API Goes Mobile With Anti-Circus Billboard

Unable to find an outdoor billboard company willing to display its latest anti-circus billboard, the Animal Protection Institute has created a mobile 22-foot mobile billboard, presumably attached to the side of a truck, to drive around areas where circuses appear.

The mobile billboard made its debut in January protesting a Jacksonville, Florida, appearance of Ringling Bros. Circus. The billboard shows a chained elephant with the text, “Would you chain your dog for most of her life? Why Pay a Circus to do it to Elephants?”

In a press release announcing the mobile billboard, API’s Michelle Thew said,

If the depiction of life for these animals is too graphic to be shown on a billboard, the reality is too graphic for them to endure in the circus. Protestors will be outside the arena on Wednesday with a clear message — the catalog of misery that circus animals endure must come to an end. This is not family entertainment.


Opening Night of Ringling Bros. Circus to Attract Protest. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, January 26, 2005.

Michelle Thew Named Animal Protection Institute President

Michelle Thew, currently chief executive officer of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, was recently named to succeed Alan Berger as CEO of the Animal Protection Institute.

BUAV focuses mainly on animal experimentation and Thew was one of four finalists in the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals’ search for a new chief executive. That job was ultimately given to anti-hunting activist Jackie Ballard.

In an API press release announcing Thew’s selection, she said,

API is an organization whose work I have long respected, and I am thrilled to be joining as its new CEO. Creating real change for animals takes determination, skill and creativity. API will get the job done. High profile media work, professional lobbying, legal skills and public campaigning are key to success. API will use all of these tools in coming years to put the issue of animal rights on the map in the United States. I look forward to working with the excellent team at API to end animal abuse worldwide.

API has not been especially focused on animal experimentation, but appears poised to take a more active role in that area of the animal rights movement. Along with hiring Thew, API announced a new partnership with BUAV,

API and BUAV also announced that the two organizations are forming a new strategic partnership, a transatlantic relationship that will benefit animals worldwide. In addition to becoming API’s chief executive officer, Thew will also serve as a consultant to BUAV, with special responsibility for global strategic issues in animal experiments. “The challenges that animal advocates face are global and their response must be global too,” said Thew.

So is this really API making Thew its CEO or simply the UK organization opening up BUAV USA?


New CEO to lead Animal Protection Institute. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, June 13, 2003.

Americans for Medical Progress Reports on Animal Rights 2002

So far this year, there has been little major media coverage of Animal Rights 2002 (as opposed to the 2001 edition, where the Washington Post and other newspapers reported on the event). Peter Singer’s rantings against Christianity garnered some negative coverage in conservative newspapers, but otherwise the event was off the media radar.

As it did last year, Americans for Medical Progress produced an excellent look at the conference, which is reproduced with permission below. Also, AMP recently redesigned its web site and the results are really slick looking with a lot of good information and resources. Check it out at AMPEF.Org.

Animal Rights 2002 Conclave Maps New Arenas
In Activists’ Fight Against Medical Progress

Sunday, July 7, 2002

While it is tempting to lead off a report about last week’s national animal rights convention with a series of strident activist quotes, each more threatening than the last, to do so would be a disservice to AMP News Service readers. For while heated rhetoric was to be heard in various workshops and plenary sessions, the overwhelming message was much more insidiously threatening: the animal rights movement’s leadership is maturing and their organizations are focusing an increasing amount of their resources and energies not on protests and violent actions, but on tools of policy development, litigation, legislation, and education to bring about public acceptance of the animal rights philosophy and agenda. It is important that the biomedical research community understand that the animal rights movement’s offensive is multifaceted and that its leaders are sophisticated in manipulating political, legal and financial environments to achieve their goals.

The in-fighting, contradictory messages, and fractured leadership that was so evident at other animal rights conventions in recent years was submerged for this meeting, if not truly eliminated. Time and again, workshop leaders warned that comments attacking activist leaders, groups or tactics would not be tolerated. PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk, who did not even attend last year’s convention because of widespread and open hostility among activists about PETA’s media campaigns, was interrupted several times by whoops and cheers as she delivered a keynote address that can only be described as Classic Newkirk.

