Magazine article The Spectator

Next in Line

Magazine article The Spectator

Next in Line

Article excerpt

Radio

Following the government's attempts to ban hunting it, occurred to me how easy it is under Labour to buy legislation. If you are a large and well-funded organisation such as the international animal welfare groups, all you have to do is give a million pounds to Labour Party funds and you can have the law changed in your favour. Once hunting has gone, I suppose it will be the turn of fishing - so watch out for future donations to Labour from these people.

Actually, I heard an American animal rights woman on the Nicky Campbell programme on Radio Five Live last week saying just that: fishing was next in line. In fact, this barmy creature also wanted to make vegetarianism compulsory in Britain with, presumably, the eating of meat becoming a criminal offence. My other thought was that the purchase of new laws under Labour makes the Tory cash-forquestions affair seem rather minor in comparison. At least the MPs concerned only asked questions, they didn't enact laws that would end an ancient and harmless country pursuit making thousands of people unemployed. I think I prefer Tory sleaze.

Professor Clive Page has a different problem to face. He's a lung specialist researching methods to cure asthma. But animal-rights terrorists have threatened to kill him because he conducts experiments on animals. He appeared on It's My Story: Tested on Animals on Radio Four this week (Monday). He received the news from the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch while he was working in Perugia. An animalrights terrorist called Barry Horne, serving an 18-year sentence for arson, was on hunger strike and the police were warned that if he died Page would be among ten scientists killed.

Page was shocked that anyone would consider doing this to people who were trying to understand human illness and finding better medicines for the treating of diseases. He pointed out that most of the medical advances have depended on animal experiments, including insulin for diabetes, anaesthetics, antibiotics, vaccines, open-heart surgery and organ transplantation. The number of people suffering and dying from asthma is increasing and Page is trying to find out why. Current thinking is that allergies develop in the womb during pregnancy.

Animals are used in his research but they are anaesthetised. He and his colleagues would prefer not to use them but there seems little alternative. …

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