Science.

Andrew Blake, director of the UK-based
group Seriously Ill for Medical Research, also appeared before the gathering
of scientists to denounce animal rights extremists, saying, “Medical
progress is being threatened by the extreme tactics of those who are seeking
to abolish animal research.”

Both men’s comments were occasioned
by the recent controversy over protests by UK activists against an animal
breeding farm in Oxfordshire. The establishment, |Hill Grove| farm, breeds
cats specifically to be used for animal experiments. The cats are certified
to be free of common feline viruses that might disrupt or distort medical
research. British Association of Science president Colin Blakemore, for
example, studies the cats to find clues to the development of the cerebral
cortex. Blakemore is currently developing a new imaging system for analyzing
the brain that he hopes will later be modified for use in human beings,
possibly greatly enhancing our understanding of how the brain works.

For his efforts, animal rights
activists have rewarded Blakemore with two letter bombs, packages containing
razor blades, and assorted threats over the last 11 years. Activists have
engaged in an unrelenting campaign of harassment against Hill Grove involving
everything from car bombs to rock throwing that has destroyed 80 percent
of the glass panes in the house where |Hill Grove|’s proprietors live.


UK’s Hawking condemns animal rights extremists. Patricia Reaney, Reuters,
Sept. 7, 1998.

Hawking defends tests on animals. Daily Telegraph,
Sept. 13, 1998.