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Sunday Express, 15th July 2001 - Author: Tim Shipman (Deputy Political Editor)
THOUSANDS of animals will be saved from death and injury in scientific experiments after anti-vivisection campaigners won a landmark legal battle with the British Government. The Labour Party avoided a potentially humiliating High Court show-down by agreeing to enforce laws which make it illegal for laboratories to conduct animal tests where there are alternative techniques which do not harm them. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) brought the case, complaining that Labour had failed to live up to a boast that it only licenses experiments on rats, mice, monkeys and rabbits where absolutely necessary.
One gruesome experiment currently involves mice being injected with fluid into their stomachs. This creates a tumour to produce antibodies for use in medical tests, but the process can be conducted in a test tube instead. The BUAV conceded that tests would have to continue where there are no test tube alternatives, but campaigners hailed the settlement a life-saving precedent for all laboratory animals. Michelle Thew, the Union's chief executive, said: "The bottom line is that thousands of lives will be saved. The principle has finally been established that once there's a scientifically established alternative to animal experimentation it has to be used. That will save the lives of rabbits, dogs, guinea pigs and monkeys."
The Government has agreed to tell all laboratories still conducting the mouse tests that they must now produce the antibodies in a test tube. And the Government will no longer license British animal experiments by foreign companies when non-animal alternatives are available. The Home Office also agreed to pay BUAVs legal costs. Campaigners now hope the Government will be more vigorous in its lobbying of other international regulators and countries to persuade them to use the alternative methods.
A Home Office spokeswoman played down the settlement as merely a confirmation of existing policy, but admitted the Government would contact the testing companies. She said: "The policy hasn't changed. We have agreed to restate it for the sake of clarity The BUAV agreed with us that the tests must continue where there are no alternatives." But she admitted: "We consider it fair that we pay their costs given the need to clarify matters."
Ms Thew accused the Government of failing to enforce its own laws to protect the business interests of international contract testing firms like Huntingdon Life Sciences. She said: "We always accepted that some tests have to go on, but if they were simply clarifying the policy why did they not do so last year when we began the case rather than wait until the week-end before we go to court? "This blows the lid on the Government's professed commitment to non-animal alternatives. It's absolutely pathetic that we have to threaten them with court to get them to enforce the law. Every time their commitment is tested a little more of the shine rubs off. "It's quite sickening that you only realise the little protection there is for laboratory animals when you challenge the Government in court."
BUAV's legal victory is a boost for anti-vivisection campaigners following negative publicity about violence by extremists against contract testing companies like Huntingdon Life Sciences. The Department of Trade and Industry earlier this month allowed them to set up a current account with the Bank of England after threats were made to other financial institutions. When company bosses gave evidence to a House of Lords committee on animal testing in early July 2001, they requested that proceedings be conducted behind closed doors to avoid their pictures becoming posted on the Internet.
January 2001 - Dog Stew Is Taken Off The Menu
Dog and cat stew is off the menu for the Taiwanese after the government gave in to pressure from animal rights groups. Dog stew is still considered a winter staple by many of the country's older generation, but the younger more westernised youth of Taiwan have voiced their opposition to the traditional fare.
From now on, if anyone is caught killing dogs or cats for food they will be fined between £40 and £200 ($60 and $300).
"Our nation can now tell the world Taiwan bans killing and eating dogs, that we are a progressive and civilised country," said a Taiwanese lawmaker.
Note: Only time will tell if this law works.
February 2000 - New Law Criminalizes Depictions of Animal Cruelty (USA)
The United States Congress has passed and President Clinton has signed into law a bill which criminalizes the depicting of animal cruelty. The depiction of animal cruelty is defined as "any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording of conduct in which an animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded or killed, of such conduct is illegal under federal law or the law of the state in which the creation, sale, or possesion takes place. Exempted from the law is "any depiction that has serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historic or artistic value." This exemption was added because it was feared the law could be interpreted so broadly that animal documentaries and other legitmate productions would be illegal.
Reprinted with permission from PetEducation.com
PetEducation.com, courtesy of Dr. Race
Foster and Dr. Marty Smith, © 2000 Drs. Foster and
Smith, Inc. Free pet supply catalog: 1-800-323-4208
Victory for Protesters as farm that bred animals for research shuts down.
Wanted, good homes for 800 cats saved by a whisker from death.
Life on the inside. Their eyes staring in bewilderment, these cats could be forgiven for feeling a little confused. But these cats, and hundreds like them, have been spared. Now the RSPCA is hoping animal lovers will come forward to give them new homes.
Saturday 14th August 1999 - The Express National Newspaper (UK).
They were among 800 taken to an RSPCA holding centre following the closure of Britain's last establishment to breed cats for scientific research and testing. All the 800 cats are in need of good homes.
Animal Rights Protesters welcomed the closure of Hill Grove Farm in Witney, Oxfordshire (UK).
Thirty-three RSPCA Officers transported the 800 cats in a fleet of 16 vans to their holding centres. Chris Laurence, the RSPCA's Chief Veterinary Officer, said: "All of the cats are healthy and used to human contact. Our aim is to provide a brighter future for them by finding loving new homes for each one."
Animal activist Carla Lane, the TV script writer said of the closure: "This is absolutely brilliant. It is a wonderful day for all those who care about animals."
The National Anti-Vivisection Society which claimed the farm supplied cats for vivisection, said: "We're delighted."
The RSPCA hotline for cat rehoming is:
Radio Listeners Save Kitten
Thursday 12th August 1999 - Express and Star Newspaper - West Midlands (UK).
Radio listeners stepped in to reprieve an eight-week-old stowaway kitten from death.
The kitten was found in a crate of oranges from Spain in a Fruit Shop in Cambridgeshire (UK), and Government officials said it would have to be put down.
But a local radio station launched an appeal to save the kitten and listeners raised £1000 in less than 90 minutes which with a donation of £300 from the Cats Protection, was enough to pay for vaccinations and quarantine.