Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters

 

Vernon Coleman: Animal Rights Human Wrongs

ANIMAL RIGHTS HUMAN WRONGS

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Introduction

"Multitudes of human beings were systematically fattened for the carnivora. They were frequently forwarded to great distances by train, in trucks, without food or water. Large numbers of infants were constantly boiled down to form broth for invalid animals. In over-populous districts babies were given to malicious young cats and dogs to be taken away and drowned. Boys were hunted by terriers and stoned to death by frogs. Mice were a good deal occupied in setting mantraps, bated with toasted cheese, in poor neighbourhoods. Gouty old gentlemen were hitched to night-cabs, and forced to totter, on their weak ankles and diseased joints, to clubs, where fashionable young colts were picked up, and taken, at such speed as whipcord could extract, to visit chestnut fillies. Flying figures in scarlet coats, buckskins and top-boots were run down by packs of foxes that had nothing else to do. Old cock-grouse strutted out for a morning's sport, and came in to talk of how many brace of country gentlemen they had bagged. Gamekeepers lived a precarious life in holes and caves. They were perpetually harried by game and vermin; held fast in steel traps, their toes were nibbled by stoats and martens; and finally, their eyes picked out by owls and kites, they were gibbeted alive on trees, head downwards, until the termination of their martyrdom. In one especially tragic case, a naturalist in spectacles dodged about painfully among the topmost branches of a wood, while a orang-outang underneath, armed with a gun, inflicted on him dreadful wounds. A veterinary surgeon of Alfort was stretched on his back, his arms and legs secured to posts, in order that a horse might cut him alive for the benefit of an equine audience; but the generous steed, incapable of vindictive feelings, with one disdainful stamp on the midriff, crushed the wretch's life out."

Hamley (Our Poor Relations) Boston, 1872

I want to see an end to cruelty to animals. I want to see animal experiments stopped. I want to be alive to celebrate the end of hunting. I want to see abattoirs closed down and car parks full of animal transport lorries, engines dead and empty of terrified sheep, cows and other creatures. I want to see all the world's farmers concentrating on growing crops (with the wonderful side effect that world hunger will immediately end). I want all this to happen soon. I want it more than I want anything else in this life. I want it more than I want greater wealth or eternal life. If Aladdin appeared before me and gave me three wishes I would improve the odds by asking for the same thing three times: an end to all cruelty.

People have been fighting for animals for centuries. But nothing positive has happened. All that effort has been to no avail. I have an irrepressible, constant suspicion that animals are treated worse now than at any time in human history.

Part of the problem has, of course, been that there has been incessant in fighting within the pro-animal movement – largely, but not exclusively, through vanity and self interest.

This is in notable contrast to what has happened within the animal abuse industry, where there has been almost constant agreement and an enthusiasm about working together which should be envied by the pro-animal movement.

Ingenuity and Imagination

Farmers, scientists and others have shown appalling ingenuity and imagination in creating an apparently endless variety of ways to abuse the other creatures with whom we share this world.

The barbarism of the Roman circuses is as nothing compared to the barbarism of the modern vivisector's laboratory, the obscenity of the modern abattoir or the cruel indecency of today's animal factory.

Slavery has stopped. Women have been emancipated. Apartheid, in all its human forms, has been roundly condemned. But the abuse of animals has accelerated.

Making The Difference

I want to be alive to see an end to cruelty to animals. I want to know that I have been part of the final thrust which has made the difference. I want to know that I have made a difference.

Of course, I can't do anything by myself – any more than you can. But I believe that we can stop animal cruelty if we work together.

If we learn everything we can from history, study our opponents weaknesses and strengths, put aside all personal vanities (and have the courage to ignore those alleged animal supporters who take every opportunity to snipe and gripe at anyone who dares to try something new) then we will have a better chance of success than ever before.

If we sincerely and seriously want to stop animal cruelty we can.

But if we don't want it enough – and aren't prepared to put in the necessary effort – animals will continue to suffer for generations to come. Stopping the growth in cruelty to animals which has stigmatised this and previous generations, will become harder and harder with each year that passes.

Labour Boasts And Vote Winning Promises

Thousands of pro-animal campaigners put a great deal of faith in the Labour Party before the election of 1997.

Labour politicians had, for over a decade, never failed to boast about their own solid pro-animal credentials. They had condemned the Tories for failing to introduce legislation designed to help protect animals.

Before the 1997 general election the Labour Party made a number of very specific promises which were designed to attract and win the votes of animal lovers everywhere. They determinedly (and, it now seems, cold-bloodedly and cold-heartedly) set about winning the pro-animal vote by making a series of quite specific promises on a huge range of animal issues. In political terms these promises were made with ruthless efficiency.

The Labour Party promised that they would end hunting, they promised to stop the pointless and obscene official killing of badgers, they proposed a Royal Commission to investigate (and presumably expose) the scientific worthlessness of animal experiments and they promised a ban on testing weapons on animals. They promised that vivisectors would not be allowed to use monkeys. They promised an immediate ban on hunting on Forestry Commission and Ministry of Defence land.

These promises attracted many votes because the other two leading parties in Britain (the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrat Party) offered little or nothing to animal lovers. The Conservatives, the party of cruelty, had consistently encouraged the exploitation of animals for 'fun' and profit. They had even given the police new powers to subdue anyone daring to protest on behalf of animals. And the Liberal Democrats had little more to offer animal rights supporters.

The Betrayal

But animal loving supporters of the Labour Party were destined to be disappointed. As soon as they won power the Labour Party reneged on their promises; they betrayed the voters who had trusted them and they betrayed the animals for whom there had been no other hope.

In retrospect the Labour Party has done no more for animals than any other party would have done. In some ways they have done less. They allowed hunting on Ministry of Defence and Forestry Commission land to continue. They announced new government funded defence experiments on monkeys. They reneged on their promise to push through a ban on hunting. And instead of stopping the killing of badgers they increased government authorised badger killing.

And the Labour government has, of course, actively and specifically encouraged the police to suppress dissent and to stop critics reminding the world of their broken promises.

(It is perhaps relevant to point out that the Labour government has betrayed a good many other people in addition to animal campaigners. They have betrayed students, the old, gays, the disabled and all those small groups of people who cannot easily defend themselves or fight for themselves. They have, generally speaking, betrayed people who have one thing in common: little or no influence in the corridors of power. It is perhaps hardly surprising that they have betrayed animals who, after all, do not even have a vote. The Labour Party has broken its pre-election promises to millions. If it were not impossible to take a government to court the Labour Party would be defending several million lawsuits from aggrieved voters who wanted their votes back – and damages too.)

Anger And Frustration

When I began to write this book I was inspired to do so by a mixture of anger and frustration. I was angry at the way that the government had got into power through lying. I felt cheated. And I knew that many thousands of other pro-animal campaigners felt the same way.

I had, I confess, never believed the Labour Party's promises. Before the election I refused to support them or to encourage others to believe them. I was not convinced that the people who would be responsible for keeping the promises which were being made were honest and trustworthy. I felt that their desire for power was so great that they would do – and say – anything in order to win votes. I made all this clear in numerous newspaper articles.

But my scepticism did not alter the fact that the promises were made.

And I felt just as frustrated as the millions who had believed those promises, and who felt personally cheated and betrayed. My frustration has been enhanced by the fact that, for a variety of reasons, most of the British media has refused to report the Labour Party's failure to live up to its pre-election commitments.

On The Record

I originally intended to write a book to draw attention to the Labour Party's cold-hearted deceit in the hope that future voters would learn a lesson from what happened in 1997. I wanted to put on record exactly what had happened, and to encourage future voters to be cynical and cautious when faced with extravagant and convincing promises made by politicians desperately searching for power.

And I hoped that I would, perhaps, be able to offer a few answers and some advice learnt from these events.

I believe that ending the abuse of animals is the final challenge; the last main obstacle to civilisation. And I believe that in order to win the battle on behalf of animals those of us who care have to arouse massive public indignation.

Slavery was abolished because public outrage simply became too much for the politicians to withstand.

Similarly, animals will not get the rights they are entitled to until the mass of people are convinced by the evidence, or more likely their perception of the evidence, that the continued abuse of animals is unacceptable.

The Good News, The Bad News And The Bottom Line

The bad news is that the opposition to giving animals their freedom (and giving them back their basic rights) is supported by rich and powerful people and corporations who (largely for financial reasons) want to retain the status quo.

The good news is that those of us who want to see an end to animal abuse are in the majority. Most people want animal cruelty stopped.

It is true that modern pro-animal demonstrations do not attract vast numbers of people. One reason for this is that many caring people are now too frightened of the police to stand up in public for their principles. Turning up to a demonstration to protest about the way animals are treated requires a strong commitment as well as courage. It also takes up time and costs money. I am constantly surprised not by the fact that so few people turn up to protest about crimes against animals but that so many people are prepared to give up their time and spend their money for the privilege of being pushed around by often stony-faced police officers who sometimes seem to be enjoying the opportunity to use their muscles.

The bottom line is that in order to defend animals, and to gain for them their basic rights as sentient creatures, we have to change politics and change the way our modern society is organised.

Taking Back Power

Somewhere along the way this book changed direction.

Instead of being primarily concerned with the past (and the Labour Party's failure to fulfil its promises) the spirit of the book became primarily concerned with the future.

A book which had begun life as an angry and outraged attack on politicians who had broken their promises became a book in which I planned to offer new hope for the future – and a way forward out of the gloom.

Back in 1991, in a book now entitled How To Overcome Toxic Stress And The 21st Century Blues (published by the European Medical Journal) I explained that we have created a society over which human beings no longer have any effective control. We have disenfranchised ourselves. That book provided me with the philosophical basis upon which I could build my proposal for winning this battle.

The 21st Century Blues

In order to explain why our world is so uncaring, and why animal abuse is on the increase, I must first explain why and how we have become disenfranchised – and who (or, rather, what) has taken power over our lives. When you understand why we are disenfranchised, and why animal abuse is on the increase, you will also understand why our food and water are being polluted and why the air we breathe is becoming contaminated.

Strange And Difficult Times

We live in strange, difficult and confusing times. In some ways – largely material – we are richer than any of our ancestors. In other ways – largely spiritual – we are infinitely poorer. Most of us live in well equipped homes that our great grand parents would marvel at. We have access to water at the turn of a tap. (Sadly, the water is deteriorating in quality and is now undrinkable.) At the flick of a switch we can obtain light to work by and heat to cook by. We have automatic ovens, washing machines, tumble driers, dish washers, food blenders, vacuum cleaners, television sets, video recorders and a whole host of other devices designed either to make our working lives easier or our leisure hours longer or more enjoyable. We can travel thousands of miles in a matter of hours.

We are surrounded by the gaudy signs of our wealth and the physical consequence of human ambition and endeavour, but loneliness, unhappiness, anxiety and depression are now commoner than at any previous time in our history. Never before has there been so much sadness, dissatisfaction and frustration as there is today. The demand for tranquillisers and sleeping tablets has steadily increased as our national and individual wealth has increased.

We have access to sophisticated communications systems and we have far more power over our environment than our ancestors ever had and yet we are regularly reminded of our vulnerability and our dependence on the system we have created.

Most important of all is the fact that although we are materially wealthy we are spiritually deprived. We have conquered most of our planet, and some of the space which surrounds it, but we are woefully unable to live peacefully with one another. The more control we have over our environment the more damage we do to it. The more successful we become the more miserable we are. The more we learn the more we forget about our duties and responsibilities to one another.

As manufacturers and advertisers have deliberately translated our wants into needs so we have exchanged generosity and caring for greed and self concern. Politicians and teachers, scientists and parents have encouraged each succeeding generation to convert simple dreams and aspirations into fiery no-holds-barred ambitions. In the name of progress we have sacrificed goodwill, common sense and thoughtfulness. The gentle, the weak and the warm hearted have been trampled upon by hordes who think only of the future. Our society is a sad one; the cornerstones of our world are selfishness, greed, anger and hatred.

During the last fifty years or so we have changed our world beyond recognition. With the aid of psychologists, clever advertising copywriters have learned to exploit our weaknesses and our fears and our natural apprehensions to help create demands for new and increasingly expensive products. Tradition, dignity, craftsmanship, values and virtues have been pushed aside in the search for greater productivity and profitability.

It is hardly surprising that all these changes have produced new stresses and strains. The pressures to succeed, to conform and to acquire ensure that the base levels of daily stress are fixed at dangerously high levels.

For twenty years it has been recognised that stress plays a vital part in the development of most illnesses but today the fastest growing illness in the world is something which I now call 'The 21st Century Blues' – a largely unrecognised problem that already affects one person in three and is spreading rapidly. The 21st Century Blues is caused by 'toxic stress'.

Toxic stress is far more destructive than ordinary stress. It is created – often deliberately – by politicians, lawyers and advertisers and it is the cause of much bitterness and many frustrations. It is the cause of the deep sense of ill defined, inexplicable despair that is typical of victims of The 21st Century Blues.

Toxic stress is the type of stress that is produced by advertisements which make you feel incompetent or inadequate ("You're a failure if you can't afford to dress like this." "You're a terrible parent if you don't buy X or Y for your children.") and it is the type of stress that is produced by lawyers who create laws which mean that however just your cause may be you won't be able to win.

The Perils Of Progress

Much of the stress from which we all suffer is created by our constant determination to progress. Our dedication to progress is one of the reasons why we have lost control of our world.

Without so much progress we would have more time to enjoy our world and our lives; without so much progress we would be better able to find happiness, contentment and stability.

But without progress industry would slow down, economic growth would be stifled and society would stand still. And that would not suit society at all. This is significant because it explains how we have created a world and a society which now control us. For the first time in history our present and our future are controlled not by us, not by our "leaders', but by a social structure which we have devised. Our institutions and multinational corporations need progress in order to create and gain more power. The power in our world is now vested in the institutions themselves; it is the structure of our society which controls us.

Those who work for the institutions which rule our lives tell us that progress is essential but they are lying. They tell is that it is impossible to halt progress but they are lying. What they really mean is that progress is good for business, or that progress offers some advantage in terms of money or power to the part of the social structure to which they are tied. Progress is, ironically, essential to the strength of the status quo.

Most people who work for institutions and multinational corporations will insist that progress means "better'. It doesn't. Progress means that people have to work harder and take life more seriously and it means more stress. Progress means that things become more complicated and more likely to go wrong. Progress means that the things which you bought yesterday (and were happy with until the advertisers convinced you that they were out of date) are useless within months. Progress means that new is always better and that the future is always going to be better than the past.

Progress means that more and more people have to exchange a rich and varied, wholesome and healthy lifestyle for one which is hollow and filled with despair and loneliness. Progress means deprivation for people but strength for our social structures. Progress means that the jobs people do become more boring and less satisfying. Progress means more power to institutions and to machines and computers. Progress means more stress, more destruction, more misery and more tedium. And progress means more cruelty to animals and more damage to our planet.

Are people wiser, happier and more contented now that electric toothbrushes are available? Are faster cars more satisfying than old ones? Are people more at peace than their ancestors now that the compact disc player has been invented?

