Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Terror and Emotion ... the Weapons Used by Animal Lib Protesters; CAMBRIDGE HEEDS LESSONS OF CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUNTINGDON LIFE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Terror and Emotion ... the Weapons Used by Animal Lib Protesters; CAMBRIDGE HEEDS LESSONS OF CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUNTINGDON LIFE

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK SAWER

IN THE world of animal rights there's a fine line between love and hate.

For years campaigners have set up stall on high streets around the country to highlight what they consider to be the barbarous treatment we inflict on other creatures in the name of science.

Their leaflets show experiments being carried out on cats, rabbits and dogs and are designed to prick the conscience of comfortable urban dwellers But these stalls are the soft end of a movement that runs the gamut of protest - from marching peacefully against animal experiments to firebombing the homes of scientists.

Inspired by the women's, black and gay liberation movements of the Sixties and Seventies, animal rights groups adopted some of their tactics in the battle against what they call "speciesism" - the discrimination against animals on the grounds that they are different to us.

The result has been petitions, marches and boycotts of firms who indulge in "animal cruelty". But behind these peaceful activities is the spectre of direct action, justified by groups like the Animal Liberation Front on the grounds that a holocaust against animals is taking place.

The tactics of the ALF and other direct action groups have included smashing into laboratories to rescue the "inmates", attacking battery hen farms and intimidating people who in their view exploit animals.

The public face of the movement has repeatedly insisted it eschews violence, but the case of Huntingdon Life Sciences illustrates how far some activists will go to defend the animals they claim to love.

The company, which runs one of Europe's biggest animal testing laboratories, has been targeted ever since abuse was uncovered by a TV crew in 1997.

Investors were lobbied and corporate backers persuaded to withdraw financing for HLS in one of the most successful animal rights campaigns. …

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