Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Animal Rights Activists: A Step Too Far

Some may find this article upsetting and the pictures I've added thought-provoking or even tragic. This will always be a controversial topic. Therefore, I'm warning you now if you don't like the subject of animal testing, please leave now. It only features briefly in the text. However, the pictures are there to remind you of the real issue that many are debating.

I'm a vegetarian because I have a respect for animals and am not a practising animal rights activist for a few reasons. The first is because I don't think things are as clear cut as most activists would have you believe. There is going to be an obvious bias. Secondly, a lot of the methods that are used (by extremists, rather than the majority) I can not condone. They are creating a stereotype of animal rights activists which puts me off campaigning.

The issue I want to raise is in relation to the recent BBC news article: Sentencing of Huntingdon Life Sciences hate campaigners. The article details six members of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) who have been sentenced because of their campaign of hatred. These people used blackmail, sent hoax bombs to homes and offices that were supplying HLS, caused criminal damage and were behind abusive phone calls. Here is an exert from the article which I found sickening:

"Threats of violence were also used to force companies to cut links with HLS.

Some company directors had leaflets distributed near their homes falsely telling neighbours they were convicted paedophiles and others had tampons sent through the post saying the blood on them was HIV positive.

Company directors and staff had words such as puppy killer, murderer and scum daubed on their houses, cars or on the roads nearby."

Who are Huntingdon Life Sciences?
Huntingdon Life Sciences is a contract animal testing company. On the HLS website, it lists its mission as: To provide a comprehensive range of integrated development services which are recognised to be of superior value by our customers in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, chemical, crop protection, veterinary and food industries; to do so by enhancing regulatory acceptance, speed to market and return on investment of their products.

When is it a step too far?
I feel I have a conscience. There are things I feel are morally right and things I feel are morally wrong. What I can't fathom is how someone who claims to have so much love for animals can have so little value for human life? To threaten another person and persistently harass them crosses a line. And aren't those who seek to protect animals meant to be people with strong morals? It takes dedication to be a vegetarian/vegan. It's not a light hearted decision to choose to live your life a certain way. And vegetarianism/veganism will not be for everyone. I respect other people's decision to eat meat in the same way I respect that some people will feel that the Huntingdon Life Sciences are a place of torture for animals.

I think the real problem here is that people do not have a respect for others opinions and, at worst, they don't even have a respect for their lives. The animal rights activists may feel that peaceful campaigning is not working. However, that does not mean you resort to illegal activity. It seems that some pressure groups turn to civil disobedience when peaceful means fail. This is why animal rights activists lose public sympathy. Without the backing of the public they can't possibly hope to achieve anything. This is why I'm uttering this plea, do not turn to civil disobedience to get your point across. You hurt others and you will look bad. It does nothing to further your issue. Bad publicity reflects badly on you. They only way you have a hope of changing what happens at HLS is through legal methods i.e. demonstrations.

Some Quotes to Finish
Mohandas Gandhi - "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

Gerard Vanderhaar - "We challenge the culture of violence when we ourselves act in the certainty that violence is no longer acceptable, that it's tired and outdated no matter how many cling to it in the stubborn belief that it still works and that it's still valid."

Chinese Proverb - "The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out."

Your Opinion
If you agree or disagree, feel free to add comments. I know that not everyone will agree with me :)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Welcome to my New Blog

Hi everyone. This is my chance to write about something other than books. I chose to start this blog because I'm essentially a very opinionated person who wants to share my views with others. It's a chance for me to share my views on the world as I see it. Hope you enjoy,