The truth about progress is something of a compromise. Some advances are good. Some new technology is helpful and does improve the quality of our lives. Some new developments reduce pain, suffering and stress.

But society isn't interested in compromise. Society needs uncontrolled progress in order to grow. And the people who acquire their power and their status and their wealth from society's institutions do what they are expected to do. Our world is no longer controlled by people. It is controlled by the structure that we created.

The truth is that progress can be a boon as well as a burden. It would be as stupid to claim that all progress is bad as to claim that all progress is good. Progress is good when we use it rather than allow it to rule our lives. Progress is neither good nor bad unless we make it so.

But we no longer choose between those aspects of progress which can be to our benefit and those which may be harmful. Now that we no longer control our world we are forced to accept all progress whether we want it or not.

The Hidden Price Of Education

We are taught to take education seriously. We are told that the quality and extent of our education will shape and govern our lives. We are told that if we work hard at school and at college then we will reap the benefits later.

"Study hard, pass your examinations and you will obtain a better job, earn more money and be able to enjoy a more luxurious lifestyle than those who spurn their educational opportunities."

How many children hear that each year? It is the standard stuff of school speech days.

What we are told may, to some extent, be true. But we are never told the real price that we will have to pay for our years of education. We are never told the spiritual price that society expects us to pay in return for having our lives "shaped and improved'.

To understand the potential costs to the spirit and the soul it is necessary to understand the purpose of the education society offers us all. We must understand what our society stands to gain from the deal we are offered.

Nothing that society offers ever comes free and an education is certainly no exception. Society doesn't want to educate us so that we become more thoughtful, more creative or wiser individuals. Society doesn't want to broaden our horizons or enhance our sense of vision. Society doesn't want to instill passion in us (that can be troublesome and inconvenient) and it doesn't want us to know how to think for ourselves (that can be costly and disruptive).

What society really wants is obedience.

Society knows that the obedient will work hard without question. Society knows that the obedient can be relied upon to do work that is dull, repetitive and possibly even dangerous. Society knows that the obedient are unlikely to be troubled by spiritual or moral fears. Society knows that the obedient will fit neatly into whatever hierarchy may exist and society knows that the obedient will always put loyalty above honesty and integrity.

The obedient are always prepared to do what others tell them to do. And the obedient are allowed to climb higher up the ladder. But because they are obedient they always do what they are told – however high they climb. The obedient obey the boss, the politicians, the administrators and the bureaucrats. Most of all the obedient are aware of, and obey, the needs of the institution for which they work.

The obedient also become good and reliable customers.The obedient obey the advertisers and buy things that they don't need. By doing so they help society to evolve and stay strong. The obedient accept shoddy workmanship and unreliability without complaint. They accept new fashions as necessary and they buy new clothes and new cars when society wants them to buy those things – not when they need them. The obedient customer is a passive customer and the passive customer is the best customer.

Think back to your own education and you'll see how important obedience was. With some honourable exceptions most courses which involve a textbook and a teacher, and conclude with an examination, are designed to prevent thought and to encourage obedience. "The best part of every man's education, is that which he gives to himself," wrote Sir Walter Scott. But today we are taught to think of education as something that starts when we begin school and ends when we leave. Society doesn't want us to think for ourselves.

One aim of a modern education is to harness the minds of the imaginative or potentially disruptive. Such individuals are dangerous to a smooth running society.

Society's schoolteachers – the handmaidens of the system – are prepared and willing to manipulate the minds of the young because that is what society expects them to do in return for their own status in society.

Education, the most fundamental force of all, is designed to help produce a neat and layered world. But the price we pay for our education is a high one. And the more successful our education is in society's terms (and the higher our subsequent position in the meritocracy) the greater the price we must pay.

Your choices – or the choices that society helped you make – will have strictly defined the boundaries of your life. You may be better rewarded (in material terms) than many of those who were less capable of satisfying the system but the price you pay will be high too. The price you pay for educational success is intellectual constraint. You may pay for your success with your freedom. You may pay for your success with guilt, frustration, dissatisfaction and boredom.

The modern educational system is designed to support the structure of our society but it is also a major force in the development of stress and misery.

If it is true that our schooldays are the happiest days of our lives it is because by the time we leave school freedom is, for most of us, nothing more than a faint memory.

Regular, mass-market schooling for everyone was originally a by product of the industrial revolution. Prior to the industrial revolution most people lived in villages and hamlets and only a relatively small percentage of the population lived in towns and cities.

The first factories and industrial towns developed in England when industrial machinery such as spinning wheels, which had been installed in cottages, barns and village halls, were smashed by the Luddites; rebellious workers who believed that the introduction of machinery threatened their livelihoods. As a direct result of the Luddite activities the machine owners put their replacement equipment into specially-built 'factories' so that they could be protected against vandalism.

Since public transport did not exist this, inevitably, meant that the people who were going to work in those factories had to be housed nearby. In this way the first new, purpose-built industrial towns developed.

The first schools were built not to educate or to inform but because unless some provision was made for looking after children factory owners could not employ women as well as men. The development of the first towns had meant that family units had been splintered and it was no longer possible for young parents to turn to their own parents for help and support.

Either by purpose, design or simple good fortune it was quickly discovered that the development of formal schooling had an additional benefit. Employers found that children who got into the habit of attending a school for regular hours during the day adapted more readily to work in a factory. Many of their parents, who had been brought up working as farm labourers, found factory work, hours and discipline difficult to get used to. Children who were accustomed to school work, hours and discipline had no such problems.

Today, a formal education is still primarily designed to occupy pupils, to keep them busy and out of mischief, and to prepare them for an ordinary working life. Very little of the tedious by rote learning which goes on in schools has any practical purpose. Children are taught algebra, trigonometry and Latin – and then subjected to examinations designed to find out how well they have absorbed the entirely useless material they have been taught. The aim is to not to teach or impart learning but to produce school leavers who will feel comfortable with the standard working ritual of modern life.

Schooling is a disciplinary activity rather than an educational one (although the latest and most fashionable educational methods – those which are designed to educate without work, study, labour or pain – fail even to instil discipline into pupils). Students are certainly not given information which will enable them to live independent lives. They are taught how to satisfy society's demands for them, rather than taught how to think. Children should be taught the importance of honesty, trust and loyalty. They should be taught to honour the rights of all other creatures. They are, instead, taught the importance of punctuality and blind obedience.

Stop and think about it: why would society want to teach young people how to think for themselves?

People who can think for themselves are likely to be a nuisance rather than an asset to a closely structured society which depends more on discipline and routine than on innovation or imagination.

Students, at schools, colleges and universities, are trained to do as they are told. Is it is for this reason that rules play such a crucial part in all educational establishments. Learning to obey the rules, and do as you are told, is a more important part of most educational establishments than learning to create or to question. Most education and training is designed to make sure that people do not maximise or optimise their own skills but that they accept whatever life or fate offers.

The 'society' which we have created, which now has a purpose and an agenda of its own, does not want thinking citizens. People who think are likely to threaten the status quo.

There are many citizens in our society who believe (with apparent sincerity) that once their formal education is over they can stop learning. They assume that when they leave school, college or university they do so as educationally complete individuals, and that they can, from that point in their lives onwards, stop expanding, exploring and discovering.

This is no accident. It is exactly what 'society' wants.

The Pressure of Advertising

Whatever else you do with your life you will always be a consumer. To the multinational corporations which make items as varied as motor cars, refrigerators, underwear, indigestion remedies, biscuits, coat hangers and kitchen sinks you are a consumer.

In order to persuade you to become a customer the people who provide these products and services spend considerable amounts of money on trying to convince you that their products are better than anyone else's.

Every day your custom is solicited in a thousand different ways – some crude and some subtle. Every day you are bombarded with advertisements telling you to buy one of these and begging you to buy some of those and explaining why your life will be incomplete if you do not spend your money on a little of this and a little of that.

The professionals who prepare advertisements know very well that in order to succeed in the modern market place they must create new needs; they know that their advertising must, through a mixture of exaggeration and deceit (and through exploiting natural fears and weaknesses) create wants and desires, hopes and aspirations and then turn those wants, desires, hopes and aspirations into needs.

Multinational corporations (and their advertising agencies) know that it is impossible to sell anything to a satisfied man. But, in order to keep the money coming in (and to keep the corporate beast satisfied) the advertising agencies must constantly encourage us to buy. They constantly need to find better ways to sell us stuff that we do not really need.

Any fool can sell a product or a service that people need. If your shoes wear out then you will buy new ones or have the old ones repaired. If you are hungry and there is only one restaurant for miles then that restaurant will get your service. If you car is about to run out of petrol then a garage doesn't need to offer you free tumblers or a money off voucher for a car wash in order to win your custom.

As far as the multinational corporations are concerned the trick is to get you to buy shoes when you don't need new shoes and to buy shoes that are more expensive than they need be; to buy food when you are not hungry and to fill your car with petrol long before its tank is empty simply because you are attracted by the offer that accompanies a particular brand of fuel.

The multinational corporations want to turn your most ephemeral wants into basic needs. In order to do this their advertising agencies use all their professional skills to make you dissatisfied with what you already have. They need you to be constantly dissatisfied and frustrated. Modern advertising is a scientifically based creative art which is designed to raise the intensity of your desires and build your dissatisfaction and your fears. The advertising copywriter is hired to create unhappiness.

Multinational corporations want to take away your appreciation of the simple things in life because they know that there is more profit in making things more complicated, more expensive and more unreliable. They want you to be in so much of a hurry that you eat instant foods rather than growing and preparing your own vegetables. They want you to ride in a car rather than walk or ride a bicycle. They want to make you feel guilty if you don't smell right or don't buy the right breakfast cereal for your children. They want you to feel a failure if you don't have the latest clothes on your back and the latest gadgets in your home. Their advertising is most successful when it persuades you to forget your real needs and to replace them with wants.

Even if you don't have the money to spend on new cars, kitchen furniture, clothes and other goods so cleverly advertised you will not escape. Advertising, designed to inflame your desires, will show you services you cannot buy and things you cannot have. It will create wants and then turn those wants into needs. Advertising creates frustration and disappointment, envy and dissatisfaction. If you are too poor to buy the things which are advertised you will never discover that the products on offer are unlikely to satisfy the promises made for them.

In the hands of the multinational corporations (and their human slaves) advertising is the symbol of modern society; it frequently represents false temptations, hollow hopes and unhappiness and disenchantment; it often inspires values which are based on fear and greed. In short, the multinational corporations deliberately use advertising to make people disatisfied and unhappy.

How Fear Creates Stress

Your ancestors lived in a world about which they understood very little and where they were constantly in danger. They had many things to be afraid of: death, pain, starvation and being eaten alive by wild animals to mention but four.

We, in contrast, should lead relatively fear-free lives.

But all the evidence firmly shows that fear plays a much bigger part in our lives than it ever played in the lives of our ancestors.

Why?

Probably because society (our unseen controller) needs us to be frightened. Fear is a powerful driving force which helps to push us forwards. Fear encourages us to accept things we do not like, to do work we do not enjoy and to spend money on things we neither want nor need. Fear cripples us but keeps us compliant. Fear is one of the most potent of all forces and it used to control us and to manipulate our emotions.

Consider health for example.

You are encouraged to worry about your health in a thousand separate ways. Listen to the experts arguing about what is bad for you and you will soon feel twinges of fear nibbling at you. Most of the time your fears are created and maintained by people who have a vested, commercial interest in exploiting your fears so that they can sell you something.

The companies which make caffeine-free coffee tell you the virtues of drinking caffeine-free coffee – and warn you of the hazards of drinking ordinary coffee. The people who make low-fat products warn you of the hazards of eating high-fat products. Companies selling herbal remedies tell you how dangerous doctors can be. Companies making sweeteners warn you of the dangers of eating sugar. Companies involved in the marketing or distribution of sugar warn you of the danger of sugar substitutes. Lobbyists, marketing experts and spin doctors all distort the truth in order to promote a particular message, create a special type of fear and sell a product.

Fear is everywhere and is constantly used by people who want to manipulate you. Fear isn't just used by the multinational corporations. Politicians and police chiefs frighten you about street violence in order to encourage you to give them more power. Politicians make you frightened of your enemies abroad for the same reason. (These days when politicians find themselves under pressure at home they invariably start a war abroad. Margaret Thatcher discovered the electoral value of a war when the Falkland's conflict helped her win an election. Was it a complete coincidence that Bill Clinton sent American aeroplanes to bomb Iraq just at the same time that his peers were discussing whether or not he should be impeached?) Television and radio means that you can be frightened more speedily and more effectively than ever before. Fear helps our society to sustain itself and to increase its power.

We Have Lost Control

Science fiction writers have, in the past, written about a future in which man loses power over his world because computers and robots have taken control. That hasn't happened. But we have, unthinkingly and unknowingly, lost power in a quite different way. We have lost power, and handed over control of our lives to an untouchable, nebulous, almost indefinable force. We have handed over control to institutions, organisations and multinational corporations which use our educational system to teach us to obey authority and which skilfully use advertising to create needs and fears.

If you carefully examine the way the world is being run at the moment you could reasonably come to the conclusion that most multinational corporations, and most governments, are more or less exclusively controlled by ruthless, James Bond villain style psychopathic megalomaniacs.

What other explanation could there be for the fact that drug companies make and sell drugs which they know are both dangerous and ineffective? What other explanation could there be for the fact that food companies make and sell food which they must know causes cancer and contains very little of nutritional value? What other explanation could there be for the fact that arms companies sell products deliberately designed to blow the legs off small children? What other explanation could there for the fact that tobacco companies continue to make, promote and sell products which they know kill a high proportion of their customers? And what other explanation could there possibly be for the fact that bureaucrats, civil servants and politicians allow all this to happen?

There is another explanation for all these things.

For the very first time in history the main opponents of justice and fair play, the proponents of abuse and tyranny, have no human form. We have created new monsters: new monsters which we cannot see or touch. (We cannot see or touch them for the excellent reason that they do not exist in reality).

For the first time in history we have succeeded in creating a world, a society, which now exists solely to defend, protect and develop itself. We have created a society whose institutions have acquired power of their own. These institutions – governments, multinational corporations, multinational bureaucracies and so on – now exist solely to maintain, improve and strengthen themselves. These institutions have their own hidden agendas and the human beings who work for them may think that they are in control but they aren't.

I now believe that the biggest threat to the survival of the human race (and the planet upon which we live) comes not from the atomic bomb, or the fact that we are steadily destroying the very fabric of our world by polluting our seas, our rivers, the air we breathe and even the space which separates us from other planets, but from the fact that we have created a social structure in which we, as human beings, now exist as mere drones. It is this new social structure which is pushing us along at a great speed and 'forcing' us not only to destroy our environment but also to abandon all those moral and ethical values which it is reasonable to expect to be fundamental in a 'civilised' society.

It may be a little difficult to accept the concept of institutions having agendas of their own but the reality is that this is exactly what has happened.

The people who appear to run large institutions, and who themselves undoubtedly believe that they are in charge, are simply institutional servants.

Consider, for example, the chairman and directors of a large multinational pharmaceutical company. These well paid men and women will regard themselves as being responsible for the tactics and strategy followed by the company for which they work. But in reality it is the company itself – an institution which only really exists on paper – which is in real control.