A common focus of the panels and workshops was on developing new coalitions and alliances, manipulating the political and legal systems to achieve activist objectives, and framing the campaign for animal rights within a broader social justice movement.

The new level of cooperation among the major animal rights organization was seen in a tangible way at the end of the convention, when the Humane Society of the United States sent out a news release announcing that it was joining with PETA, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, New England Anti-Vivisection Society, Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group, American Anti-Vivisection Society, National Anti-Vivisection Society and Doris Day Animal League in demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture restore USDA inspection reports of research facilities to its website. The detailed reports had been removed from the website while questions of their accuracy and the security of the inspected facilities are addressed. (See the separate AMP News Service item on July 5, 2002 for more information about the APHIS e-FOIA challenge. We will keep our subscribers informed of developments in this matter.)

Three new initiatives aimed at increasing coordination among the animal rights groups were announced at the AR 2002 convention:

  • Every year since 1985, the top leaders of the national animal rights groups have held a small, private gathering called Summit for the Animals, at which they try to reconcile differences and build coalitions. Alan Berger of the Animal Protection Institute noted “I don’t think that it is any secret that the Summit for the Animals has not been as effective as it might be.” He offered few details, but said the leaders are changing the Summit “to set up a kind of association or format where organizations ata national level, and not only that, but set up ways in which they can work together with other associated-type animal organizations and work on the grassroots level.”
  • At the same session, Kim Stallwood, a longtime veteran of the animal rights movement, announced that The Animals Agenda, an activist magazine that has been published for over two decades, was going “on hiatus” so that the organization behind it, the Animal Rights Network, could develop the Institute for Animals in Society. He said there would be three program areas: research analysis and policy, education and training, and inter-movement study and cooperation to more fully integrate the animal rights cause into the broader social justice agenda. He said he plans to work with colleges to develop a course on animal advocacy and public policy and hopes ultimately for an accreditation program in which students “learn social movement politics, learn about the issues, learn about being a more effective advocate, learn about our opposition.”
  • Julie Lewin of Animal Advocacy of Connecticut announced the formation of the National Institute for Animal Advocacy (NIAA). She described NIAA’s purpose as “to create a political culture in the animal rights movement and to raise the level of discourse.”

It is not clear at this writing how, or if, these initiatives will integrate.

Biomedical Research Concerns

Prior to the AMP News Service report on the activists’ broader approaches to their campaigns and policy initiatives, here is our coverage of discussions relating to some specific concerns of the biomedical research community:


A panel discussion on the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) turned up surprisingly little new information. The American Anti-Vivisection Society’s Tina Nelson, a key lobbyist for the inclusion of rats, mice and birds in AWA provisions, spoke for just a few minutes about the animal rights lobby’s recent defeat on the issue. She did note that while the search is on for a legislative vehicle to reverse the exclusion of these species, “the climate is not good to introduce legislation now.” Neither Nelson nor the others in the panel mentioned Campaign/50, the new initiative by a number of activist groups to go state-by-state to push for state governments to regulate the care of research rats, mice and birds. This effort was mentioned briefly in another workshop, but little was offered to indicate the direction of Campaign/50.


Several speakers expressed their concerns about the proposed move of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the proposed cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security. Attorney Wendy Anderson of the Animal Legal Defense Fund said that it was vital that APHIS keeps its “funding, authority and staff together or the law (Animal Welfare Act) will be off-line.” Anderson noted that Congress is “receptive to animal rights arguments” and that federal legislation will remain an avenue for achieving animal rights objectives, as will litigation to further the legal standing of animals.

