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Horne's hungry for some publicity.

When hunger-striking Barry Horne's Animal Rights mates kept saying he was in a coma, only hours from death, that his liver had packed up and he was deaf and blind, they were actually telling huge porky-pies - if you'll excuse the apposite rhyming slang.

When they said Horne was prepared to die to save animals - something they regarded as noble and worthy, even if sensible people did not - that was another piece of fiction. In fact, while this portrait of caring martyrdom was being conjured up, Horne was sitting up in his hospital bed watching telly and, for all we know, eating a takeaway pizza.

His triumphant abandonment of his hunger strike had crowds cheering in Trafalgar Square. No protesters outside the hospital, objecting to the fact that he had caved in and decided to live after all, you'll note.

But we still don't know whether, as his supporters claim, he called it off after secretly meeting a Home Office official who caved in to his anti-vivisection demands. Or whether he was actually dismayed at being sent back to starve in jail instead of the state continuing to pay the costs - pounds 14,000 so far - of guarding him in hospital.

Or whether any of his friends were duped into believing he intended to starve himself to death or whether they were all in on the publicity stunt. After all, this is the third time he's gone through the same charade. Crying wolf appears to be a habit wit h Horne.

It would be an outrage if the government really had caved in to his blackmailing tactics, but what puzzles me most is that only now, when his performance is over, have the hospital doctors and prison authorities told us that he was a lot healthier than t he daily bulletins led us to believe and that he actually cheated by drinking sugary tea and orange juice.

We were told repeatedly that the damage to his body was irreversible. Now the doctors are saying the opposite. Why have they kept quiet until now? They weren't scared of repercussions from this crazed crew, surely? The only good thing to emerge from this scam is that it has robbed the Animal Rights fanatics of any credibility they might have once had.
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Author:Martingale, Moira
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 16, 1998
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