Every multinational company has a constant thirst for cash. In order to satisfy bankers, brokers and shareholders companies need to produce quarterly figures which show a nice big, fat profit on the bottom line.

The people who work for our imaginary drug company may think that they are in control but in reality they aren't. The directors have to do what is in their company's best interests. If they don't then their company will falter and that can't be allowed to happen. The company, the unimaginably powerful corporate demon, must come first.

So, for example, if the directors find that one of their products causes lethal side effects they may, as human beings, feel ashamed about this. Individually the directors may want to withdraw the drug immediately and to apologise to the people who have been injured by their product. But this course of action would not be in the company's best short term interests. Withdrawing the drug would doubtless cost the company money. Research and development costs would have to be written off. And apologising would expose the company to lawsuits. So the directors, acting in the company's best interests, must keep the drug on the market and deny that there are any problems. In these circumstances the company (a non-human entity which only exists on paper) is in control. The decisions are made not in the interests of people (whether they be customers or directors) but in the interests of the corporate "being'.

The problem is compounded by the fact that, big as they are, multinational companies have no souls and no sense of responsibility. Moreover, they never think beyond the next set of quarterly figures; they are ultimately ruthless and (since they are inanimate and bloodless) utterly "cold blooded', but they are also ultimately short sighted. Big institutions, like computers, are inherently, irretrievably, stupid. They do not realise that their behaviour will, in the long run, lead to their total destruction – partly because it will annoy and alienate their customers and partly because it will eventually result in the deaths of many of their customers.

By and large, the men and women who run large drug companies, arms companies, food companies and genetic engineering companies don't really want to destroy the world in which we all live. They know that their families have to breathe the same air as you and I. They know that they too need good food, clean drinking water and a healthy environment.

However, despite the evidence being to the contrary the people who run these companies probably think that they are doing good and useful work. They have denied the truth to themselves in order to avoid coming face to face with a reality which would probably drive them insane if they accepted it. It is only through denial and self deceit that most of the men and women who work for tobacco companies can continue to sell a product which causes so much misery and so much death. Adolf Hitler killed fewer people than the big tobacco companies have killed. But I doubt if many of the people running big tobacco companies think of themselves as evil.

I have met men and women who run large organisations (such as drug companies). Some recognise that what they are doing is immoral and they excuse themselves with such trite and shallow phrases as "If I didn't do it someone else would" and "I've got to pay the mortgage". These are, of course, variations on the same excuses favoured by the men and women who operated the gas chambers during the second world war. (The brighter and more sensitive individuals usually see through these excuses in the end; they often become depressed.)

But many men and women who work for drug companies quite honestly and sincerely believe that they are doing useful and indeed valuable work. They have become so deeply institutionalised, and are driven so completely by the needs of the corporate beast, that they genuinely feel no shame about what they do. They have rationalised their actions and denied to themselves the truths which are apparent to outside observers.

Occasionally, this constant denial and self deceit breaks down and absurdities appear. For example, British Members of Parliament have, as members of an institution, consistently voted to allow multinational corporations to pollute our drinking water and to tamper with and pollute our food. And yet MPs themselves, as individuals, are so conscious of the value of the pure food and clean drinking water that in the House of Commons they have arranged to be given spring water to drink and to be fed on organic food which has not been genetically modified. The men and women who vote to allow our water to be polluted and our food to be genetically modified are voting as representatives of institutions rather than as representatives of people. They know that they are creating a world in which the food is unfit to eat and the water unfit to drink. But they can't stop it happening because they are operating for the benefit of institutions rather than people.

Suppressing The Truth

The huge organisations which now run the world have developed identities, strengths, purposes and needs of their own. And in order to continue to grow in size and in strength those organisations need to ignore or suppress as much of the truth as they can – and to ignore the truths which they cannot suppress. Obviously, the people who work for those institutions must also ignore and suppress the unpalatable truths (and they must find ways to hide from the reality of what they are doing).

How else can anyone explain the fact that the (supported by politicians) huge corporations have decided to continue to damage the ozone layer – despite knowing the consequences? How else can anyone explain the fact that because antibiotics are being consistently and deliberately and knowingly used irresponsibly infectious diseases are once again a major cause of death? How else can anyone explain the fact that genetic engineers are creating foods which may or may not be safe to eat? How else can anyone explain the fact that drug companies keep on producing – and selling – products which do more harm than good?

The industrialists, the politicians and the administrators who allow these things to happen are just as vulnerable to the consequences of their actions as you and I. They – and their families – cannot buy immunity to the problems which they are creating.

The amoral but all powerful institutions we have created are not responsible for all the horrors of our world, of course. They are certainly not responsible for all the awful things we do to animals. Men and women who hunt, for example, do not hunt because they are forced to do so by an institution. They hunt because they obtain pleasure from killing and they have failed to recognise the pointless, cruel barbarism of what they do. But a very high percentage of the cruel things which we do to animals are a result of institutional needs.

For example, the continued survival of the meat trade is a result of the fact that the demands and needs of meat producing, packaging and marketing institutions have taken precedence over health and moral concerns and now have control over our lives. It has been known for decades that meat causes cancer (and a whole host of other deadly disorders). And it has also been known that if people became vegetarian and stopped eating animals world hunger would be a thing of the past simply because our resources could be used more productively. There is no question that every human being in the world would benefit if meat eating stopped. No meat industry spokesmen would dare to debate this issue in public because they would inevitably lose.

But many large and profitable companies would go out of business if people no longer ate meat. And so the needs of the institutions take precedence over the needs of the people.

The selfish, self-centered, amoral materialism which has characterised political life for the last few decades, and which has simultaneously accompanied a downfall in morality, can no longer be seen as just another unfortunate blip in human development. The horrors of today will not be easily conquered, and will not be conquered at all unless we acknowledge the breadth and depth of the exceptional problem we now face.

Some years ago Dr Albert Schweizer saw the first signs of what has happened. "Another hindrance to civilisation today," he wrote, "is the over-organisation of our public life. While it is certain that a properly ordered environment is the condition and, at the same time, the result of civilisation, it is also undeniable that, after a certain point has been reached, external organisation is developed at the expense of spiritual life. Personality and ideas are often subordinated to institutions, when it is really these which ought to influence the latter and keep them inwardly alive."

We cannot trust our existing politicians, or the systems which they wrongly believe they control, and so what is the point of trying to persuade them to do what we want them to do – and what is right?

I have come to the conclusion that we have only one option: to take back the political power which is rightfully ours. If we are to change our world, and to replace greed and deceit with truth, kindness and courtesy we have to take action. Nothing will happen unless we want it to happen – and then make it happen. If we are to re-introduce a sense of morality into our world, and end cruelty to people and animals, we have to take back power from the institutions which now rule our lives. If we are going to take back power from the weak, spineless and unthinking politicians and corporate yes-men who serve our controlling institutions with such uncritical faithfulness we have to create our own political force. If we are to end animal cruelty then we have to recreate the way our world is run. We need a political revolution.

And that is what this book is all about.

Vernon Coleman, Devon 1999

Part One:

Abuse And Hypocrisy

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mythical concept of animals...We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they moved finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. "

Henry Beston

Chapter One:

The Final Outrage

like animals. Most of them are more intelligent, more charming, more faithful and more fun than most people and all Conservatives.

Animals were not made for human beings to use any more than women were made for male amusement, or black people were made to work for white people. The struggle for freedom for animals is as important a struggle as any struggle ever fought. Animal abuse is the last great outrage and yet most people are so accustomed to the excruciating suffering of animals that they take little or no notice. They comfort themselves with the false belief that animals have no feelings and, therefore, do not suffer.

Animals – and other non-human creatures – are treated with no more respect than grass, rocks or ripples on a pond. Non-human creatures are regarded as outsiders with no rights other than to serve our human purposes. They may be (and are) beaten, tortured, humiliated, maimed, starved, imprisoned, robbed of their dignity, chased and killed for fun, boiled or skinned alive, eaten and generally abused. Non-human creatures – however wise, however sensitive – are regarded as mere commodities, to be bought and sold like oranges or gold or ears of wheat. Humans seem to take a perverted delight in thinking of new ways to abuse the inhabitants with whom they share this planet.

Signposts To The Nature Of The Human Spirit

People are at their truest when treating animals. The man who is a bully to other human beings will bully his dog. The man who is kind to animals will be kind to people. The way we treat animals provides signposts to the nature of the human spirit.

Many people refer to the animals with whom they share their homes as 'pets' but I sdo not like the image it portrays. Animals are not pets and we do not own them. We share a world together, that is all. We give and we receive.

The animal abusers rule in our society because they are violent and aggressive people. Their illusions and prejudices dominate our society. The rude, the selfish, the ruthless, the bigoted, the cruel, the intolerant, the hard hearted, the hateful and the savage have conquered the earth. The world is divided into two sorts of people: the sensitive and the insensitive. The sensitive suffer for everyone. They don't hurt other creatures but they suffer the pain for the harm done by the insensitive. Hunters, vivisectors, butchers and so on are the insensitive, brutal barbarians of our society.

The animal abusers are the ultimate narrow-minded, tunnel-visioned provincials; full of arrogance and misconceptions. Savage tribes were provincial in that they regarded all strangers as barbarians to be robbed or eaten or both. Today the animal abusers are the ultimate provincials. They do not see or accept that we do not have unique rights over the world but must share it with those other creatures who live upon it.

Prejudices – Ancient And Modern

Back in Roman times any non Roman who committed a heinous crime against a Roman would be executed. If a slave trod on his master's foot he would lose his head. But a Roman could commit any crime against a non-Roman without fear of retribution. This happened because the Romans saw themselves as the centre of the universe.

The Greeks felt much the same as the Romans did in that a Greek could do more or less what he liked to a slave but a slave would be punished severely if he offended a Greek.

And the same is, of course, true of the Jews.

The Romans, the Greeks and the Jews (and many other groups of people) behaved in this way because they had not grown out of their primitive, barbaric view of the world. They never really imagined that their victims could suffer in the same way that they could. They did not think of their victims as having senses, or of being capable of thought. A slave was much like a sandal – something to be bought, used and thrown away when no longer wanted.

In modern times white Americans, South Africans and Australians have all behaved in the same way when dealing with black people. They behaved in this way partly because they had not evolved away from their barbaric origins and partly because white men and women felt that to give black people rights would be economically inconvenient. They protected themselves against the absurdity of this crass reasoning by refusing to acknowledge that black people could think, or reason or suffer.

And, of course, for centuries men of all races have behaved in a similar way towards women – refusing to give them equality for many years and arguing that this was excusable because women were not equal.

Blind Egoists

The way in which human beings now exploit and abuse animals (and other living creatures) is no different in principle to the way in which the Romans treated their slaves, the Americans treated non-white races and the Victorian Englishman treated 'his' women.

In every case the underlying problem is the same: the exploiters see the world from a provincial, small minded standpoint. Those who exploit have inherited from barbarians and savages the utterly self centered belief that they – and they alone – are blessed with wisdom and imagination. They are narrow-minded, bigoted bullies, blind egoists who cares only about themselves and their own tiny world. And they try to support their bigotry and their prejudices with pseudo-scientific nonsenses which bear no resemblance to the truth.

The black man was regarded as having no rights other than to serve the white man. The sheep is regarded as having no rights other than to serve mankind.

People who like animals, and who have been sickened by the barbaric way evil-spirited farmers, tyrannical scientists and other barbarians exploit them, have been campaigning against the establishment and for animal rights for a long, long time. Two and a half thousand years ago Buddha taught that it is as bad for a man to murder a sheep as to murder his father. ("Both equally love life and fear death. In this there is no difference.") After all murder is murder is murder is murder.

Those who love animals are widely regarded (particularly by politicians, scientists and pseudo-intellectuals) as irrational, sentimental, Bambi-hugging bunny lovers. The gentle and the humane have for too long been regarded as merely weak and ineffectual.

The laws and regulations which currently exist to 'protect' animals are conveniently designed so as not to inconvenience humans. The laws and regulations governing the use of animals in experiments are so weak and ineffectual, and so poorly policed, that they might as well not exist. The laws authorise cruelty and oppression more than they try to prevent it. Our laws relating to animals are a sheer disgrace. Experimenters can cause whatever pain they like to animals as long as the cage in which the tortured animal will be imprisoned afterwards is a certain modest size. To make life easy for the animal abusers there are so many exceptions to the rules, and so few 'checks' to make sure that the rules are being obeyed, that even the regulations which do exist are little more than cosmetic in nature.

Laws which exist to stop hunters shooting animals are usually only there to make sure that the animals in question are not wiped out completely. (Although in France recently when hunters were asked whether or not they would approve of a ban on hunting during "la periode de reproduction animale" a headline in the newspaper Le Monde announced that only 79% of hunters would agree to respect a ban during this period.

No one seemed perturbed, surprised or even alarmed by the fact that if you look at this survey the other way it shows that 21% of hunters are so short of functioning cerebral tissue that they wanted to continue to kill animals during the breeding season too. The hunters did not even understand that if you stop animals from breeding you soon won't have any animals left at all.)

The Barbaric (And Hypocritical) British

As a nation the British pretend to like animals. Britons often claim that they love animals – and attack foreigners for being cruel.

But, by and large, the British have nothing to be proud of. The British claim to be deeply offended when they read about the nasty Spanish mistreating donkeys or chasing bulls through their streets. They moan about the way Asians eat dogs. And they whinge when they see photographs of Canadians killing baby seals.

But the British are no better than these barbaric and ignorant foreigners. Britons treat animals with just as little respect as the citizens of any other country. They slaughter them for food. They persecute and torture them for their amusement and entertainment and they subject them to the most hideous atrocities in the false name of science.

The British are, in truth, just as barbaric as the Spanish, the Chinese, the Canadians and the Asians.

In a way, British animal abusers are worse for they are hypocrites: they claim to love animals.

Vivisectors are the ultimate hypocrites. Some, who perform viciously brutal experiments on animals, claim to have family pets which they love. Would those who perform and support animal research donate their own pets for laboratory research? If not – why not?

Hunters claim to love animals. So do farmers. But how can any of these possibly have any understanding of the meaning of the word "love'?

Here are just a few examples of the cruel way animals have been treated over the years in Britain.

  • A magistrate claimed that although it was cruel to ride a horse to death while hunting it was not cruel to ride it until it was so exhausted that it died fifteen minutes later.
  • A man in Yorkshire ate a live cat in 15 minutes.
  • Men used to entertain themselves at travelling fairs by clipping the wings of a cock sparrow, putting the bird into the crown of a hat and then trying to bite its head off with their arms tied behind their backs.

  A man ate five live fox clubs for £50.

  Jockeys have been known to 'spur' their mounts so savagely that the animal's entrails were visible at the winning post.

  A popular public school 'sport' involved tying an owl onto a duck's back and sending a dog to swim after the pair. When the dog got close the duck would dive – causing the owl to claw it. The 'game' was over when the owl drowned and the duck was captured.