Sara Amundson, lobbyist for the Doris Day Animal League, spoke of a continuing frustration animal activists have with the USDA. She noted that while animal rights groups had supported increased appropriations for the USDA in years past, that might not be the case in the future, if the agency fails to increase its APHIS inspection staff and regulatory enforcement efforts. She encouraged activists to write to members of the committees for appropriations and agriculture in both branches of Congress, saying that they “do not want their tax dollars to go to a slipshod organization (the USDA).” Emphasizing the need for grassroots involvement, Amundson told the audience, “You don’t know how important your letters to Congress are.”

One Belgian activist on the panel supported this point, offering that the Belgian Public Health minister gets more mail on animal welfare than on any other issue. The public policy successes conveyed by European activists, most notably, Michelle Thew of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, were enthusiastically received by conference participants.


Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) issued a call for volunteers for a “National Primate Freedom Week” scheduled for August 24 through September 2 this year. Few details were forthcoming, but it can be expected to target primate research facilities with tactics such as those used during past “World Weeks for Animals in Laboratories”-events designed to capture media attention. Thus far, Budkie’s call has not beenpicked up by any major animal rights group. AMP News Service is monitoring activists’ plans and will keep targeted institutions informed.


“When HLS goes, we are going to start on the researchers, and biomeds and we’re going to get them too.”
– Kevin Jonas, SHAC

Dressed in a blue oxford-cloth button-down collar shirt, SHAC’s American organizer, Kevin Jonas, appeared more respectable than in previous appearances, and his rhetoric was significantly toned down from some of his past diatribes before activists.

Flying in the face of facts and corporate reports, and offering little about his group’s future direction, Jonas relentlessly declared victory in SHAC’s campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences. He was clearly posturing, working hard to keep the activists motivated and focused on a campaign that is in truth beginning to run on empty.

“This is a fight that when push comes to shove, I’m ready to push, shove, kick and I’m ready to win,” Jonas vowed. “When we shut down HLS, we’ll move onto the next, the next, and the next.”

Jonas said that SHAC’s preferred tactic is economic sabotage, going after institutions’ funding sources. Corporations and researchers, he said, are used to seeing protestors, “so you can’t shame them or embarrass them.” But, he said, “When you go to their funders’ doorsteps and their funders’ neighbors’ doorsteps, they don’t think it’s quite so funny.”


Although many speakers throughout the convention opined that protests are passé and are now unlikely to generate either significant media coverage or public support, an exception was made in one arena of interest to the research community: protests targeting health charities and universities on the issue of the use of animals in research.

Andrew Butler, who is involved in developing PETA’s anti-research campaigns, claimed universities could be pressured into foregoing animal research contracts if they thought that alumni would stop their donations. He named homecoming activities and other alumni events as prime opportunities for informational protests and leafleting. One tactic he suggested: attending university or health charity fundraising dinners and then attempting to propose a toast. When all glasses are raised, he said, “Offer a toast to the day that the (name of institution) ends all research with animals.”

Butler claimed that activists showed up at 300 March of Dimes WalkAmerica fundraising events in the past year. He discussed PETA’s tactic of visiting local chapters of charities such as the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, that can be pressured directly and, he believes, more effectively than the national headquarters of those charities. Butler also noted PETA’s use of billboards, letters to newspapers and leafleting to raise local public and media awareness of PETA’s ongoing campaign against health charities.

Michael Budkie of SAEN urged activists to do their “homework” before taking on a university’s research program-to learn all they can about the research before launching their campaigns.

Ray Greek of Americans for Medical Advancement (AfMA) said, “Some people such as myself believe that protests in front of Johns Hopkins or wherever do great for raising awareness in the local community, but animal experimentation is funded by the federal government (sic) and that is Congress and the NIH. So it is really almost irrelevant what you do on a local level: NIH is still going to be pumping $10-20 billion dollars a year into vivisection.”


