British Court Rejects Latest Fox Hunting Appeal

In July, the UK’s High Court rejected a second appeal by fox hunting supporters to overturn the 2004 Hunting Act. That act banned fox hunting with dogs.

In their appeal, the Countryside Alliance argued that the Hunting Act violated the European Convention on Human Rights because it was a “sectarian measure.” Essentially, they argued that the hunting ban was an irrational, ideologically-motivated law akin to, say, a ban on a specific religious practice just because it was practiced by a minority of citizens.

Countryside Alliance’s lawyer, Richard Gordon, had argued that,

What emerges strongly, however the argument is put, is, we suggest, the very divisive nature of the legislation.

Many members of the House of Commons voting on the issue obviously objected strongly to hunting on doctrinal grounds – that is clear.

But we say strong feelings cannot be, and are not in law, a substitute for the exercise that has to be undertaken before Convention rights can be legitimately interfered with.

. . .

We say, if one takes away the strength of feeling from the furor over hunting, very little is left in terms of law, and a total ban of this kind is not justified.

The High Court soundly rejected that line of reasoning. Justices May and Moses said that there was varying opinion about whether or not foxes suffer more when hunted by dogs vs. when they are shot, but that the legislature had a legitimate reason to address this issue. They said,

We consider that there was sufficient material available to the House of Commons for them to conclude that hunting with dogs is cruel.

. . .

[It was] reasonably open to the majority of the democratically-elected House of Commons to conclude that this measure was necessary in the democratic society which had elected them.

The Countryside Alliance bemoaned the verdict, with its chairman John Jackson telling the BBC,

The judges have accepted that there is interference with some of the claimants’ rights, and that the Hunting Act will have a substantial general adverse effect on the lives of many in the rural community.

However, the court, ignoring events in the Commons and the Lords, appears to have proceeded on the assumption that Parliament had a legitimate aim and has itself then speculated on what that may have been.

Whether the court is right to have proceeded in this way is plainly a controversial question./p>

Animal rights advocates, on the other hand, were very pleased. John Cooper, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, told The Guardian,

We welcome this recognition that there is no human right to be cruel. The Hunting Act is a popular act, the ban is being enforced and, most importantly, animals are no longer able to be abused in the name of this barbaric bloodsport. This is a resounding defeat for the hunters, who need to move forward and accept the democratic will of parliament and the majority of the general public, and learn to take non for an answer.

The Countryside Alliance is still waiting for the Law Lords in the House of Lords to rule on its appeal of the High Court’s February rejection of its argument that the Hunting Act is in violation of Great Britain’s Parliament Act.

There are likely to be further appeals, but at the moment, the odds of the fox hunting advocates actually prevailing seems pretty slim.


High court rejects hunting ban challenge. Press Association, July 29, 2005.

Hunt campaign loses court battle. The BBC, July 29, 2005.

Hunting ban ‘a sectarian measure’. Liverpool Daily Post, July 5, 2005.

Janice Angelillo Can’t Imagine Why Police Are Targeting Her

On July 21 at 4 a.m., animal rights activists Janice Angelillo and Nicholas Cooney were arrested outside a Hoffman-LaRoche facility in New Jersey. When she was arrested, police say the hands and clothing of both activists was stained with the same color spray paint has had been used in an earlier act of anti-Hoffman-LaRoche vandalism that morning.

Police subsequently deployed a 15-officer team to raid Angelillo’s residence. The officers removed a computer and other items from the residence.

In Angelillo’s world, however, she’s not under scrutiny because of the spray paint incident — just the latest in a long series of arrests for Angelillo — but rather she’s being persecuted for her beliefs. Angelillo told the Home News Tribune,

I feel like I’m being targeted for my political beliefs because I’m rather vocal and a public advocate for animal rights. It feels almost like harassment. I really don’t understand why they sent in a big SWAT team and raided my house all because I was brought up on misdemeanor charges. I think it was kind of outrageous.

Whereas prowling around Hoffman-LaRoche at 4 a.m. in the morning with the intent to commit acts of vandalism is simply a normal morning activity for Angelillo.

Angelillo and Cooney have been charged with giving fake identities to police, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and conspiracy to commit criminal mischief. They will also be charged with criminal mischief for an act of vandalism that occurred in Long Beach, New Jersey, within 24 hours of the July 21st arrest.

