WHO ARE THE REAL Animals; the Animal Rights Fanatics Who Shut Down a Guinea Pig Farm Last Week Were Less Than Keen to Be Identified. the Mail Found Them - and Knocked on THEIR Doors

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Byline: PAUL BRACCHI;DAVID WILKES

AMONG the hundreds of animal rights protesters taking part in a 'victory demonstration' in Staffordshire today is John Holmes.

Holmes, for those who may have missed his numerous appearances on TV news bulletins over the past few weeks, is the public face of a group called Save The Newchurch Guinea Pigs (SNGP).

Holmes and his cronies are cock-a-hoop at the moment. Their campaign has forced a local farm which breeds the guinea pigs in question for medical research to close. Hence today's mass gathering.

'Bring as much noisemaking equipment as you can muster,' the official SNGP website urges. 'Drums, horns, megaphones, trumpets, whistles - everything you can get your hands on to make this day memorable.' It reads like a flyer for a village fair or carnival. It's meant to. The organisation is keen to stress that, unlike, say, the Animal Liberation Front, it is fully committed to peaceful protest.

But 6ft 3in, shaven-headed John Holmes, 34, is probably the very last person you would want to see on your doorstep.

Holmes, whose real name is John Ablewhite, was jailed for nine months in 2001 for attacking the North Yorkshire home of the relative of an animal testing company boss.

Last year, he was also arrested over the desecration of an 87-yearold woman's grave. The woman, Gladys Hammond, was the motherinlaw of Chris Hall, one of two brothers who own Darley Oaks Farm. Darley Oaks is the place which breeds guinea pigs for medical research. So the late Mrs Hammond was 'fair game'.

It is the same twisted logic employed by the terrorist and the suicide bomber to justify their atrocities. The cause may be different - but the psychology and the tactics are identical.

Despite the Halls' much-publicised decision, Mrs Hammond's remains have still not been returned to her anguished family. Instead, several friends of the Halls have received a photograph of a human skeleton signed: 'Love Gladys.' The sick message, shown to the Mail this week, said: 'Where there is death there is life . . . I'm trying to get in touch with you.' Does Ablewhite give a damn about such behaviour?

'I don't condone the digging up of Gladys Hammond's body, but I do empathise with the reasons they did it,' Ablewhite told the Mail last week. He had turned up outside Darley Oaks - in the guise of John Holmes - to gloat. The Halls, it had just been announced, were finally closing their business.

What Ablewhite really meant, of course, was the grave desecration was justified. 'The family had it coming.' How else can someone 'empathise with the reasons' for digging up the coffin of an old lady and stealing her remains?

But, then this is a man who believes the treatment of guinea pigs at Darley Oaks Farms, a lawful and licensed business which has run a chilling gauntlet of intimidation from animal rights zealots hiding behind the umbrella of the SNGP, 'is on the same moral level as the Holocaust . . .' 'And don't forget Goebbels learned from factory farmers and used their methods to execute the Jews,' Ablewhite told TV crews and reporters.

One can only imagine the upset his repellent views and indeed his arrest over the digging up Gladys Hammond - Ablewhite was released without charge - have caused his own family. His father is a vicar. Astonishingly-Ablewhite works as a supply teacher in the Midlands. Local councils refused to say if they knew about his criminal past or his distasteful beliefs. What an appalling example he has been allowed to set his pupils.

Police believe that fanatics like Ablewhite pose the 'single biggest threat to UK plc'.

Already, they have forced plans to build Europe's largest primate research laboratory in Cambridge to be scrapped. A similar facility in Oxford is also being targeted along with the best-known animal testing company, Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).

Increased resources to improve police intelligence on Britain's small but devastatingly effective network of animal rights militants is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. …