Representatives of both PETA and In Defense of Animals (IDA) said that a major component of their anti-research campaigns will remain the infiltration of research facilities. Matt Rossell, who has worked with both PETA and IDA and was a key figure in infiltrations at Boys Town National Research Hospital and the Oregon National Primate Research Center, urged activists to follow in his footsteps. Some of his suggestions for successful infiltrations are listed here because they may suggest potential vulnerabilities:

  • Get a job as a laboratory animal caretaker-and don’t worry about your record as an activist. “We cannot underestimate the stupidity of our enemy” in conducting background investigations. He said that few want the low-paying jobs and most facilities are continually recruiting. Relax during the interview, he said, and don’t panic. Practice answering interview questions about your animal rights beliefs (they are seldom asked, he notes.) Study your co-workers and make yourself fit in by the way you look, dress and talk.
  • Figure out when you can have access to the animals to videotape or photograph conditions. Calculate your risks, assuming that each picture may be the last one you get the chance to take. Learn camera techniques to ensure quality images.
  • Listen, observe, document. Rossell claims that people gossip about the experiments. Use a mini-tape recorder to document your day.
  • “Places get lax,” said Rossell. “Once you are an employee, you’re just part of the machinery.
  • Rossell urged infiltrators to “make friends” with their co-workers. “Scientists write the protocol but technicians have to do the dirty work (with the animals). When animals are abused there are usually people being abused, too,” Rossell claimed.
  • Rossell warned infiltration wannabes to check state laws regarding “undercover investigations” and photographic/recording without permission, but adds that even if there is a case, a research facility is unlikely to prosecute.

Rossell added that In Defense of Animals was hiring activists and urged interested individuals to talk with him.

Paul Shapiro of Compassion Over Killing, who has also participated in several infiltrations, talked about wearing glasses with tiny cameras fitted into the frames that allowed him to get videotape of co-workers and their handling of animals.

Gene Bauston of Farm Sanctuary noted that many undercover jobs are available through the national animal rights groups, but many demand a long term commitment. He noted that it is best to be in one facility for a long time to establish what he called “patterns of abuse.”

Michelle Thew of the British Union Against Vivisection stressed the need to use both scientific and moral arguments against animal based research and said that undercover work is the “hallmark” of anti-researchactivism, and will continue to be so. But, she said, activists mustknow the science, know when alternatives to animal testing are appropriate and she acknowledged that digging for such information was “tedious work.” She said that activists needed to “think globally and act globally” to work together on anti-research objectives and to share information across borders.


The tension over the approaches activists take in arguing for animal-free research was never more apparent than in a convention workshop called Animals in Research in which Ray Greek, M.D., of Americans for Medical Advancement and Joan Dunayer, author of ‘Animal Equality” debated the issue.

Greek argued that the activists’ campaign must focus on what he called the “scientific invalidity” of animal-based research, but warned that “Now, from the scientific perspective, the stuff that I do is difficult to communicate. Anybody who sat in on the plenary session last night andheard me do pharmagenomics in 10 minutes can probably appreciate that.”

Dunayer portrayed herself to the audience as an “ex-vivisector,” butaccording to the biography on Amazon.com accompanying the description of her book, she is a writer and former English instructor. She does have three masters’ degrees, one of which is in psychology, and so may have had some animal research interaction during her studies.

She argued that the debate on research must focus on moral grounds.”I don’t believe we should be trying to affect the scientific establishment.
I think we should be trying to win the public, who would then coerce the NIH and our legislators to ban vivisection.” The debate between Greek and Dunayer became so heated that Theo Caputo of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, a co-panelist, was finally thrust into the role of peacemaker, saying that both scientific and moral approaches could be effective when used in proper context.


“Nothing is more important than how our movement is portrayed in the media And nothing is more important than our movement.” – Bruce Friedrich, PETA

Kim Stallwood, who has played an influential role over the past two decades of the animal rights movement’s growth, talked to the activists about the five stages a social movement must go through: Public Education. Policy Development. Legislation. Litigation. Public Acceptance. He acknowledged that the stages are not clear cut. “Things happen all at different times, often serendipitous, but we need to expand our focus of activities to include these other activities (beyond public education),”he said.