  The traditional Scottish game of goose-pulling consists of greasing a live goose and hanging it upside down from a gallows. Horsemen then try to pull off the goose's head.

  In Wiltshire geese being fattened up for the table have been nailed to the floor to prevent them taking exercise – the nails were hammered through the webs of their feet.

  'Throwing at cocks' is an ancient British Shrove Tuesday pastime. A cock is tied to a stake and given as a prize to the first person to kill it with stones or sticks. (If the birds leg was broken a splint would be attached so that the bird could continue standing.)

  The traditional British game of 'cat in the barrel' involved suspending a cat in a barrel half full of soot, knocking out the bottom of the barrel and then chasing and killing the blackened, blinded cat.

  Horse traders have been known to insert a piece of broken glass between the hoof and shoe of the good leg of a lame horse – thus disguising the horse's lameness.

  One London woman wore a dress trimmed with the plumages of 800 canaries.

  Children to use tie string to the legs of sparrows and 'fly' them as kites.

  Britons have improved the singing of song birds by blinding them with red hot needles or by splitting their tongues.

  At the Tower of London menagerie visitors used to be able to save on the cost of admission by bringing with them a live cat or dog and then pushing the animal between the bars for tigers or lions to eat.

  Hunters have been known to dislocate the joints of a deer so that the hunt would have a better chance of being successful. A crude alternative was to chop off one of the deer's feet and then make it run.

  Researchers have been giving mice large cancerous tumours since 1911. (And just what headway has been made in the war against cancer as a result of all that pain and suffering?).

  Scientists pushed fine polythene tubes into rats' brains. They then put balloons into the rats' brains and blew them up. They found small balloons did not produce as much damage as big balloons.

  The traditional British way to teach bears to 'dance' was to put them into a tub with a metal bottom and to light a fire underneath. Naturally, the bears moved from one foot to another as the metal got hotter. Bears which tried to climb out were bludgeoned with a club.

  The popular British field sport of badger digging involves digging into a badger's home. When a badger is caught it is killed by being shot or hit on the head with a spade.

Anyone who wants to know more about the way the British have treated animals should read All Heaven in a Rage by E.S.Turner (published by Centaur Press).

Chapter Two:

Three Varieties Of Abuse

Animals are sensitive and emotionally labile creatures who experience the same kinds of feelings that humans experience: happiness, sadness, hope, fear, love, compassion and shame.

Cruelty to animals is a moral and ethical outrage; it is the greatest crime of our time. And yet animals are abused today in three main ways: the meat industry, vivisection and hunting.

The Meat Industry

Britons breed animals, stuff them into lorries and carry them for days without providing anything for them to eat or drink.

We cage them in tiny boxes, move them about soaked in their own urine and knee deep in their own excrement, scare them senseless and then slit their throats and eat them – tonsils, intestines, shit and all.

Next time you're on a journey keep an eye open for a lorry taking animals to a slaughterhouse. It doesn't matter where you are, where you've been or where you are going – the movement of animals is now big business. All over Britain animals are constantly on the move.

There probably won't be anything printed on the side of the lorry to tell you what is in inside, but the lorry will have wooden, slatted sides and through the gaps you will be able to see the terrified faces of cows, sheep, chickens and other living creatures being transported from farm to abattoir. There may be a leg or two sticking out in between the slats because the animals will have almost certainly been herded into lorries without either respect or care.

The lambs and calves crammed into transporter lorries are just as terrified as any child would be under those circumstances. Their mothers are just as much in mourning as any mother would be. When slaves were transported from one nation to another they were branded and herded into overcrowded containers. We do the same thing with animals today.

The animals are crammed into the lorries so tightly that if they get stuck in a difficult position they have to stay that way until the journey stops many hours or even days later.

Imagine how you would feel if you had to travel for 24 hours with one of your legs sticking out through your a slightly open car window. Imagine it. Think about it. The horror in these transporters is so great that the spiritual stench of it clings to the woodwork and the metalwork. If you are sensitive to animals you can feel and hear the pain and the fear whenever one of these trucks comes near. While travelling recently I stopped at a petrol station where an animal transport lorry was parked. As I got out of my car I heard the plaintive, heart wrenching cries of the sheep inside it. I filled my tank, paid at the kiosk and then felt myself drawn irresistibly, and against my will, towards the lorry. To my astonishment when I looked inside the lorry was empty. The cries I had heard had been real. But there were no animals in the lorry.

To make matters worse the animals being transported invariably travel in tiers. The more animals you can cram into a lorry the bigger the profit will be. And although animals aren't usually fed or watered while they are travelling animals, like all living creatures, need to pass urine and faeces from time to time. In a way the animals on the top tier are relatively lucky, I suppose. The animals underneath are constantly showered with urine and faeces raining down upon them from the terrified creatures above them.

Moving and killing animals is big business but it is also a truly barbaric business. Animals die, unattended and uncared for where they have fallen. Some sheep freeze to death in winter and some die from heat exhaustion and thirst in summer. As long as the numbers who die don't rise so high that the transportation process becomes unprofitable no one cares.

Animals may be moved about many times – so that farmers, transport people and meat companies can make money from cross border subsidies. Animals are shipped from steel pen to auction house to steel pen to slaughterhouse. Thousands of animals die from "shipping fever'. Sheep and lambs are so stressed that they collapse and die. Chickens are packed into tiny cages. Pigs have their tails cut off (without an anaesthetic, of course) to prevent stress induced tail biting. Animals shipped to the Middle East are eventually killed in a brutal ritualistic style of slaughter.

The people who are involved in moving and killing animals are truly the dregs of our society. These are the sort of people who would have happily operated German gas chambers during the Second World War.

250,000 Murders Every Hour

Animal transport is big business because approximately 2,000,000 animals are murdered every working day in British abattoirs. That's 250,000 murders every hour, 4,167 murders every minute and 69 murders every second.

Animals are supposed to be stunned before they are killed – so that they aren't conscious when their throats are cut. But stunning is a pretty ineffective business. The people who do it aren't trained – not, at least, in a way that I would regard as proper training – and too many animals are conscious and terrified when they are killed. (It is surely not irrelevant that more than half the abattoir owners in Britain have a criminal record.)

Moreover, there is now evidence to show that the electric shock which is allegedly used to knock animals unconscious may fail to work properly. Even after they have been stunned animals do feel intense pain. They are paralysed. But they can feel pain.

Even if stunning worked well not all animals would benefit for not all animals are stunned before killing.

The law allows Jews to slaughter all the animals they kill without stunning them first. It is called ritual slaughter. Some ritual. Think about this: the animals killed for consumption by Jews are quite conscious when their throats are cut. This is such a barbaric ritual that I'm surprised there isn't someone dancing around in war-paint and feathers while the killing is being done. In Britain around 60,000 cows and calves, 30,000 sheep and lambs and 2,500,000 hens are killed by Jewish slaughterers every year. Since not all the meat obtained from killing animals the Jewish way is eaten by Jews the meat which is left over can be sold for ordinary consumption. So, whether you are Jewish or not, if you eat meat there is a good chance that the meat you buy comes from an animal which was killed in this truly cruel barbaric way.

How Jews can support what happens in slaughterhouses in their name I do not understand. I cannot imagine that any god could possibly condone such activities.

(This has, incidentally, absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with race or religion. I will probably be accused of being anti semitic by bigots who do not understand that my objection to ritual slaughter has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with respect for animals.)

"It is often said that if slaughterhouses were made of glass most people would be vegetarians," wrote Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy in their vitally important book When Elephants Weep, adding that: "If the general public knew what went on inside animal experimentation laboratories, they would be abolished."

But, as Masson and McCarthy point out slaughterhouses are virtually invisible because that is what the public want. People know what goes on inside abattoirs but they do not want to be reminded of the horrors perpetrated in their name.

Enough To Make You Proud

Imagine.

You are taken from a field where you are living with your family. You are separated from your surroundings and your loved ones and you are crammed into a lorry. You are then driven for hours in discomfort, without food or water and in a constant rain of urine and faeces to a slaughterhouse. There are you kept waiting – afraid and uncertain.

Finally, you are taken into a blood stained building where your throat is cut. You then slowly bleed to death, terrified, confused, and in pain. It may take you minutes to die.

Doesn't it all make you proud to be human. Proud to a member of the Master Species?

Brutal, Crude And Merciless

The butcher's shop is the ultimate human disgrace; as much an indignity to man himself as it is to the slaughtered creatures whose blood decorates its every surface; their skinless corpses hung, as though with pride, from hooks in the window.

Walking past a window in which skinned corpses are displayed is nauseating. Every sensitive council should immediately pass a law insisting that butchers cover up their windows and serve their awful wares behind closed doors.

I have no doubt that if there was a market for such delicacies the crude, ruthless and mindless 'people' who operate and work in these shops would happily sell babies' brains, young boys' hearts, breasts sliced from teenage girls' bony chests and feet hacked from young mothers. Butchers are, inevitably, a hard-hearted group: insensitive and bloodthirsty, with no redeeming features. Given half a chance they would happily sell the corpses of the elderly, brought fresh from the killing rooms of hospitals and hospices in their neighbourhood. Jean Jacques Rousseau, the French philosopher, argued that butchers (whose daily trade is death and who cannot, therefore, be regarded as being blessed with the normal quota of compassion) should not be allowed to sit on juries or testify in court.

Butchers are a dying breed. Good riddance to them all.

Farming, too, is a brutal, crude, merciless business.

Chicks never see a hen and hens are kept in tiny battery cages. (Those who eat eggs often argue that hens lay more eggs than they can hatch. But hens exhaust themselves by laying so many eggs simply because their eggs are taken away from them.) Dairy cows are artificially inseminated. As soon as they give birth their calf is ripped away from them. Calves are kept chained in tiny stalls and fed on a chemical rich diet for veal production. The mother's milk is sucked out along rubber tubes and sold by the massive dairy industry.

Farmers defend the practice of taking milk from cows by arguing that without its calf the cow has milk to spare. They do not question their right to take the calf from the cow. They argue that the calf can be given other food. They do not understand that no milk is as good for a calf as its mother's milk. They continue to pump the milk out of the cow until the poor creatures becomes weakened and exhausted.

Sheep are forced to breed at an unusual and unhealthy rate so that their lambs can be sold for extra profit. And sheep are shorn not only in the early summer (when they may be hot and uncomfortable and welcome a few months without a heavy fleece) but also, quite cruelly, during the winter when they need the warmth their own wool provides.

A Contemptible Breed

Like many sentient individuals I loathe farmers. I regard them as a contemptible breed with more front than Blackpool and with as poorly developed a sense of personal responsibility as modern politicians.

When, entirely through own stupidity and greed, they created the Mad Cow crisis their instinctive reaction was not to apologise to their customers, or to wring their hands and beg forgiveness, but to demand compensation from the government.

The Mad Cow scandal should have awakened us all to the fact that most farmers – like the rest of the huge army of slimy good for nothings involved in the dead animal business – are pustulant, crooked, self-centered, stupid and greedy, concerned only with their own profits.

But the eternally damned farmers are so skilful at manipulating politicians and the media that they have actually managed to make many people feel sorry for them.

Open your newspaper or turn on your television set and you will probably discover that the farmers, the butchers and the abattoir workers are, yet again, bleating about financial losses, redundancies and bleak futures.

"We have screwed up yet again so you will have to give us money to make sure that we don't suffer financially" is the oft repeated communal cry from terror stained farmyards all over the nation.

And the government, accustomed to handing out taxpayers' money to rich farmers, immediately complies.

"Whoops, oh dear," the politicians cry. "How terrible for you. How much money would you like? Will it be all right if we send round a lorry load of the stuff on Thursday?"

"Send the lorry direct to the bank," say the farmers wearily. "We can't be bothered to handle it ourselves."

You will, of course, have noticed that the individuals who contracted Mad Cow Disease were not offered compensation by the government or the farmers.

And no one will be more surprised than I am if their families ever receive any compensation.

(In late 1998 the British Labour government announced that it was going to give farmers another £100 million in compensation. This time much of the money was intended for hill farmers who were said to be 'suffering' because the lambs they were forcefully taking from their mothers and selling were fetching just 25 pence in livestock markets. It is difficult to understand why the Labour government should feel this need to compensate farmers rather than to suggest that they might be better occupied finding some other more gainful and less barbaric form of employment.)

Manipulative Money Grubbers

For years now farmers, and others involved in the meat business, have taken risks with the lives of those who buy their products simply to make an extra few billion pounds profit.

It was the farmers – manipulative money grubbers that they are – who chose to feed their animals with the food which created the problem. Years ago those in the animal murdering business could have protected themselves – and the meat eating world – from the horrors of Mad Cow Disease. They could have taken tougher, stricter action. But they didn't. They – and the government – falsely insisted that there wasn't a problem.

Even if they didn't know for certain that there was a problem coming (and I think they should have known) they should have realised that there was a big risk.

What would happen if any other businessman cut corners, took risks with his customers' lives and caused widespread panic and chaos? Would he expect his customers to pay for all his losses and give him compensation to make sure that he didn't lose any money? Or would he start looking for a sharp lawyer to protect him against the lawsuits that he knew would soon start thudding through his letterbox?

Why are farmers (and the rest of the meat industry) treated in such a special way? Why were the people in the animal murdering business pitied during and after the Mad Cow Disease fiasco? Why did the taxpayer have to help them out? Why did you and I have to fork out our hard earned cash to pay for their greed inspired error? In short, why, in the name of a blood soaked abattoir worker's apron, were Britain's farmers given compensation for this self created problem?

If the weather is bad does the government bale out the tourist industry? If village shops are put out of business by new superstores are they compensated? (These are, you will note, not problems which are self created. But nor are these industries which cause mass murder. Inexplicably, it seems that governments prefer to help an industry which causes its own problems and is responsible for an uncountable number of deaths.)

If you buy a lottery ticket and you don't win do you expect the government to refund your stake money? If your house is worth less than you paid for it a few years ago are you going to go running to the Exchequer for financial help?

The farming industry created Mad Cow Disease by turning herbivores into carnivores (actually, into cannibals). It was their financial problem – not ours. But the animal abusers have a huge amount of power over the current political system.

Ignorance, Stupidity And Greed

Apart from trying to feed us beef, milk and lamb contaminated with Mad Cow Disease our farmers have been working hard to ensure that our meat contains plenty of chemicals, drugs and hormones, that many of our eggs are infected and that just about everything that comes fresh from the farm will be contaminated with chemical sprays, fertilizers and pesticides.

The overuse of antibiotics on farms has helped create a world in which infections are now rapidly increasing.

I also believe that the reckless use of other drugs and hormones has contaminated farm products for decades. The over use of fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals has polluted our water supplies and poisoned thousands of consumers.

(There is some irony in the fact that although the tobacco industry has had to put warnings on its products, farmers – the other major cause of cancer in our modern society – just get bigger and bigger subsidies.)

By getting rid of hedgerows and spraying their deathly crops with chemicals farmers have managed to do probably irreparable damage to our bird life.

So, it is clear, if you want to win government support you simply have to screw up people's health, kill millions of animals in as cruel a way as possible and cause probably irreparable damage to the environment. Politicians will then give you whatever you ask for.