The raid on Angelillo’s residence is clearly based on suspicions that Angelillo and/or Cooney have been involved with or have information about other animal rights related crimes committed in Pennsylvania, where Cooney lives.

Police also appear to be investigating whether Angelillo’s husband Ted Nebus might be involved in any acts of vandalism. A police spokesman told the Home News Tribune,

Our first encounter with him [Nebus] was when we executed a search warrant at the house (on Saturday). Prior to that, he’s not been a suspect, although he may become a suspect based on our examination of the evidence that we recovered from the house.


Animal activist questions count. Cheryl Sarfaty, Home News Tribune, July 28, 2005.

Frank Perdue Dies at 84

Frank Perdue, CEO of Perdue Farms and one of the richest men in America, died on March 31 after a brief illness. Perdue was 84.

In 1971, Perdue became one of the first CEOs of a major company to pitch his products in television commercials with the famous “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” line. Under Perdue’s stewardship, the company went from $56 million in sales in 1970 to $2.8 billion in sales in 2003.

Along the way, Perdue became a controversial figure for a number of his business decisions. In 1986, Perdue testified to Congress that he had once sought the aid of mobster Paul Castellano to help suppress union organizing activities at his company.

And, of course, Perdue was the target of animal rights activists. Writing in Satya Magazine, for example, Jack Rosenberger had this to say in remembrance of Perdue,

As a vegetarian, it would be irresponsible of me not to comment on Frank PerdueÂ’s death in March or the laudatory obituaries which failed to acknowledge that PerdueÂ’s livelihood involved enormous animal pain, suffering and death. For the purposes of this column, I will offer some comments on the lengthy and euphemistic obituaries that appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Yet, I am not sure how much I am commenting on Frank Perdue and how much I am commenting on humankind in general.

A little perspective: Frank Perdue was responsible for the breeding, enslavement and killing of billions of chickens and turkeys during his lifetime. . . .

The Washington Post found that the ethical issues, from an animal rights perspective, surrounding Perdue’s murderous business merited a mere two sentences: “He also was a frequent target of animal rights activists opposed to factory farming. In 1992, a woman dressed in a chicken suit hurled a cream pie in his face.”

In both obituaries, the chicken and turkey victims are nearly absent, their existence reduced to abstract words like “pounds” and “product.” “Today,” the Times reported, “the privately held company [Perdue] sells more than 48 million pounds of chicken products and nearly four million pounds of turkey products a week.” The Post was even more concise: “It processes 52 million pounds of chicken and turkey each week.”

The chickens and turkeys themselves—the once living, beautiful beings—are invisible.

Similarly, PETA’s website noted,

Perdue was responsible for developing many of the notoriously cruel techniques used in modern chicken factory farming. Crammed by the tens of thousands into sheds that reek of ammonia fumes from accumulated waste, each bird lives in an amount of space equivalent to a standard sheet of paper, without room to take a step or stretch a wing. The birds routinely suffer broken bones because they are bred to be top heavy and because workers roughly grab their legs and slam them into crates and shackle them upside-down at slaughterhouses. Chickens are often still fully conscious when their throats are slit or when they are dumped into tanks of scalding water to remove their feathers. When they’re killed, chickens are still babies—not yet 2 months old. Their natural lifespan is 10 to 15 years.

Frank Perdue leaves a legacy of unimaginable suffering for billions of tortured birds

Henry Spira took out ads attacking Perdue, repeating the mob story and other incidents in Perdue’s life. But Perdue ignored the ads and the activists and refused to accede to their demands. And, of course, the business changes that PETA complains about were responsible for a major decrease in the price of poultry and a huge increase in poultry production. Despite the campaigns of animal rights activists, American society came down squarely on the side of intensive chicken production.

None of the commentary from activists I read bothered to speculate on how a meat eater like Perdue managed to live well past the average life expectancy for an American male.


Vegetarian Advocate: A Better Death, Courtesy of McDonaldÂ’s? Jack Rosenberger, Satya Magazine, May 5, 2005.

Chicken entrepreneur Frank Perdue dies. Foster Klug, Associated Press, April 1, 2005.

Frank Perdue, Responsible for Appalling Cruelty to Chickens, Dies. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Undated.