“More and more people are understanding what animal rights means; learning to become cruelty-free or vegan. Not everyone is going to change like we have,” Stallwood noted. “We are going to have to understand that not everyone is like us. For many people, animals are just not that important. So we need to understand that while we will change as many people as we can, we will also have to be agents of change in the institutions that make up society.”

Several workshops dealt with the question of how to chose a target, and what to consider before launching a campaign. PETA’s Tracy Reiman gave a compelling inside look at how PETA thinks about its targets and campaigns . . . and it is must reading for any CEO or research administrator who feels his/her facility might be on the animal rights radar screen.

From Reiman’s list:

  • First question is whether to take a campaign on? Who are you targeting? The public? A company? Both? Reiman discussed how PETA’s campaign against McDonald’s, while attempting to get the company to accede to its demands, also presented PETA with a strong opportunity to utilize McDonald’s brand recognition in educating the public.
  • What is the goal of the campaign-total liberation or small, incremental changes? Is it reasonable? Realistic? Will it turn people away or turn them around? Don’t set your sights too low. You can do far more than youmight think. The power of negative publicity cannot be overestimated.
  • Can you win the campaign? Do your homework. Does your target have a history of making changes based on demands/pressure from groups? Is the company vulnerable to a media campaign? “You know the phrase kick them when they are down? Well, it is a good time to get some concessions when that happens. A company whose stock prices have plummeted is more likely to make changes to forego bad publicity than one that is doing well.”
  • Are you able to keep up a sustained campaign? “A company can deal with a few protests if they think they are going to go away quickly. We have to show these companies that once we start something we will finish it . . . Keep them guessing what is next; keep them wondering if this will ever end.”
  • Don’t call things off too soon. There is a fine line between getting what you want and getting what they are willing to give.
  • Don’t be afraid of keeping a campaign going while you are in negotiations with a company. Sometimes a campaign must last a little longer to get everything you want.
  • “It is as much of a public relations game as it is a serious effort to change things for animals.” Reiman observed. She talked about the use of tactics ranging from letter writing campaigns to street theatre and civil disobedience.
  • “Finally, don’t be afraid to do or say controversial things. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. We can take ridicule because we know it is a first step toward change for the animals,” Reiman exhorted her audience.


“The way to translate diffuse public concern about issues-animals or otherwise-into political power is through the creation of voting blocs at the Capitol, the city or county levels.” -Julie Lewin, National Institute for Animal Advocacy

Claiming that “opponents” are better organized than the animal rights movement now and are in control of the political landscape in every state, activist Julie Lewin said, “We are squandering our potential by not being organized,” and not having “an accountability system” in place for politicians. Lewin said that full-time lobbyists need to be placed in every state capital and statewide databases need to be established of legislative voting records and animal rights-interested voters by district.

To support her point, Lewin offered this axiom: “A politically organized minority on an issue can drive public policy on that issue because every politician knows that a politically organized minority can swing elections.” She pointed to the National Rifle Association as a voting bloc of unparalleled success. “In Connecticut, less than two percent of the voters are licensed hunters,” she said, “and yet they drive wildlife policy, they are so well organized.” According to Lewin, the NRA records and disseminates the voting record of every state legislator. Then, she said, NRA’s special interestvoters “reward or punish” the legislators at the polls.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) does the same on the national level. Just in time for the animal rights convention, it released its “Humane Scorecard” for the 2001 session of the 107th Congress. Currentlyhyped on the HSUS home page with the tag line “find out who was naughtyor nice,” it may be found at www.hsus.org/ace/1458, along with a myriad of online tools for grassroots activists to make their voices heard. Readers are told, “It’s the time to ask for an explanation of a troublesome vote or to express your satisfaction with their performance.”

Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of the HSUS, concurred with Lewin’s analysis of the need for political organization, but warned that the necessary political work is “not something that can be done by a few lobbyists, a few key people who work on Capitol Hill. A successful political movement for animals, women’s rights, young rights, whatever it may be, involves people in communities and those people must get to know the issues, know how the political process works, know their elected officials and try to influence the outcome of the process by inserting themselves into it. We (professionals) can walk the halls of Congress 15 hours a day, but without people being informed on how the process works, without a movement energized and mobilized on the issue, we will be doomed to marginal success.”

Pacelle talked about Humane USA, the first major political action committee (PAC) focused on animal rights objectives, formed in 1999 by the HSUS, Fund for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, ASPCA, Doris Day Animal League, Animal Welfare Institute, The Ark Trust, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and other animal activist groups. Its board of directors, advisory board, and advisors are key grassroots and national animal rights leaders. Pacelle said that Humane USA will spend about $400,000 on political campaigns this year and revealed that the Humane USA PAC is trying to get organizers within all 435 Congressional districts.

Gene Bauston of Farm Sanctuary noted the success of political action committees that can direct funds to candidates and political parties. “A political committee like Humane USA helps get good guys elected and bad guys thrown out. And when our movement has the sort of muscle like that to wield some influence to help good candidates and hurt bad candidates, they start listening to us a lot more and they are more apt to fight for our issues . . . Agribusiness and the animal exploiting businesses have for years been playing in this realm and have been working to keep their friends in Congress. With (Humane USA PAC) we now have a vehicle to keep our friends in Congress.”


Although the clear focus of the majority of the sessions at the Animal Rights 2002 convention was on matters such as coalition-building and working the political and legal system from within, those who advocate the use of violence in the name of animal rights were also able to get their say.

“Every social justice movement has embraced violence and every successful social justice movement has utilized violent tactics to achieve their goals. I don’t think it is possible without that. I think we have to quit waiting until everyone is behind us before we embrace new tactics.” – Jerry Vlasak, Animal Defense League

Jerry Vlasak of ADL and Kevin Jonas of SHAC both tried to justify the use of violence as an acceptable tactic in what Jonas called “the animal rights arsenal.” Vlasak recounted a discussion he had with activists earlier in the day about how violence would have been acceptable in Nazi Germany, to attack trains that were carrying Jews to concentration camps and kill the guards. Vlasak asked why that was any different “than doing the same thing here in the United States under the current conditions where we are shipping tens of billions of animals to slaughter a year. So, I think from a moral standpoint the case can be made that there is really no moral difference between saving animal lives and saving human lives in other situations.”

“Why shouldn’t any one of us think ‘it shouldn’t be me’ taking that brick and shoving it through that window? . . . It’s not hard, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist. You don’t need a four year degree to call in a bomb hoax. These are easy things and they are things that save animals.” – Kevin Jonas, SHAC

Jonas made an impassioned defense of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and its violent actions, saying the ALF had inspired the animal rights movement through its “direct actions” in the mid-1980s and 1990s, and that it continues to be driven by compassion, frustration and “recognition that social movements must employ a variety of tactics.”

The animal rights movement, Jonas said, has been called a struggle “because it is, it is a struggle. It is hard, it is hard work. It takes sacrifice. People have gone, and are going to go, to prison. People have been hurt. People have been sued. People have been deported from countries. People have died-and are going to die.” While selected sessions were given over to such advocacy of violence, speakers in other sessions emphasized non-violence. Ken Shapiro of Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said, “Violence as a tactic has to be off the map.” SAEN’s Michael Budkie indicated that violence and the perception that “we’re a bunch of crazies” hashurt the movement.


PETA founder and president Ingrid Newkirk delivered a keynote address Sunday evening (June 30) to a very receptive audience. Her speech was one that could have given any time during her 25 year career in the animal rights industry. Rather than focusing on the specific issues being raised in the convention’s workshops and panels, she laid out her broad view of a world in which animal rights prevailed. Her speech was classic Newkirk, unwavering and unapologetic. Clichéd and quote ridden, riddled with stories about vegan hot dogs and the chickens she calls “my girls,” and delivered passionately, it appeared by the enthusiastic response to be just what her devotees were seeking. A few snippets may give a flavor of the whole:

“I stand before your this year a little baffled because I have been named by name by the State of Wisconsin as a good reason to pass their state’s anti-terrorism legislation. Was it something I said? It turned out it actually was. Right here in America, formerly the land of free speech, I said that yes, I do hope that foot and mouth disease would come here. I didn’t say I planned to go out and get it and bring it back here, I just answered an honest question with an honest answer.”