Today, farmers are messing around with genetically manipulated animals and crops because they see more ways to increase their profits. They don't give a damn that they are playing a dangerous game and that they are likely to produce permanent and terrifying changes in our world. Farmers don't give a fig for your health or your children's health. All they care about is profits.

A Doomed Trade

The meat trade is doomed. There is now 22 carat gold evidence available to show that people who eat meat are far more likely to get cancer and die young.

(Indeed, since it is impossible to be sure that the animal the meat eater consumes doesn't itself have cancer there is a good chance that the nice juicy steak into which the meat eater tucks with such relish could well contain a nice juicy lump of cancer in the middle of it. "How do you like your cancer cooked, sir?" "Mustard with your fried cancer, madam?")

Eating meat is bad for you and bad for the rest of the world too. When the meat trade is finished there will never again be any need for human beings to starve. Feeding cattle uses up vast quantities of grain and good land and meat eaters are directly responsible for the starving millions in Africa and Asia.

Perhaps, in a few years time restaurants will have meat eating sections and vegetarian sections in the same way that they now have smoking and non smoking sections. The meat eaters will be crammed at the back in dark and dingy corners.

Meanwhile, those of us who want to change the world, should remind meat eaters that if they eat bits of animal flesh they cannot be practising Christians, Catholics or Jews. (The bible says: "flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat." Does anyone seriously believe that even the barbaric Jewish method of killing can empty every drop of blood from an animal's body?).

Abuse In The Name Of Science

We also abuse animals in the name of science.

Every thirty seconds another thousand animals are tortured to death in laboratories around the world. Cats, kittens, puppies, dogs, monkeys, rats, hamsters: you name the species they torture it and kill it. How much difference is there between performing an experiment on a primate and performing the same experiment on a child?

The scientists who perform animal experiments, and their supporters, claim that what they do helps human beings. This is, of course, a lie. The evidence shows quite clearly that no animal experiment ever helped a human being. Moreover, animals are so completely different to people that experiments on animals are dangerously misleading. I find it impossible to escape the conclusion that thousands of experiments have been conducted on animals for money, personal advancement or intellectual curiosity.

It is disingenuous to claim that scientists are any different to barbarians watching cock-fighting, bull-fighting or other spectacles of abuse. What difference is there between those who torment animals in the name of science and the sort of people who abuse children, beat their wives or bully the weak.

Drug companies use animal experiments to get new products on the market without testing them properly. If tests show that a new drug causes cancer in five animal species the company will dismiss the evidence as irrelevant – because animals are different to people. But, apparently without embarrassment or shame, they will then use the one experiment which shows that their new drug doesn't cause cancer in a sixth species to get their product on the market.

(Cosmetic companies use animals in a variety of ways. Countless rabbits have had chemicals dropped into their eyes in pointless and unnecessary 'toxicity' tests. But it is in so-called 'medical research' that animals are most widely used. And it is 'medical research' which so often provides the excuse for the terrible things researchers do to animals.)

Primates are killed so that hunters can capture their infants and sell them to British vivisectors who are paid with money contributed by British taxpayers.

Special breeding facilities produce millions of mice, rabbits, rats, cats and other animals. The animals are kept in small, sterile cages – separated from one another's comfort.

The people who perform experiments on animals are largely incompetent and stupid. Their experiments are always worthless and often badly done. Successive Home Secretaries have protected vivisectors by claiming that all applications for licences to experiment on animals should be treated as "confidential'. The result has been that those who oppose animal experiments have never had the opportunity to question the validity of experiments before they have started.

It is hardly surprising that, with drug companies relying so heavily on animal experiments, one in six people in hospital are there because they have been made ill by doctors.

Vivisectors receive vast amounts of money (much of it provided by from drug companies but a good deal of it provided by the government) but have produced consistently worthless results. The only consistent factor about animal experiments is their pointlessness.

Some years ago I conducted a survey of British doctors which showed a great scepticism about, and disapproval of, animal experiments. Here is a summary of the results of that survey:

  • 88% of doctors agreed that laboratory experiments performed on animals can be misleading because of anatomical and physiological differences between animals and humans.
  • 81% of doctors agreed that they would like to see scientists trying harder to find alternatives to animals for testing drugs and cosmetics.
  • 51% of doctors agreed that patients would suffer fewer side effects if new drugs were tested more extensively on human cell and tissue cultures.
  • 69% of doctors agreed that too many experiments on animals are performed.

Despite many claims to the contrary, vivisectors regularly break guidelines for animal care. I have in my possession a photograph of a monkey in a laboratory which has the word 'crap' written on its forehead. Vivisection is nothing more than a form of pseudoscientific black magic whose practitioners have promised much but who have in reality constantly obstructed medical progress. It is no coincidence that vivisectors frequently refer to the animals they torture and kill as being 'sacrificed'.

I believe that vivisectors – and there are 20,000 in Britain alone – are the sort of people who have in the past enjoyed experimenting on blacks or Jews. If society currently allowed it I have no doubt that vivisectors would happily take Jews and the mentally ill into their laboratories instead of (or, as well as) baboons and chimpanzees.

What difference is there in the mental make up of a serial murderer and a vivisector. And yet vivisectors often expect, claim (and receive) respect in our society. Those who oppose vivisection are expected to prove that animal experiments are unnecessary and without scientific value. In any sane and just world it would be the job of the vivisectors to prove that their work was essential and valuable. (Something they would not, of course, be able to do.)

The vivisectors' entirely false claims that their barbarous and merciless experiments are of value (and their utterly immoral argument that the end justifies the means) are accepted without question because to question them would be to force ourselves to face difficult and painful truths.

Vivisection is totally supported by just about every section of the British establishment. Organisations which oppose vivisection are denied charitable status whereas organisations which have charitable status, and can, therefore, claim all the associated tax benefits, are allowed to campaign vigorously for vivisection – and perform vivisection too!. What sort of world is it which gives special charitable status to organisations which abuse animals and yet denies charitable status to organisations which want to save animals?

I've been arguing for a complete ban on animal experiments for years. The supporters of vivisection now refuse to debate with me for one very simple reason: they always lose. In the autumn of 1998 I began a guest appearance on a two hour long nationwide radio programme by challenging vivisectors and vivisectionists to name one disease for which a cure had been found through vivisection. Despite the fact that many vivisectionists telephoned the programme not one managed to come up with a disease which for which vivisection had been an essential or integral part of the research process. I wasn't surprised. Vivisection is useless, always has been useless and always will be useless.

I loathe and despise scientists who perform animal experiments. I think they are truly beyond understanding, forgiveness or redemption. I believe they are the grown up, authorised versions of those evil eyed, spotty faced children who somehow obtain warped, distorted pleasure from pulling the wings off flies or peppering passing cats with airgun pellets.

Who, other than vivisectors, could argue that animals do not cry or moan or whimper in pain but are merely "vocalising'.

How could any sane, sentient being not feel disgusted by what goes on in animal research laboratories? There can be no moral or ethical justification for the legalised mayhem which, worldwide, results in the slow, painful destruction of around 1,000 dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, monkeys, rabbits and other animals every thirty seconds. In Britain, where nearly 3 million experiments are performed every year on cats, kittens, dogs, puppies and other animals there are just 21 inspectors to make sure that vivisectors obey what rules exist about animal treatment.

The Home Office claims that the effectiveness of this tiny group of inspectors: "depends upon ability to gain the respect and cooperation of the scientific community as, to function, inspectors must have unfettered access to the current and future plans of scientists".

This seems as odd to me as a statement that the effectiveness of the police: "depends upon the ability to gain the respect and cooperation of the criminal community as, to function, inspectors must have unfettered access to the current and future plans of criminals".

Why, I wonder, should vivisectors, arch animal abusers, be treated with such tenderness?

A Hollow Excuse

The excuse which is always offered for this evil business is that animal experiments help doctors treat human patients more effectively.

"If it's the health of my kid or the lives of a thousand cats and dogs then the dogs and cats have to be sacrificed," said one young father I know.

"Why would scientists do animal experiments if they weren't useful?" demanded a misguided young mother. "I don't want to know what they do," she added quickly. "But I'm sure they wouldn't do what they do if it wasn't necessary."

Those who believe that animal experiments are useful exhibit a rather pathetic mixture of ignorance and naivete. They don't want to know the facts because the facts are too awful to contemplate.

Ignorance And Naivety

The ignorance and naivety is widespread.

One BBC producer refused to broadcast an interview in which I had described experiments involving dogs. "They didn't use dogs," the producer apparently said after talking to the people who had done the experiments. "They only used dog tissue."

The sad and savage but, I believe, undeniable truth is that no experiment performed on an animal has ever saved a human life. Animal experiments are so unreliable that no doctor with a brain larger than a pea would ever trust any so called evidence obtained by an animal researcher.

On the contrary, I believe that animal experiments are not only entirely useless but that they are a major cause of human illness, misery and death.

The evidence for these stout and possibly startling assertions is not difficult to find.

I can give you the names of dozens of frequently prescribed drugs – widely used around the world – which are known to cause cancer or other serious diseases when given to animals.

But this evidence is ignored because doctors know damned well that the fact that a drug causes cancer in an animal has no relevance to human beings.

When a drug company tests a new drug on animals it does so because it cannot lose.

If the experiment shows that the drug does not kill the animal the drug company can claim that its tests have shown the drug to be safe.

On the other hand if the experiment shows that the drug does kill the animal the drug company will dismiss the research evidence on the grounds that animals are different to people.

The drug companies win every time. People (and the animals, of course) are the innocent losers.

Animal experiments are done because they are useful – to the drug companies not people. Animal experiments give drug companies no-lose evidence which will be accepted by governments around the world.

Drug companies know that extensive testing on human beings would be costly and time consuming. More important: many new drugs would never obtain a licence for widespread use if the pre-launch tests on people were too extensive (because dangerous and possibly lethal side effects would undoubtedly be discovered at at an embarrassingly early stage).

If animal experiments were banned the drug companies would lose billions of pounds a year in lost revenue.

The thousands of scientists who perform and support animal experiments will deny all this, of course.

What else are they to do?

You can hardly expect them to admit that their evil but well paid work is inspired by corporate greed and self interest rather than more noble motives.

The fact is that they do not have the strength of spirit to turn their backs on the big money offered by the drug companies. And many know that if they admit that animal experimentation is flawed beyond redemption they will be admitting that they have wasted their lives.

Some of them undoubtedly want to believe their own propaganda. Those who possess some vestige of a conscience probably only sleep by denying to themselves the horror of what they do.

Scorned, Laughed At, Ruined And Imprisoned

History is full of examples of original thinkers who have been scorned, laughed at, ruined and imprisoned for daring to be creative and original and (most heinous a crime of all) for having the temerity to question (and therefore threaten) the status and authority of the establishment.

Socrates was condemned to death for being too curious. Dante was condemned to be burned at the stake. The works of Confucius were still banned in China two and a half thousand years after his death. Spinoza was denounced for being independent and every schoolchild knows about Galileo's battles with the Church. Paracelsus was the greatest influence on medical thinking since Hippocrates but the establishment regarded him as a trouble maker and persecuted him all around Europe. (He is still regarded with considerable fear and distaste by the medical establishment which, on the whole, prefers not to acknowledge his existence or his importance).

Semmelweiss, the Austrian obstetrician was ostracised by the medical profession for daring to criticise filthy medical practices. Thoreau was imprisoned for sticking to his ideals. Wilbur and Orville Wright were dismissed as hoaxsters by the Scientific American, the US Army and most American scientists. When Wilhelm Rφntgen discovered X rays his achievement was described as an elaborate hoax by one of Britain's most eminent scientists.

The relationship between a diet low in vitamin C and the development of scurvy was first described in 1636 by John Woodall. James Lind reintroduced the idea in 1747 but it wasn't until 1795 that the British Admiralty decreed that lemon juice should be part of every sailor's diet. Only God can possibly know how many sailors died as a result of this appalling example of cooperative prejudice.

The inventors of turbine power, the electric telegraph, the tank, the electric light, television and space travel were all laughed at or ignored by the scientific establishment. William Reich's books were burned by the Nazis in the 1930s and by the American government in the 1950s. (The Federal Food and Drug Administration was still burning his books in 1960).

More recently Dr Dean Ornish, was who responsible for devising a safe, effective treatment programme for heart disease that depends upon a vegetarian diet, exercise and relaxation was denied funds by the American National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

The irony about science (which is ostensibly a search for new truths) is that most members of any scientific establishment seem dedicated to opposing real progress and suppressing original thought. There is room for original thought and originality in most areas of intellectual thought except science; the one area which one might suppose would depend almost exclusively upon original thinking.

One can attack existing political or economic theories with some freedom but any scientist with a new and original idea is likely to be regarded as a dangerous crank rather than an original scientist whose ideas may be worth evaluation.

When I said on the radio recently that I thought that it was vital to maintain an open mind another panellist on the same programme commented that in his view: "Open minds are empty minds."

This grossly prejudiced viewpoint is quite common among many of the world's best known scientists and, together with a misplaced sense of professional loyalty, helps to explain why the vast majority of new and original ideas are dismissed out of hand, and their authors sneered at and dismissed as cranks and nutcases.

Anyone who opposes the use of animals in experiments will be marginalised and dismissed as out of step with the scientific establishment. The fact that the scientific evidence shows, without any doubt whatsoever, that animal experiments are entirely worthless, does not seem to be regarded as relevant by the illogical and prejudiced supporters of vivisection. They have each taken their thirty pieces of silver and are loyal to their paymasters.

More Than Just An Evil Abuse

Animal experimentation is the most evil manifestation of animal abuse. Even if it were useful I would oppose it on moral and ethical grounds.

But animal experimentation is more than just an evil abuse of animals (terrible though that is). It is one of the main reasons why doctors are now as big a cause of illness and death as are cancer and heart disease. Animal experiments are not merely part of a major scientific cock up. They are part of a huge, international conspiracy. The aim is simply to make money. And the price – the lives of millions of animals and people – is considered acceptable. Remember: animal experiments kill people as well as animals.

(It is interesting to note that animal experiments may sometimes be performed in order to enable companies to continue damaging human beings. For example, dogs, who would never voluntarily choose to do anything so stupid and self-damaging, were forced to smoke cigarettes in bizarre and utterly pointless experiments. I have a suspicion that these experiments were done to show that the tobacco companies were generously using their own money in order to investigate the links between tobacco and cancer while at the same time holding back the moment at which it would have to be admitted that tobacco did cause cancer in humans. Animal experiments are often used in this way.)

Those who support the use and abuse of animals in the name of science will, it seems, stop at nothing.I have spent most of my life campaigning against injustices to human beings and animals and have become accustomed to attempts at intimidation but none of my campaigns have ever attracted quite so much violent, uncontrolled, snarling hostility as my campaign to stop animal experiments.

I oppose the use of animals in laboratory experiments – one of the great growth industries of our time – for numerous reasons.

I believe with all my heart and soul that animal experiments are morally, scientifically and ethically wrong. What right can scientists possibly have to torture, burn and cut animals of other species? What excuse can there be for such obscene cruelty?

