On Sunday, October 2, the prestigious and conservative UK newspaper, The Times, came down hard against animal rights activists, and hard against the use of animals for cosmetic product tests. The editorial is on line at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2091-1807168,00.html and I will paste it below.
The militants in our movement embarrass much of the mainstream. And the mainstream has concerns, which this piece show to be valid, of having the animal protection image tarnished as we are all lumped together. Every social movement has militants who embarrass the mainstream - and every movement has moved forward, some would say despite the militants, some would say because of them. We generally see a good cop bad cop scenario, where the public is driven towards a movement's more palatable representatives.
In the Sunday Times piece below, all animal rights activists are painted with the same brush and called "a stain on our society." Then the Times details some despicable experiments on "defenceless animals" and suggests that "we should ask serious questions about making animals suffer purely for cosmetic reasons." Would the Times have made that point if it were not running a piece on the militant activists the editors disdain?
In my chapter in "Terrorists or Freedom Fighters" and also in the brand new "In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave" edited by Peter Singer (see www.DawnWatch.com/recommended_reading.htm ) , I suggest that being liked by the media is useful (arguably crucial) but that the press can be kind to animals without being kind to animal rights activists. The piece below demonstrates that point. However, it is best that we are not all thought to be terrorists. Therefore it is important for those who would never engage in militant activity to respond to pieces such as this one, speaking on behalf of the animals in a voice different from that which the Times expects. The Times of London takes letters at: email@example.com
Always include your full name, address and telephone number when sending a letter to the editor.
Those who wish to question the article's tacit assumption that all medical research (not for cosmetic testing) using animals is essential might like to check out http://www.curedisease.com/ and click on "An Introduction to the Issue."
Here is the Sunday Times editorial:
Being dumb with the dumb
Animal rights activists are a stain on our society. Whatever the public sympathy for their cause, they dissipate it with their violent and repugnant methods. Who could support those who dug up Gladys Hammond's body because her relatives ran a farm breeding guinea pigs for medical research? After years of hate mail, malicious telephone calls, hoax bombs and arson attacks, the theft of her remains was a terrible crime. The farm has stopped breeding the animals but her body has yet to be returned. Or what of Leapfrog Day Nurseries? It was threatened with violence for operating a childcare scheme for Huntingdon Life Sciences, the activists' bete noire.
The tactics of the Animal Liberation Front, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and others should concern us all. From targeting the companies themselves, they gradually spread the net. In the case of Huntingdon, they successfully went after its bankers. The home of a GlaxoSmithKline executive was firebombed, with his wife and daughter at home, because of his firm's links to Huntingdon. The effect is to damage Britain commercially and to hinder research that is essential to medical breakthroughs. It also drives scientists away from this country. Activists last week planted incendiary devices at Oxford University in protest over the proposed South Parks Laboratory. The government, which has repeatedly emphasised its commitment to science and to defeating animal rights terrorism, has done little to protect the victims of these actions.
Yet scientists and these companies can be their own worst enemies. An activists' target is a Scottish laboratory testing the safety of breast implants by sewing them into rabbits' bodies. Is this necessary? It smacks of the smoking beagles of the past, or of concentrated shampoo being dripped into the eyes of defenceless animals. Testing drugs on animals that can be used to save lives or stop debilitating diseases is justified. But we should ask serious questions about making animals suffer purely for cosmetic reasons.