“There is absolutely no trick in looking back on the greatest injustices of our time-the obvious ones: holocaust, slavery-and condemning them. We understand that, we got that. There is no trick to going along with the status quo and not rocking the boat. The trick is always to look at what we are doing today as if we were someplace in the future looking back and figure out what the oppressions and the injustices are that we are committing today and to get them out of our lives. You have to rock the boat if you want to make waves. And you have to be honest if you want change.” “Most people in this room understand that slavery is not over in America or the Western world or in the world in general. The animals are today’s slaves. And yet what little pittance do they want? They don’t want the right to vote, even though they probably could have done a better job than we did (audience laughs) and I don’t say that in a partisan way because I think ALL the parties are lousy to animals. But they don’t need the right to do anything except have our respect for them as other nations, for that is what they are. They are not objects, they are ANI-mal. They are life, they are like us, and the greatest respect for all we can afford them is just to leave them alone!!!”

“PETA is known for doing what, to some people, are very outrageous things.” (Quoting Dante Rossetti ‘If I make a spectacle, then people stare, and then I have their attention for my serious work.’) “So forgive us please for all the embarrassing stunts, the crazy antics and the stupid tricks, What we realize is that the press (God bless them) are like your cat. Speak seriously to them, they will pay you absolutely no mind . . . but if you wiggle your finger under the door, they know it is your finger but they have to come over and have a look. (audience laughs). So we know our work is a very serious issue-please don’t ever think that we don’t. But by using humor and by being provocative, we get thousands of people who would otherwise not give two hoots to come give a look . . .and for people who won’t look at the gore, cannot help but look at the gorgeous.”

“For (animals), Ground Zero is every single day. They are terrified, slaughtered and endangered every minute. Humans are their terrorists. This is about them but it is also about us. It is about whether our hearts are big enough to look after the least of them. That is why the animal rights movement is a movement we can be proud of(audience cheers)”

“It is our opposition who are the terrorists – every one of them (applause) Every single one of them who does not actively work for change in the way we treat animals in society is a terrorist. I have one more thing to say to them-remember this: Rights movements never go away. They always get stronger, they always attract more people, and there is no point whatsoever in wasting your time fighting them because we will grow, and we will win.”

A Word from Americans for Medical Progress / AMP News Service

In reporting in such detail and by portraying the activists attending the Animal Rights 2002 convention so often ‘in their own words,’ it is our intent to emphasize the complexity of the challenge posed by the animal rights movement to the biomedical research community.

The challenge is not simply a matter of an activist campaign against a single research institution, or a question of whether a facility has adequate security to withstand a physical attack, or whether there is a plan in place to deal with media at the next activist demonstration. Biomedical research as a whole is facing a well-financed, multi-faceted and sophisticated offensive designed to stop all use of laboratory animals in basic, disease and injury research, pharmaceutical R&D and safety testing.

As seen at the Animal Rights 2002 conference, activists are using a variety of tactics and approaches to achieve their goal. It is vital that we who support biomedical research work in close coordination to meet the activist challenge on each of its levels with strong and proactive initiatives of our own. Americans for Medical Progress is proud to be part of the broad coalition standing in support of biomedical research.

British Health Minister Says Animal Research Is "Absolutely Essential"

Lord Philip Hunt, Great Britain’s Health Minister, gave a speech this week to the Association of Medical Research Charities in which he outlined the Labor government’s policy on animal research. Hunt said,

Of course, animals should only be used in experiments where there is no alternative. But it is also clear that properly regulated animal research is absolutely essential to the discovery of new treatments, as well as to the assessment of the safety and efficacy of medicines. That is why we have strengthened the law that protects all involved in research — in the private, public and charitable sectors — to ensure that this vital work can continue.