We should never forget that in the false name of science one thousand kittens, cats, puppies, dogs, monkeys, rabbits and other animals are tortured and murdered every thirty seconds. They are isolated, subjected to agonising pain, ignored, maltreated and left to die in laboratories around the world. By any standards of morality this must be wrong.

It is all made worse by the fact that animal experiments are totally useless and of no use to anyone concerned with scientific truth. If vivisection were stopped tomorrow it would never be introduced again because no one would ever be able to find an argument supporting its introduction. Animal experiments are so barbaric and so unsupportable on moral, ethical, scientific or medical grounds that once they are stopped no one will ever dream of letting them start again. Vivisection is the greatest abuse of our time and I find it difficult to understand the minds of those who practise and support this evil activity.

The only reason that vivisection has not yet been stopped is that the battle of words has to be fought not just against waves of commercially sustained prejudice but also against apparently endless seas of ignorance and indifference.

Animal experiments are done in our names. Those who have done nothing to stop this evil, barbaric and pointless cruelty do not deserve to sleep at night.

How We Can Really Learn From Animals

Animals can help doctors save human patients. But through observation – not experimentation. Many vertebrates – including monkeys, pigs and elephants, use plants as medicines as well as food. Sick animals seek out and eat plants which they know will help them; they eat some plants, they hold others in their mouths (doctors call it buccal absorption) and they rub yet others onto their skin (doctors call that topical application).

Ethiopian baboons who are at risk of developing schistosomiasis eat fruits, which are rich in a potent antischistosome drug. Chimpanzees in Tanzania use a herb which has a powerful antifungal, antibacterial and antinematode activity. If they just ate the herb it wouldn't work because the valuable compound would be destroyed by stomach acidity. So they hold the leaf in their mouths in the same way that angina patients are encouraged to hold glyceryl trinitrate in their mouths to expedite absorption. Kodiak bears apply a drug topically which helps to kill parasites. They scratch the root into their fur. European starlings combat parasitisation to their nests by fumigating incubating eggs. Lethargic chimps with diarrhoea treat themselves with a herb. Howler monkeys use herbal medicines to control birth spacing and to determine the sex of their offspring.

We can learn an enormous amount by watching other animals.

But instead of watching these sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful creatures the vandals in white coats cage them, torture them and kill them with all the scientific sense of youthful hooligans tearing the wings off butterflies.

In a generation or so our descendants will look back at the vivisectors and wonder not just at the sort of people they were, but at the sort of people we were to let them do what they did.

Animal experiments must stop. And they must stop now. For your sake; for your childrens' sake; and for the sake of the animals the vivisectors kill.

Just For Fun

Britons also abuse animals for fun.

We complain about bear baiting in Asia and about bull fighting in Spain. But we are in no position to condemn. In Britain people put on fancy dress and ride around chasing foxes, stags and other animals to their death. They do this primarily as entertainment but claim that they are trying to preserve the countryside.

If challenged and threatened with an end to hunting they sulkily threaten to kill their horses and hounds if their fun is stopped. They don't even have the courage to admit that they are merely blood thirsty psychopaths who get a kick out of killing.

Hunting continues in Britain because it was preserved by a Labour government, despite the fact that the people and parliament opposed this barbaric remnant of our infant civilisation. A year after it dramatically refused to help a private members bill to ban hunting (in November 1997) the Labour government blocked any prospect at all of a ban on hunting being introduced into parliament. It was reported that the government (the same Labour government which had, when in opposition, stated its total commitment to banning hunting) feared that outlawing hunting would damage Labour's popularity in rural areas.

The stag or the fox being chased by a pack of yapping hounds and a bunch of ignorant rural yahoos on horseback is just as terrified as you would be if you were being chased by a gang of bloodthirsty hooligans on motorbikes.

Hunters (whether they hunt with gun or on horseback) and hunt supporters are, without exception, wicked and barbaric people. When two men on a drunken hunting trip failed to find any deer they cold bloodedly murdered a deaf, black man instead. Typical and probably 'normal' behaviour for a hunter.

J. Howard Moore tells a sad story about two moose in his classic book The Universal Kinship. The two moose had been tracked by hunters all day long and towards the end of the day one of the moose was finally killed by a rifle shot. Instead of running away, the remaining moose lowered its head and sniffed at its dead companion. It then raised its head high and bellowed loudly. The ruthless hunters shot it. When the hunters reached the two moose they found that they one they had shot first had been blind and that the second moose, which had stayed with it even after death, had been acting as its pilot.

Waterfowl mate for life but human beings randomly shoot one and leave the other to mourn. The waterfowl which is left behind often falls into a deep depression.It may die slowly of starvation.

Hunters and their supporters are the sort of people who used to run the slavery trade just a few score years ago; they are not a sensitive group and they find it difficult to understand words such as 'empathy' and 'respect'.

Hunters are pretty stupid and most of them aren't very good shots either. French hunters shot 45 of their fellow hunters dead in one recent season. More than 100 hunters were seriously injured by other hunters.

A Dirty Fight

The last few years of the fight for animal rights is going to be a dirty fight. Those who want to continue abusing animals – whether for money or for fun – fight foul.

Although my campaigning on behalf of animals and people has always been entirely legal I have been followed by private detectives, my life has been threatened and my telephone has been tapped by those who want to silence me. I have, of course, also been subjected to a considerable amount of legal harassment. In my experience supporting animal rights seems to attract a particularly virulent type of opposition – partly, I suspect, because this is the last great moral debate of our times (and many people feel guilty and slightly uncomfortable about the side they have chosen to support) and partly because the commercial forces which are dependant upon continuing animal abuse are large and powerful.

I do not approve of or support the use of violence in the fight against cruelty animals. In particular, I do not approve of the use of violence against animal abusers. When you fight against violence with violence you simply double the amount of violence. But I do think that it is curious to note that when South African civil rights leaders used violence in their fight for justice and equality they were regarded as folk heroes and greeted with adoration by those who undoubtedly regard themselves as free thinking radicals. But whenever animal rights protestors have indicated a willingness to take relatively modest action against property in their fight against animal abuse they have aroused almost unrelieved opposition from those same self-styled, free-thinking radicals. It seems that the rules vary according to the battle being fought. The battle against apartheid threatened virtually no institutions outside South Africa but the battle against animal abuse threatens numerous large, profitable institutions. Many of Britain's self styled free thinking radicals are, it seems, more closely allied to the needs of the establishment (and the controlling institutions) than they might like us to think. Left wing pseudointellectuals and their broadsheet champions are not quite as left wing or as intellectual as they like to think they are.

There are going to be some surprising and unexpected casualties in the last great civil rights battle. It isn't just the pseudointellectual regiments of the false left who are going to have to face some unpleasant truths as the battle against animal cruelty continues. Many other groups are going to suffer too.

For example, official Catholic teaching is that animals are here for man to use in any way he sees fit: to eat, kill for fun or play around with in the laboratory. Many Catholics believe that it is a sin to show affection to animals. Jews kill animals for food in the most barbaric way imaginable. And sanctimonious Christians frequently inform me that it is perfectly all right to treat animals in any way we wish because they don't have souls. Some exponents of the Christian religion teach that non-human races have no reason for their existence other than to serve man. They offer no evidence to support this arrogant and outrageous suggestion.

Tragically, too many citizens who might have the potential to care, pretend that none of this is happening. They close their eyes, partly because they are ignorant of the truth about the way animals are abused, partly because they are still subject to long established prejudices in favour of human beings, partly because they are frightened (the animal abusers are rough, ruthless and powerful people with a lot of money to spend on preserving their power) and partly because they do not believe that anything they do can possibly change the way things are.

Complacent And Sanctimonious

I met a stranger recently who was, so he told me, a religious man. He had an aura of complacent, sanctimonious superiority. He asked me why I spent so much of my life fighting battles and trying to change the world. "Why, for example, do you put so much effort into trying to stop animal experiments?"

"I want to stop the cruelty," I told him.

"Ah!" he said, smiling and pointing a finger at me. "But what is cruelty?"

I stared at him for a moment. I had not thought the concept in need of clarification. I thought of Gertrude Stein. Cruelty is cruelty is cruelty is cruelty.

"Unjustified violence causing unnecessary pain," I suggested. "If someone pours a toxic chemical into the brain of a conscious cat I would call that cruelty."

"But the act of cruelty may be an act of kindness. How do you know that goodness does not come out of those experiments which you abhor?" he demanded.

"Even if good did come out of them – which it does not – I would not consider them justifiable," I said.

He leant forward across the table and smiled. "Isn't this enjoyable?" he said. "I do find debate so invigorating, don't you?"

I sat on my hands. "If one experiment on one rat could banish all human diseases it would not be justified," I told him.

"Oh," he said, clearly surprised.

"If you support animal experimentation then where do you draw the line? A cat is more intelligent than a baby. Do you support experimentation on babies? What about the elderly? The insane? Do you think that Mengele's work was justified?"

"Ah, now that is unfair," he said, suddenly rather put out. But still he smiled. I began to feel that he was a man in whose vocabulary passion did not figure largely. I found him loathsome, contemptible and vapid but there was nothing there to hate. He was that most nauseating of creatures: a not very bright pseudo-intellectual.

"The world must be allowed to change at its own pace," he said. "Over thousands of years if necessary. That is the only type of change that will last."

I stared at him. "But slavery was abolished through protest," I argued.

"Ah," he said. "But has anything really changed? Are not today's citizens just as much in bondage as those slaves of yesterday?"

"Women have the vote and apartheid has been smashed," I pointed out, numbed by the temerity of a man who could equate the slavery of the clock, the daily bus and the monthly wage packet to the slavery of the whip and outright ownership. I rather fancied that the man at the end of the whip would swap his bloody scars for the right to choose a seat on the 8.15 to Paddington. "Change came about because people protested," I said.

He shook his head. "I suspect that these changes would have eventually occurred without all the fuss and shouting." He smiled smugly. "The only true way to improve the world is to encourage each individual to become a better person," he said. "Otherwise when you banish one evil another will come in its place."

"But if you say nothing there will always be evil!" I protested. "Even if 99% of the population become good the 1% of psychopaths who are left will disrupt and destroy and spread evil."

"Then we must wait until they too are turned to goodness," he replied.

This was clearly a man of apparently unending patience where the pain and suffering of other creatures was concerned. I stared out of the window; frustrated, angry and saddened by this man's deep callousness and the extraordinary extent of his self delusion. I felt sickened by his complacent, comfortable, patronising smugness; nauseated by his unquestioning, uncaring, unseeing mediocrity. No vision, no passion, no love. He seemed full of self satisfaction and he exuded complacency.

"Of course," he said, "I do concede that you may be partly right in what you say about animal experiments."

"But if you concede that I am partly right," I said, "don't you want to do anything to right the wrong that exists? If one lamb, one puppy, one kitten, one mouse is treated cruelly do you not feel an urge to do something?"

He looked at me without comprehension. His eyes were empty of true understanding or compassion. A religious man but a man without a soul. I knew he did not understand. I felt then, and still feel, almost suffocated by sadness; a great universal sadness. I am no biblical scholar but I found myself remembering the scene where Jesus Christ walks into a church and finds it packed with money lenders and merchants (probably selling the early equivalent of postcards, slide sets, videos and souvenir ashtrays). Christ loses his temper, pushes over all the tables and throws out the money lenders and the merchants.

My sadness is that there are millions like that stranger; he is no rarity in this world. They are driven by a philosophy of avoidance. Avoid responsibility. Avoid conflict. Avoid action. Cross over the road to avoid the blood, the embarrassment or the involvement. Too often, those who claim to have strong religious principles do not seem to be driven to fight very hard (if at all) for the downtrodden and the underprivileged.

Ignorance can be forgiven but wilful avoidance cannot. Those who neatly sidestep responsibility and produce pseudo-intellectual arguments designed to justify their silence in the face of injustice can never be forgiven. Those who go through life blinkered to injustice and to the pain and suffering of others condone cruelty. It is their silence which allows cruelty.

I like animals. And so does my god.

Part Two: Excuses, Excuses

"What you do not like when done to yourself do not do to others. " Confucius

Chapter One:

They Claim That Animals Are Not Sentient Creatures

"...man and the higher animals, especially the primates, all have the same senses, intuitions, and sensations, similar passions, affections, and emotions, even the more complex ones such as jealousy, suspicion, emulation, gratitude and magnanimity; they practice deceit and are revengeful; they are sometimes susceptible to ridicule, and even have a sense of humour; they feel wonder and curiosity; they possess the same faculties of imitation, attention, deliberation, choice, memory, imagination, the association of ideas, and reason though in very different degrees. "

Charles Darwin

There is really only one underlying reason for animal abuse. There is only one reason why Labour broke its promises – and why animal abuse continues. The bottom line, the real reason why Labour betrayed animals and voters alike, is a five letter word beginning with M and ending in Y.

But animal abusers have, over the years, offered an almost endless series of well rehearsed, oft-repeated pseudo-arguments to excuse their barbaric behaviour. These excuses have been frequently used to help a modern Labour government which must, at times, have come perilously close to shame and embarrassment.

For example, those who abuse animals frequently claim that animals do not need or deserve special treatment because they are not 'sentient' creatures – in other words that they are not conscious creatures with the capacity to suffer and/or experience enjoyment or happiness.

A similar argument was used by those who supported slavery. The slavery proponents argued that Negroes did not blush because they were incapable of shame and were, therefore, not fully human. Interestingly a number of animals and birds have been observed to blush when excited (and do, therefore, satisfy these traditional requirements for 'human' behaviour). The Tasmanian devil, the turkey, macaws and monkeys are among the creatures known to blush. (Macaws, for example, have been reported to blush when accidentally falling while clambering down off a perch.)

It was also argued that black people were not capable of looking after themselves or their own interests because they were irrational. This was regarded as a good excuse for keeping black people in "protective custody', and for exposing them to unlimited abuse.

Animal abusers are similarly inventive (but shallow) when attempting to excuse their cruel behaviour. Showing an extraordinary level of inconsistency and intellectual emptiness supporters of animal abuse have claimed, when defending fox hunting, that although animals are not sentient and have no feelings they 'enjoy' being hunted. It is difficult to see how anyone can possibly hope to sustain the argument that animals who are not sentient can 'enjoy' anything but the supporters of animal abuse are full of contradictions, double-speak and self-deceit. People who deny that animals can suffer will also claim that animals can be cruel. (How can an animal be cruel if the animal to which it is supposed to be cruel cannot suffer?)

Ignorance And Abuse

The intellectual abuse and slander of animals has had an effect. Many people now don't care a damn about animals because they do not think of them as sentient creatures. It is this ignorance which is partly to blame for the fact that the cruel and abusive are allowed to continue to be cruel and abusive.

