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How animal rights took on the world

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  • Kathryn L.Kovach
    ... From: JudyReed of AnimalVoices Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 9:52 PM Subject: BBC: How animal rights took on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2004
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "JudyReed of AnimalVoices" <AnimalVoicesNews@...>
      Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 9:52 PM
      Subject: BBC: How animal rights took on the world

      Please cross post as is.

      Source/Letters:  BBC    <dailyemail@...>
      Link:   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4020235.stm

      How animal rights took on the world

      By Simon Cox and Richard Vadon
      BBC Radio 4

      The tactics of a small hardcore of animal rights activists have brought them
      in confrontation with major corporations, scientific establishments and the

      Some of their strategies have appalled many people, especially those who
      have been targeted. Whether people support them or not, it cannot be denied
      that their tactics have had an impact. So what have been the key elements of
      their approach?

      The campaign waged against Huntingdon Life Sciences, Europe's largest
      vivisection laboratory, has shown the increasingly sophisticated tactics of
      the animal rights movement.

      The Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac) campaign has focused on the
      suppliers. So far this year 80 companies have severed ties with Huntingdon
      because of pressure from animal rights campaigners and fear of bad

      British groups have worked abroad

      Greg Avery of the Shac campaign has found that many of the biggest companies
      can be persuaded very quickly and not because they care about animals.

      "Businessmen don't care about ethics; all they care about is profit. They
      don't make ethical decisions; they make financial ones. So we turn it into a
      financial decision - we will hit you where it hurts and that's hitting you
      in the pocket."

      The key lesson that the animal rights movement has learnt is being
      relentless. Campaigners used to focus on a variety of local targets across
      Britain. But starting with the Consort kennels campaign, the movement has
      concentrated its fire on one national target.

      Campaigner Greg Avery was involved with the Consort campaign and says: "We
      grabbed hold of those kennels and didn't let go. You don't pick a company
      unless you can close it down because otherwise you just make those companies
      stronger. So when they are chosen - they are finished."

      For all of the sophistication of the movement they are well aware that if
      arguments and legal pressure fail there is always illegal intimidation. The
      Shac campaign says it is against all such tactics but some nasty things have
      happened to companies it has named and shamed on its website.

      For instance, on 10 September 2004 fake bombs were planted under the cars of
      two directors of Northgate, a supplier to Huntingdon. Later that day,
      Northgate announced that it had terminated its business relationship with
      Huntingdon Life Sciences.

      Companies connected to Huntingdon have this month alone been the subject of
      attacks, including damage to cars, homes being daubed with paint, and
      windows being smashed. One family which breeds animals for research has
      suffered a consistent campaign of harassment.

      Shac has denied any involvement in these incidents and while these tactics
      are widely condemned, they nevertheless are successful in persuading
      companies to accede to the campaigners' demands.

      The Home Office has funded a National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit
      within the Association of Chief Police Officers, which aims to share
      information across the country about the best ways of tackling illegal

      New laws to stop extremists protesting outside people's houses are also

      The British animal rights movement is the largest and the strongest in the
      world. Activists across the globe now look to the UK to learn how to
      campaign more effectively.

      Patti Strand of the American Lobby group the National Animal Alliance
      believes the British have a lot to answer for.

      "We view the United Kingdom as the Afghanistan for the growth of animal
      rights extremism throughout the world. The animal rights movement that we
      are dealing with in the United States is a direct import from the United

      Such is the confidence of the animal rights movement that they are already
      thinking about the future. Greg Avery of Shac has new targets in his sights.

      "When Huntingdon closes we won't just go on to another company. We will go
      on to a whole area of animal abuse. And look to knock out big chunks - puppy
      farming, factory farming, circuses and zoos. All these could be finished.
      We're becoming bigger, even more intelligent and even more determined not
      just to take companies down but to finish whole areas of animal abuse."

      Revered thinkers within the movement like Ronnie Lee, founder of the Animal
      Liberation Front, want to go much further than closing down zoos and

      Most campaigning is within the law

      "To create a world that is fair to the other creatures on it we have to have
      some policy of reducing the human population so that would mean we would
      have to breed less."

      How much less? Lee says a reduction in the British population from the
      current level of 60 million to just 6 million would be better for the
      animals. Lee is serious enough about reducing the population to have had a

      His views aren't ones you'll hear at the stalls campaigning against animal
      cruelty all over Britain but what's clear is that animal rights activists
      won't be content with shutting down fur farms or animal testing labs.

      Buoyed by their success they want nothing less than to change the world.

      Battle for Influence: Animal Rights is broadcast on Radio 4 on Thursday 18
      November at 2000 GMT.

      AnimalVoicesNews is sending this to you for nonprofit research and
      educational purposes only.

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