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Bossy on behalf of the defenceless.


Sir, - As I just may be one of those people referred to on your Comments page (Post, Jan 19) as 'dedicating their lives to telling others how best to behave', may I please respond to your extremely cutting remarks concerning campaigners against the abuse of animals?

While I well understand the frustrations of people desperate to stop cruelty to animals, be it in vivisection laboratories, on factory farms etc, I personally do not condone violence in any shape or form.

How annoying it is, therefore, that the thousands of people like myself who have stood peacefully with our placards (and still do) outside all sorts of establishments where animals suffer appallingly are, by and large, ignored by the media. It seems that only violence makes headline news - and for all the wrong reasons.

Who else is going to speak up for the voiceless if we don't? Just what is so wrong in extending our compassion to all other animals that live on this earth? Contrary to what hunt supporters would have you believe, we do not regard Mr Fox as a cuddly pet. We know that nature is cruel but of all species, man is the cruelest by far.

Man is responsible for the millions of chickens incarcerated in stinking sheds to provide cheap eggs and meat. Man is responsible for 'engineering' cows to produce such enormous quantities of milk that they invariably succumb to mastitis and laminitis and are worn out when only a fraction of the way through their natural lifespan. Their reward? A one way trip to the slaughterhouse, sometimes even when heavily pregnant!

As for slaughterhouses, the number of animals that are fully conscious when their throats are cut beggars belief.

With Huntingdon Life Sciences making headline news, I have waited in vain for some unbiased reporting on vivisection. Undercover filming at HLS shown on Channel 4 has shown appalling cruelty to beagle puppies. More recently, information leaked from Imutran's laboratories showed the agony of baboons with pigs' hearts stitched onto their necks . There are many more examples of such abuse. On TV we are shown laboratory animals being handled by the vivisectors - never are we allowed to see what these people are actually to do to them. Why the secrecy? If there is nothing to hide then let us all see what really goes on behind the barbed wire and security gates.

Your readers may be unaware that there are many scientists conducting non-animal research which will undoubtedly give far more accurate results than animal experimentation. If animal experiments are so reliable then why did we have babies born with deformities as a result of their mothers taking the anti-morning sickness drug Thalidomide?

Why did Opren, an arthritis drug, cause severe light sensitivity in many of the people taking it? There is an enormous list of drugs, all tested on animals, that have caused severe side effects in humans. Information on non-animal experimentation can be obtained from the Humane Research Trust (tel: 0161 439 8041), the Dr Hadwen Trust (tel: 01462 436844) or The Lord Dowding Fund (tel: 0181 846 9777).

Bossy or not, I will continue to speak up for my fellow beings and continue to do all that I can to prevent their suffering.

You quoted G K Chesterton. Here is my offering to you:

'The World is dangerous to live in;

not because of those who do evil,

but because of those who look on and let them do so.' - Albert Einstein.


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Title Annotation:Letter
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 1, 2001
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