Dec 4, 2005
Frog farm shuts after ALF attack
A FROG exporter in Meath is closing down his business following an attack on his property by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a violent international group. Acid was thrown on the businessmanís car and slogans daubed on buildings located around his farm.
Denis McCarthy, who runs the Kells-based Frog Farm, which is Europeís sole exporter of common frogs for medical research, had originally told the group he would retire at the end of this month, in order to forestall further attacks.
McCarthy contacted the Sunday Times yesterday and stated that he was closing the business "with immediate effect" and said he had passed this information on to the ALF via an intermediary.
The ALF said McCarthy had given them an undertaking not to sell the business on, following the attack on Halloween night. The group said that if McCarthy did not follow through on his promise to retire, he would remain a target for further attacks.
"Until he ceases trading and all his equipment is given to animal welfarists for rescue use, he will remain a legitimate target," the group said.
McCarthy, 65, whose frog farm has been in business since 1954, said yesterday that he had been planning to retire in April anyway but had brought it forward. "If thatís what they want, I donít mind," he said. "The less PR on it, the better for me."
McCarthy said there was no business left anyway as European colleges no longer use frogs for vivisection. "The business is finished," he said. "The advice that I got is to bring forward my retirement."
The businessman wouldnít say who had given him this advice. "Itís a very sensitive and difficult problem," he said.
Gardai in Kells said that McCarthy did not make a complaint to them following the Halloween incident.
Bernie Wright of the Alliance for Animal Rights (AAR), which was not involved in the attack but has been active in
pressurizing McCarthy to get out of business, said that an intermediary who was liaising between the ALF and McCarthy had informed her of his decision to shut down.
"The AAR supports the action taken against Denis McCarthy but we were not involved in the attack on his frog farm. We donít believe it is violence, it is property damage," said Wright.
Robin Webb, a UK-based spokesperson for the ALF, said: "The frogs that are exported are used for medical research and vivisection. All individuals of any species can feel stress and pain. Frogs are no different."
McCarthyís frogs were used in a joint experiment by Kingís College, London, and the University of Lund in Sweden as part of a study on the central nervous system.