Hunt repeated previous government statements that the sort of situation that occurred with Huntingdon Life Sciences would not happen again. According to Hunt,

The Government endorses the right to democratic protest. Equally, we condemn the violent intimidation that has taken place, and have introduced strong measures against harassment of people involved with animal research.

Predictably, animal rights groups attacked the speech. According to Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler, the speech was “part of a rather sordid and unconvincing propaganda offensive from the Government, because the argument for animal testing is slipping away from them.”

Michelle Thew of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection complained that, “There is a policy vacuum within the government — no vision, no strategy, no radical agenda for reform and no recognition to reflect the considerable and growing public concern about animal experiments.”

Jan Creamer of the National Anti-vivisection Society chimed in by claiming that “Every time the government has issued licenses to use animal testing, we have been able to find an alternative method.”

Of course, Reuters summed up the reality of the situation noting that,

Currently, most scientists believe that tests in animals are still the best way to study disease or to gauge the effectiveness of treatments before they are tried in humans.

And in most cases they are not just the best way but rather than only realistic way to test.


Animal research essential, UK government says. Manfreda Cavazza, Reuters Health, April 16, 2002.

Minister defends animal experiments. The BBC, April 16, 2002.

Number of Animals Used for Medical Experiments Increases in the UK

The Labour government in Great Britain won’t win any friends among animal rights activists when it announces sometime in August that for the first time since the early 1970s, the number of animals used in medical experiments in the UK rose for two consecutive years. While courting animal activist votes in 1996, the Labour Party promised a special commission to reduce the number of animals used in experiments.

According to government figures, the number of animals used increased 1 percent in 1998 and could have increased up to 3 percent in 1999. Why?

Part of the problem is the way the UK counts the number of animals used in experiments. The big increase is occurring in areas of genetic engineering experiments. In many of these experiments an animals, such as a mouse, is genetically modified and then an experiment is conducted on the mouse. Under the way the UK measures the number of animals used in research, there is a strong possibility that the mouse will be counted twice — once when it is genetically modified and then again when the experiment is carried out.

Still even with this double counting problem, the sheer explosion in human knowledge about genetic engineering has probably led to an increase in the number of animal experiments being conducted in Great Britain and around the world. That should be hailed as a good thing, since it represents scientists getting ever closer to treatments for debilitating and deadly human diseases, but instead the Labour Party clearly fears the reaction from animal rights activists.

Meanwhile although the number of animals used for medical research is rising, it’s not rising nearly fast enough for medical researchers. More than 100 British scientists, including five Nobel Prize winners, recently signed a letter arguing that the UK’s onerous regulation of animal experiments was holding back important research that would inevitably be driven abroad unless the government streamlines the process. According to the letter.

Researchers using animals are already in a situation where overseas competitors can complete a series of experiments and be exploiting the results before permission to start would be given in the UK. If this situation persists or gets worse, as it has recently, it appears inevitable that a substantial part of the UK’s research effort, in many vital areas, will either become uncompetitive or forced abroad.

Animal rights activists such as the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection’s Michelle Thew reacted predictably that in fact the regulations don’t go far enough. “I’m staggered that they are calling for less animal regulation when the regulations we have aren’t working properly,” Thew said.

Professor Nancy Rothwell of Manchester University said that new paperwork requirements can cause research applications to run 50 to 100 pages in excruciating detail, and delay approval of research involving animals by 6 months or more.


Red tape on animal experiments hold Britain back, say scientists. Nigel Hawkes, The Times (UK), June 13, 2000.

Animal testing appeal sparks protest. The BBC. June 13, 2000.

Second rise in animal experiments alarm ministers. Nigel Hawkes. The Times (UK). July 24, 2000.