Sitting in a pub one day I couldn't help overhearing a telling conversation at the next table. A woman told her quite respectable looking companions how a friend of hers, a laboratory scientist experimenting on animals, had got fed up with anaesthetizing the rats he was using. And so, she said, instead of giving them a chemical anaesthetic he used to swing them around by their tails and knock them out by banging their heads on the workbench. She illustrated this hideous manoeuvre several times with a slick hand motion. She and her companions then laughed heartily. If a teenage thug had been spotted doing this he would have been taken to court. But I believe that this sort of thing is a regular occurrence in laboratories, which are almost exclusively populated by sickening and barbaric psychopaths. I still find it frightening that the woman in the pub, and her mindless companions, thought the evil actions of this vivisector were simply funny. But it is that sort of mindless approval of what goes on in laboratories that ensures that nothing changes and that animals continue to be abused.

Challenge

At the start of 1997 Melvyn Bragg, a British television and radio presenter (who was later made a Lord by the Labour government), was reported to have claimed that animals have no feelings (and that it was, therefore, perfectly acceptable to hunt them to death).

I challenged Bragg to debate whether or not animals have feelings live on a weekly radio programme which he presented. I also asked any other TV or radio presenters prepared to broadcast the debate to contact me. When I heard nothing from Bragg I tried to make the debate more interesting by challenging him to a £20,000 debate with the subject: "Do Animals Have Feelings?" I suggested that Bragg should argue that animals don't have feelings while I would argue that they do and that those listening to the debate should be invited to choose the winner (with the votes being counted by an independent authority). I also suggested that both of us put up £10,000 – with the winner of the debate receiving the £20,000. (I promised to give the £20,000 to anti vivisection campaigners).

I heard nothing from Mr Bragg and as far as I know he has not repeated the alleged comment that animals have no feelings.

Animals Have Moods And Feelings

Anyone with an even modest intellect and a capacity to observe should know that animals have moods and feelings just the same as human beings do. And why shouldn't they? Why should human beings be so unique in that regard? (There is surely something odd and illogical – although undoubtedly convenient for their purposes – about animal abusers assuming that animals and people are similar enough in anatomical and physiological terms for vivisection experiments to be of value but, at the same time, assuming that animals have no emotions. But then there is something odd and illogical about most things that the animal abusers do.)

The available scientific evidence proves that although animals are very different to human beings in physiological and anatomical terms (so different as to make vivisection experiments worthless) animals show a similar range of intellectual skills and emotions to human beings.

They are not the same intellectual skills and emotions but that doesn't make them invalid. Animals do not recognise one another by name or clothing (as we often do). But they can recognise one another by smell, by sound and by instinctive skills which we either do not possess or have lost through not using them.

Animals Are Sentient

The truth, as anyone who is capable of reading and observing will know, is that animals are not only sentient but also exhibit many of those qualities which racists like to think of as being the preserve of the human race. (I think it is perfectly fair to describe those who claim that all 'good' qualities are the exclusive property of the human species as exhibiting a form of racism. The word 'speciesism' is, it seems to me, accurate but rather clumsy. We talk about the 'human race' and so, presumably, acknowledge that there are other 'non-human races'.)

One of the absurdities of the discussion about hunting which has raged for recent years in Britain has been the sight of apparently intelligent people arguing about whether or not animals which are hunted suffer physical pain and/or mental anguish when they are being pursued to the death. How can there possibly be any debate? Those who do express doubt about this are telling us a great deal about their own innate lack of understanding and compassion, and their inability to learn from simple observation. If observation is not enough there is more than enough scientific evidence to show that birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and crustaceans all have nervous systems and all suffer pain.

Darwin showed that fear produces similar responses in both humans and animals. The eyes and mouth open, the heart beats rapidly, teeth chatter, muscles tremble, hairs stand on end and so on. Parrots, like human beings, turn away and cover their eyes when confronted with a sight which overwhelms them. Young elephants who have seen their families killed by poachers wake up screaming in the night. Elephants who are suddenly separated from their social group may die suddenly of "broken heart syndrome'. Apes may fall down and faint when suddenly coming across a snake. If a man shouts at a dog the animal will cower and back away in fear.

Animals Can Communicate

Animal abusers sometimes assume that it is only humans who can communicate with one another. This is total nonsense. Even bees can communicate. They can tell one another the direction, distance and value of pollen sources quite a distance away.

Animal abusers generally dismiss animal noises as simply that (noises) but scientists who have taken the time and trouble to listen carefully to the extraordinary variety of noises made by whales have found that there are patterns of what can only be described as speech which are repeated from one year to another.

It is generally assumed that parrots merely repeat words they have heard without understanding what they mean. This is not true. Masson and McCarthy report how when a woman left her parrot at the vet's surgery for an operation the parrot, whose name was Alex, called out: "Come here. I love you. I'm sorry. I want to go back." The parrot clearly thought that he was being punished for some crime he had committed. Another parrot, in New Jersey, US saved the life of its 'owner' by calling for help. "Murder! Help! Come quick!" cried the parrot. When neighbours ran to the scene of the crime they found the parrot's 'owner' lying on the floor, unconscious, bleeding from a gash in his neck. The doctor who treated the man said that without the parrot's cries he would have died. The same parrot woke his owner and neighbours when a fire started in the house next door.

How arrogant the animal abusers are to assume that human beings are the only species capable of communicating with one another, and of formulating a formal system of language.

Vivisectors frequently laugh at the animals they torture and abuse. The concentration camp guards in the Second World War laughed at their victims and called them lice and rats. The vivisectors talk about 'sending a mouse to college' when they want to raise funds for experiments.

We have the power to do what we will with creatures of other species. But no one has given us the right to abuse our power in this way. Civilised people respect, rather than abuse, the power they are given.

Animals feel complex emotions. But the animal abusers claim that because animals do not satisfy our human criteria for intelligence small animals do not deserve any sympathy or understanding. It is but one step from this to arguing that unintelligent humans can be used for experiments, eaten or abused in any other selected way.

Human beings who have taken the time and trouble to do so have found that they have been able to communicate well with chimpanzees and numerous other animals. It is known that monkeys can grasp the concept of numbers and can learn to count. Primates will often strive to make the peace after a hostile encounter. And uninvolved primates may help begin and cement the reconciliation. And yet vivisectors are given legal licences allowing them to do horrific things to these animals. Who gave human beings the right to hand out licences to torture?

Capable Of Love

Animals, like people, are capable of loving their partner, their families, their children, their leaders, their teachers, their friends and others who are important to them. An ape will show exactly the same signs of love and affection when dealing with her baby as a human mother will when dealing with her baby. Both will look longingly, tickle and play with their baby. Both feed their young, wash them, risk their lives for them and put up with their noise and unruly behaviour.

Anyone who doubts that animals love their young should stand outside a farm yard when a calf has been taken away from a cow and listen to the heart breaking cries of anguish which result. Who knows what inner anguish accompanies those cries?

Even fish will risk their lives to protect their young. In his seminal work The Universal Kinship (first published in 1906 and now largely forgotten) J. Howard Moore described how he put his hand into a pond near the nest of a perch. The courageous fish guarding the nest chased Moore's hand away and when Moore's hand was not removed quickly enough nipped it vigorously.

Lewis Gompertz, who lived from 1779 to 1861 and was a potent champion of the rights of blacks, women and the poor (and, indeed, all oppressed human beings) was also a powerful champion of animals and was a founder of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (Quite early on he was forced out of the Society.) In his book Moral Inquiries On the Situation Of Man And Of Brutes Gompertz wrote: "From some birds we may learn real constancy in conjugal affection, though in most instances their contracts only last for one season, but how strict do they keep this. They have no laws, no parchments, no parsons, no fear to injuring their characters, not even their own words to break in being untrue to each other: but their virtue is their laws, their parchments, their parsons, and their reputation; their deeds are their acts, their acts – their deeds: and from their own breasts do they honestly tear down to line the beds of their legitimate offspring."

Gompertz described an incident illustrating the wisdom of blackbirds. "I observed a male blackbird flying about in an extreme state of agitation," he wrote. "And on my going to discover the cause of it, the bird retreated from me as I followed it, till it stopped at a nest containing a female bird sitting upon her eggs, near which there was a cat: in consequence of this I removed the cat, and the bird became quiet. After that, whenever the cat was about the place, the blackbird would come near my window, and would in the same manner direct me to some spot where the cat happened to be stationed."

Gompertz, who also wrote about a male blackbird which had attacked a cat which had caught its female partner, reported three true incidents which illustrated animal kindness and wisdom.

The first concerned two goats which had met one another on a narrow path between two precipices. There was no room for the two goats to turn or pass and so one of the goats lay down, allowing the other to walk over it. The second incident involved a horse who had been hurt by a nail when he had been shod. Finding it painful to walk he had gone back to the farrier and shown him his hoof. The third incident involved a sheep dog who jumped into freezing cold water and successfully rescued another dog who had been floating on a lump of ice. "I would now fain ask," wrote Gompertz, "if all this does not show reason and virtue?"

J. Howard Moore described how monkeys adopt the orphans of deceased members of their tribe and how two crows fed a third crow which had been wounded. The wound was several weeks old and the two crows had clearly been playing 'good Samaritans' for some time to keep the injured bird alive.

Darwin wrote about a blind pelican which was fed with fish which were brought to it by pelican friends who normally lived thirty miles away.

Strong males in a herd of vicunas will lag behind to protect the weaker and slower members of their herd from possible predators.

Before slavery was abolished black people who fell in love were regarded as enjoying simple 'animal lust' as a result of 'animal attraction'. Who on earth (or, indeed, in heaven) gave us the right to make such judgements about black people or animals? When black people formed life long pairs this was dismissed as nothing more than an a response to an 'instinct'. The same thing is said about animals (with just as little evidence to support it). Who gives humans the right to argue that animals do not show emotions? Animal abusers sneer and say that animals which seem to show love are merely acting according instinct. But who says? Where is the evidence for this claim? Why do animal abusers have the right to make statements with no evidence whatsoever in support? Why don't the animal abusers follow a consistent line and argue that human mothers who show love for their human babies are merely following their instincts? (Of course, animal abusers change their views when it suits them. Even vivisectors and hunters, who claim that animals have no feelings, will often claim to be loved by their companion dogs and cats.)

There are numerous, well-authenticated stories of animals risking their lives to save their loved ones. And animals will put their own safety second to protect their friends. One herd of elephants was seen always to travel unusually slowly. Observers noted that the herd travelled slowly so as not to leave behind an elephant who had not fully recovered from a broken leg. Another herd travelled slowly to accommodate a mother who was carrying her dead calf with her. When the herd stopped to eat or drink the mother would put her dead calf down. When they started travelling she would pick up the dead calf. The rest of the herd were accommodating her in her time of grief. Gorillas too have been seen to travel slowly if one of their number is injured and unable to move quickly. Remember this unquestioning generosity next time you are trapped in the midst of a crowd of selfish and impatient human beings travelling by car, train or aeroplane.

Powerful Memories

Many creatures have memories which humans might envy. Ants retrace their steps after long journeys and can recognise other ants after months of separation. When a limpet has finished roaming it will return to the exact spot on the same rock where it had been settled previously. Birds fly back year after year to the same nesting spots – to within the inch. Fish, too, return to the same stretch of water to hatch their young. Horses used in delivery routes frequently know exactly where and when to stop – and for how long. Squirrels who have buried nuts months before can find them without hesitating.

J. Howard Moore reported that an elephant obeyed all his old words of command on being recaptured after fifteen years of freedom in the jungle. He also reported that a lion recognised its keeper after seven years of separation. A snake which was carried a hundred miles away from home managed to find its way back.

There is plenty of evidence, too, to show that many creatures other than human beings have powerful imaginations. Spiders will hold down the edges of their webs with stones to steady them during gales which have not yet started. Cats, dogs and horses and many other creatures are believed to dream. Parrots may talk in their sleep. Horses frequently stampede because they are frightened by objects (such as large rocks or posts) which are no threat to them. This must show a sense of imagination because the horse, like a child, has created a terror out of nothing. A cat playing with a ball of wool is imagining that it is playing with its prey.

We always tend to think the worst of animals (and other creatures). We assume that they are stupid and our interpretation of their behaviour is based upon that ill founded prejudice. It is, for example, generally assumed that the ostrich sticks its head in the sand in the assumption that when it cannot see the rest of the world, the rest of the world cannot see it. But where is the evidence for this theory? Could it not be equally possible that the ostrich sticks its head in the sand because it cannot bear what there is to view in the world around it? When a human being covers his or her eyes to avoid looking at a horrific accident we do not say that they believe that they can't be seen.

Altruistic Behaviour

Animals don't just show love; they frequently exhibit behaviour that can only be described as altruistic. Old lionesses who have lost their teeth and can no longer bear young are, theoretically, of no value to the rest of the pride. But the younger lions will share their kills with them. Young, agile chimpanzees will climb trees to fetch fruit for their older relatives. Foxes have been observed bringing food to adult, injured foxes. When one fox was injured by a mowing machine and taken to a vet by a human observer the fox's sister took food to the spot where the injured fox had lain. The good Samaritan sister fox made the whimpering sound that foxes use when summoning cubs to eat (even though she had no cubs).

Animals have been known to give food to hungry humans. Koko, a gorilla who learned to communicate with humans through sign language, gave medical advice to a human woman who complained of indigestion. Koko told the woman to drink orange juice. When the human revisited ten days later and offered Koko a drink of orange juice Koko would not accept the drink until assured that the woman felt better. Whales have been observed to ask for and receive help from other whales. J. Howard Moore describes how crabs struggled for some time to turn over another crustacean which had fallen onto its back. When the crabs couldn't manage by themselves they went and fetched two other crabs to help them. A gander who acted as a guardian to his blind partner would take her neck gently in his mouth and lead her to the water when she wanted to swim. Afterwards he would lead her home in the same manner. When goslings were hatched the gander, realising that the mother would not be able to cope, looked after them himself. Pigs will rush to defend one of their number who is being attacked. When wild geese are feeding one will act as sentinel – never taking a grain of corn while on duty. When the sentinel geese has been on watch for a while it pecks at a nearby goose and hands over the responsibility for guarding the group. When swans dive there is usually one which stays above the water to watch out for danger. Time and time again dogs have pined and died on being separated from their masters or mistresses. Animals can suffer, they can communicate and they can care.

A Border collie woke a young mother from a deep sleep and led to her to her baby's cot. The baby was choking on mucus and had stopped breathing. What is any of this but compassion? How can animal abusers regard themselves as sentient when they mistreat animals who can feel this way?

Konrad Lorenz described the behaviour of a gander called Ado when his mate Susanne-Elisabeth was killed by a fox. Ado stood by Susanne-Elisabeth's body in mourning. He hung his head and his body was hunched. He didn't bother to defend himself when attacked by strange geese. How would the animal abusers describe such behaviour other than as sorrow born of love? There is no survival value in mourning. It can only be a manifestation of a clear emotional response – love.

A badger was seen to drag another badger which had been killed by a car off the road, along a hedge, through a gap in the hedge and into a burial spot in nearby woods.

Coyotes form pairs before they become sexually active – and then stay together. One observer watched a female coyote licking her partner's face after they had made love. They then curled up and went to sleep. Geese, swans and mandarin ducks have all been described as enjoying long term relationships.

