HOW refreshing it was last week to read of the animal rights terrorists being sent to prison. Some of you will remember my suggestion, a year or so ago, that we should stop using the rather anodyne word activist when referring to the people who firebomb
HOW refreshing it was last week to read of the animal rights terrorists being sent to prison. Some of you will remember my suggestion, a year or so ago, that we should stop using the rather anodyne word "activist" when referring to the people who firebombed cars in my village and attacked the managing director of Huntingdon Life Sciences with baseball bats.
The offences for which they were actually convicted involved breaking into the offices of firms which did business with HLS, wearing frightening masks, and threatening the staff unless the company stopped dealing with HLS.
The staff were told that their photographs would be placed on the Internet, to encourage people to commit unspecified acts against them. In the light of what I have described above, I was particularly taken with the pleading of the ringleader that he should not be imprisoned because he had no idea that people would be frightened by his actions.
There are only two possibilities there: either he was lying to save his freedom, or he is so intellectually challenged that he should be living in a pond.
It should not matter whether you are for or against animal testing. Like it or not, it is legal in this country. And, in this democracy, that means that one should obey all the laws laid down by our Government - not just the ones with which we personally happen to agree.
If you want the law changed, the traditional system in this country is to lobby your MP, write letters, march on peaceful demonstrations and similar democratic methods of arguing your case.
Firebombing and grievous bodily harm are frowned upon by most civilised people. Threats about what might happen to you and your family were all very well in the Third Reich, but most of us can do without them here.
It takes me back to the days when Sir Oswald Mosley (who started the British Fascist Movement before the last war) said to Anthony Eden: "I am thinking of putting my chaps into black shirts."
"I should advise against that," said Eden, "when the English feel strongly about something they march in grey flannels and sports jackets.