Joan Court Goes On Yet Another “Hunger Strike”

According to SPEAK, Joan Court promised to go on yet another “hunger strike,” this time in April to commemorate World Week for Laboratory Animals.

Last July, Court went on a 48-hour “hunger strike.” Apparently she’s spent the intervening time building up her endurance to go 72 hours.

As I said last year, a 2-3 day fast is simply not all that compelling. In fact its downright lame. The poor animals are being tortured and murdered and the best court can do is three days? Come on, do something challenging like try to break Barry Horne’s record.

Now, that would be impressive, but 72 hours? I think even I could do that.

But SPEAK billed the “hunger strike” on its website as if Court were one of those IRA prisoners who used to go on ungodly long hunger strikes.

Court’s “hunger strike,” on the other hand, is a bit like having the animal rights activists lured Evil Knievel to their side only to have him announce that he was going to jump two — count ’em two — buses for the animals.


Joan Court set to embark on 72-hour hunger strike. Press Release, Speak, March 4, 2005.

Animal Rights Activist Ends Hunger Strike After Two Days

The UK’s Press Association reports that 85-year-old animal rights activist Joan Court ended a two-day hunger strike on July 16. Court slept and fasted outside the site of a planned new animal research facility at the University of Oxford.

According to the Press Association, this is Court’s third hunger strike. The Press Association quoted Court as saying,

I agreed to do only two days [of the hunger strike] because I thought it would be difficult but I could easily have done double.

Double? Come on folks, how are you ever going to live up to the example set by Barry Horne. After Horne’s antics, I’m just not going to be impressed by hunger strikes of less than a month (and is that really too long to go without food when it’s for the animals? I didn’t think so).

Of course this is not to say that Court and others should not seriously consider what an Oxford spokeswoman told the Press Association,

While the University of Oxford respects the right of individuals to express their views peacefully, we are concerned that any individuals to express their views peacefully, we are concerned that any individual might be putting their own health at risk in order to protest about the construction of a new building or lawful research which could help save lives in the future.

But, if other activists are tired of being bullied by Oxford’s rhetorical tricks it is still a free country — by all means keep on fasting.


Veteran animal rights campaigner ends hunger strike. John Bingham, Press Association News, July 16, 2004.