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.
The SNGP National: Lichfield 200. Press Release, August 1, 2003.
SNGP NATIONAL MARCH AND DEMO. Press Release, Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs, September 6, 2003.