Animals --on UK channel 4
Dec 2005. Rpt Channel 4 12 Jan 2006 10pm, repeated January 11
Webchat Mon 12 Dec 11pm, with Dr Simon Festing (head of the Research Defense Society) and John Curtin (animal rights activist). Read the transcript.
Animals is a dramatised account of the conflict between animal rights activists and scientists that escalates into an intensely polarised, vicious and hard-fought battle.
Those trying to stop animal experimentation have been named 'quasi-terrorists' stopping at nothing to achieve their objectives. Those who are engaged in animal research do so under siege: if they haven't been singled out already, they work in secret and under threat.
Are these people pioneering heroes trying to save human life and cure disease, or are they complicit in an animal holocaust where millions of animals suffer terrible pain in the arrogant name of science?
This film follows the fictional stories of laboratory biologist Bob Thornwell, and animal rights activist Samantha McFarland, as their lives intertwine and clash violently.
It is through these principal characters and their radically different perspectives that we see the animal rights debate and the people involved over several turbulent years. The laboratory survives and the testing continues but Thornwell and McFarland pay a heavy price for their beliefs.
Throughout the programme, documentary interviews will look at the broader questions of the debate, informing the human stories of the drama.
John Curtin, an animal rights activist, appears in Animals. Read about John Curtin