Vanity And Self-Consciousness

Animals have also been known to show vanity, self consciousness, embarrassment and other allegedly exclusively human emotions. Masson and McCarthy reported that chimpanzees have been observed using a TV video monitor to watch themselves make faces – the chimpanzees were able to distinguish between a live image and taped image by testing to see if their actions were duplicated on the screen. Chimpanzees have even managed to use a video monitor to apply make up to themselves (humans often find this a difficult trick to learn). One chimpanzee has been reported to have used a video camera and monitor to look down his throat – using a flashlight to help the process.

As for vanity: "...males (baboons) with worn or broken teeth yawn less than male baboons with teeth in good condition – unless there are no other males around in which case they yawn just as often," write Masson and McCarthy.

One gorilla who had a number of toy dolls used sign language to send kisses to her favourite puppets and dolls. But every time she realised that she was being watched she stopped playing.

When a bottlenose porpoise accidentally bit her trainer's hand she became "hideously embarrassed', went to the bottom of her tank, with her snout in a corner, and wouldn't come out until the trainer made it clear that she wasn't cross.

Jane Goodall has reported that wild chimpanzees can show embarrassment and shame and may, in addition, show off to other animals whom they want to impress. (One chimpanzee who fell while showing off was clearly embarrassed).

Many people who live with cats will have noticed that if the cat falls off a piece of furniture it will appear embarrassed – often beginning to wash itself as though making it clear that the embarrassing incident didn't really happen at all. Elephant keepers report that when elephants are laughed at they will respond by filling their trunks with water and spraying the mockers. And many dog owners have reported that their animals have made it clear that they know that they have done wrong. For example a dog which feels it has done something wrong may go into a submissive position before the owner knows that the animal has done something "bad'.

Artistic Animals

There are many myths about animals and the animal abusers tell many lies in an attempt to belittle the skills that animals have. It is, for example, sometimes said by animal abusers that animals cannot see in colour. This is a nonsense. Four sheep who lived with me, who were accustomed to being fed from an orange bucket, would come running across a field if they saw the orange bucket. When used a blue bucket they showed absolutely no interest. The colour was the only significant difference between the buckets.

A chimpanzee has been observed staring at a beautiful sunset for fifteen minutes. Monkeys prefer looking at pictures of monkeys to pictures of people and prefer looking at animated cartoons rather than at still pictures.

Gerald Durrell wrote about a pigeon who listened quietly to most music but who would stamp backwards and forwards when marches were being played and would twist and bow, cooing softly, when waltzes were played. Dogs will alter their howling according to the other sounds they hear. One gorilla enjoyed the singing of Luciano Pavarotti so much that he would refuse to go out of doors when a Pavarotti concert was being shown on television. Animal abusers have for years dismissed bird song as merely mating calls. But who can say that birds do not sing to give themselves and others pleasure? Animals get pleasure from their food too.An Indian elephant in a zoo used to split an apple into two and then rub the two halves onto the hay to flavour it.

Many apes have painted or drawn identifiable objects while in captivity. And when a young Indian elephant was reported to have made numerous drawings (which were highly commended by artists who did not know that the artist was an animal) other zoo keepers reported that their elephants often scribbled on the ground with sticks or stones. When one Asian elephant got extra attention because of her paintings nearby African elephants used the ends of logs to draw on the walls of their enclosure. (I do not approve of keeping animals in zoos but these simple observations are of value.)

The animal abusers invariably try to think the worst when considering animal behaviour. When a bird takes bright objects to decorate its nest the animal abusers will claim that the bird doesn't really know what it is doing. When a human being collects bird feathers to decorate a room they are said to be showing artistic tendencies.

Vivisectors, and others who abuse animals, are blind to all this because they want to be blind to it. Animal abuse is driven by economic need and there is no place for sentiment and compassion when money is at stake. Vivisectors tear animals away from their partners, their friends and their relatives with no regard for their feelings – or for the feelings of the animals they have left behind.

When animals are born in zoos the keepers and jailers claim that this is evidence that the animals are happy. Would they also claim that the fact that babies were born in concentration camps is evidence that concentration camp inmates were happy?

What trickery the animal abusers use in their sordid attempts to excuse their brutality. Animals in captivity often die far younger than they would die if they were allowed to roam free.

Smarter, Kinder, Better

Many other species – from families as varied as ants and dolphins – are smarter, kinder and better at creating societies which work than are human beings.

A survey showed that almost half of all the women in one US city had been raped, or subjected to attempted rape, at least once in their lives. Just think of the torture performed by humans on other humans.

Animal abusers will leap on every example they can find of apparent 'bad behaviour' by animals and use that example to draw far reaching conclusions about all animals. They ignore the fact that the 'bad behaviour' to which they refer may well have been triggered by human aggression.

Do the animal abusers who regard one example of bad animal behaviour as significant also suggest that because one human murders, tortures or rapes we must all be judged by that individual? Are all human beings to be judged to be as barbaric and evil as murderers, rapists and vivisectors?

As I have described in my book Why Animal Experiments Must Stop (published by the European Medical Journal) experimenters have deliberately planned and executed experiments designed to make animals feel depressed. When they have succeeded in making animals depressed they have written about their experiments as though proud of themselves for having succeeded in their evil aims. What possible purpose can there be in creating depression when there is already so much of it in the world? (But, incidentally, does not the ability of the experimental scientists to 'make' animals feel depressed provide yet more proof that animals are sentient creatures?)

Enjoying The Suffering

No animal, other than the human animal, has ever deliberately performed experiments on another. No one animal, other than the human animal, has ever deliberately tortured another being.

Human beings are the only species who abuse one another (and members of other species) for pleasure. Human beings are the only species who torture. Only human beings chase and attack living creatures for fun – and for the pleasure of watching the suffering.

Contrary to myth cats do not 'play' with animals for fun – it is part of their learning and training process. Cats kill so that they can eat and they need to practise their chasing skills. It is, however, important to remember that a cat or a kitten will be just as happy chasing a ball of paper or a piece of string (particularly if it is manipulated in an effective and lifelike manner). This shows that the cat doesn't chase and catch because it enjoys the suffering which is produced. How much 'fun' could there possibly be in 'torturing' a ball of paper or a piece of string?

Foxes are often criticised (by those who hunt them) on the grounds that they sometimes kill large numbers of hens. The implication is that the fox kills for pleasure. The truth, however, is that, like other predators who may kill more than they can eat when they have the opportunity, foxes store (or intend to store) the food they have killed.

Animals As Carers

In When Elephants Weep Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy report how a man called John Teal, who was working with endangered musk oxen, was at first alarmed when some dogs approached and the musk oxen snorted, stamped and thundered towards him. Before John Teal could move to escape the oxen formed a defensive ring around him and lowered their horns at the dogs. The musk oxen were protecting their new human friend in exactly the same way that they would protect their calves from predators.

Animals have even been reported to have pets of their own. A chimpanzee who was thought to be lonely was given a kitten as a companion. The chimpanzee groomed the kitten, carried it about with her and protected it from harm. A gorilla called Koko had a kitten companion which she herself named All Ball. An elephant was seen to routinely put aside some grain for a mouse to eat. Racehorses who have had goat companions have failed to run as expected when separated from their friends.

A Sense Of Fun

Human beings are not the only animals to have a sense of humour and fun and to enjoy playing.

Masson and McCarthy report that foxes will tease hyenas by going close to them and then running away. Ravens tease peregrine falcons by flying close and closer to them. Grebes tweak the tails of dignified swans and then dive to escape. I have watched lambs play their own version of 'King of the Castle' (and many other games customarily played by children). A monkey has been seen to pass his hand behind a second monkey so that he could tweak the tail of a third monkey. When the third monkey remonstrated with the second monkey the first monkey – the practical joker – clearly enjoyed himself.

When scientists examined the dung of lions the lions (who had watched them do it) dug up the latrine the humans had been using – and inspected the contents. Ants, fish, birds, cats, dogs, sheep, horses, monkeys, porpoises and many other creatures often play games.

The Barbaric Abuse Of Sensitive Creatures

Animals frequently make friends across the species barriers. There is much evidence showing that animals have helped animals belonging to a different species. So, why do we have to be the only species to abuse all other creatures? Is our cruelty to other creatures really to be regarded as a sign of our wisdom, superiority and civilisation? What arrogance we show in the way we treat animals. Where is our humility and sense of respect?

Animals have passionate relationships with one another, they exhibit clear signs of love, they develop social lives which are every bit as complex as our own. By what right do we treat them with such contempt?

Perhaps those who torture and kill animals had to claim that animals have no feelings when they first started their evil practices (otherwise they would have had to admit that they themselves were acting cruelly) but how they can continue to do this when there is so much scientific evidence to prove that they are utterly wrong? I believe that some of those who torture and kill insist on being allowed to continue to torture and kill partly because they know that if they stop and admit that they were wrong to do what they did, they will have to admit that they have spent their lives in the senseless, unjustifiable and barbaric abuse of sensitive creatures.

No one with any intelligence or sensitivity of their own can possibly doubt that animals are capable of suffering. Animal experimenters, abattoir workers, hunters and others of that ilk degrade us all and diminish our worth as a species.

Better Than Animals?

The animal abusers will frequently argue that since human beings can speak foreign languages and do algebraic equations they are inevitably 'better' than animals. What nonsense this is. Does this mean that humans who cannot speak foreign languages or do algebraic equations are not entitled to be treated with respect? And who decides which are the skills deserving of respect? If it was decided that the ability to fly, run at 30 mph, see in the dark or swim under water for long distances were the skills worthy of respect there wouldn't be many human beings qualifying for respect.

Cats can find their way home – without map or compass – when abandoned hundreds of miles away in strange territory. How many human being could do the same? How many humans could spin a web or build a honeycomb?

We owe it to animals to treat them with respect and, at the very least, to leave them alone to live their lives on this earth free from our harm. Darwin wrote that: "there is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties". He also argued that: "the senses and intuition, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason etc. of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or sometimes even well-developed condition in the 'lower' animals."

Turtles have been observed learning a route from one place to another. To begin with they make lots of mistakes, go down cul-de-sacs and miss short- cuts. But after a while they learn how to reduce their journey time dramatically. Birds, who might normally be alarmed by the slightest noise, learn to ignore the noise of trains and cars when they build their nests near to railway lines or busy roads. Even oysters are capable of learning. Oysters who live in the deep sea know that they can open and shut their shells at any time without risk. But oysters who live in a tidal area learn to keep their shells closed when the tide is out – so that they don't dry out and die. This might not quite rank alongside writing a classic novel but how many human beings can write classic novels?

Animals use reason and experience to help them survive and they exhibit most of the skills which the animal abusers like to think of as being exclusively human.

Most people think of sheep as being pretty stupid animals. People who claim to have studied animal behaviour often argue that sheep do not have long term memories. But consider the following true story from when I had four sheep (Septimus, Karen, Cilla and Snowy) living with me.

One March I got my ride-on-mower out from the shed where it had been stored for the winter and started up the engine ready to drive it across the courtyard towards the garden. I intended to start by cutting the croquet lawn. As I started up the engine and the mower chugged slowly out of the shed I watched the four sheep, who were grazing in their field, prick up their ears and start to run. I watched as they ran for several hundred yards and then stood waiting at the very spot where, the previous summer, I had dumped the grass cuttings I had taken from the lawns.

It slowly dawned on me that the sheep had, after a gap of five or six months, recognised the sound of the lawn mower's engine (differentiating it from the numerous other engines they would have heard in the intervening period), recognised that the sound of the engine meant that I was about to start cutting the grass, remembered that they liked munching a handful of grass cuttings, remembered where I had dumped the grass cuttings some five or six months previously when I had last cut the lawns, and had instantly run round the field to be in position ready for the first batch of cuttings of the season.

Now all that seems to suggest to me that sheep are really very bright. I know a good many human beings (most of them politicians) who could not have used that one piece of information (the starting up of a lawnmower engine) and drawn such an accurate conclusion.

All animals accumulate information which helps them to survive and live more comfortably. Moreover, they do it just as man does – by discriminating between useful and useless information and by memorising information which is of value.

A puppy who has been burnt on a hot stove will keep away from the hot stove just as surely as a child who has suffered a similarly unpleasant experience. Older fish learn to be wary of lures – and become far more difficult to catch than young ones. Rats learn how to avoid traps, and birds learn where telephone wires are strung (so that they don't fly into them). Arctic seals used to live on inner ice floes to avoid the polar bears but after man arrived and proved to be a worse enemy they started living on the outer ice floes.

Many animals know that they can be followed by their scent and act accordingly. A hunted deer or hare will run round in circles, double back on its own tracks, go through water and leap into the air in order to lose its pursuers.

And flocks of parrots will send an advance scouting party ahead to check out that all is well.

To describe cruel people as 'animals' (something which the animal abusers often do) is a foul libel.

Animals As Teachers

There is no doubt, too, that animals actively teach their young in order to pass on skills which the animal abusers generally regard as being "nothing more than instinct'. I have watched an adult cat giving lessons to orphan kittens for which he had taken responsibility. The adult cat, teaching the art of stalking, would edge forwards and then stop and look over his shoulder to see if the kittens were following in the correct style. After the lesson had gone on for some time the kittens started playing behind the adult cat's back. They got away with this for a while but eventually the adult cat saw them. He reached back and gave them both a clip with an outstretched paw. The kittens weren't hurt but they paid attention to their lesson again.

We tend to ignore the actions of other creatures because we don't have the time to watch what they do. But even the seemingly lowly ant has a complex and sophisticated life style. Ants can communicate with one another and they can recognise their friends. They clean one another, they play, they bury their dead, they store grain; they even clear land, manure it, sow grain and harvest the grass which they have grown.

When animal abusers hear about this sort of behaviour they dismiss at as nothing more than instinct. But is it? If a Martian looked down on earth and watched us rushing about on our routine daily work would he perhaps be tempted to describe us as incapable of original thought and responding only to instinct? We may not like it but many races of non-human beings have a much greater influence on their environment than many men have. There are still tribes of men who live almost naked in very crude huts and whose social structures are relatively primitive when compared to, say, the beavers who cut down trees, transport them long distances, dam rivers, construct substantial homes and dig artificial waterways. Ants plant crops and build roads and tunnels. Birds build astonishingly beautiful nests from the simplest of materials.

Animal abusers claim that man is the only animal to use tools. But this simply isn't true. Even insects use tools – using small stones to pack the dirt firmly over and around their nests. Spiders use stones to keep their webs steady when the weather is stormy. Orangutans and baboons use sticks and stones as weapons. Monkeys use stones to help them crack nuts. In one zoo a monkey who had poor teeth kept (and guarded) a stone hidden in its straw for nut cracking. That monkey had a tool which it regarded as its own property. Chimpanzees drum on hollow logs with sticks. Monkeys know how to use sticks as levers. The Indian elephant will break off a leafy branch and use it to sweep away the flies.

Ants know how to keep grain in a warm, moist atmosphere without the grain sprouting. The honeycomb and the bird's nest are wonders of architecture. Insect communities practise true and decent socialism.

The wonders are unending.

Animals are often curious and determined and hard working; loving and loyal and faithful. (But they do not harm themselves with tobacco and alcohol.)

We do not understand how a cat which has been taken a hundred miles away from its home (in a closed bag) can find its way back again.

But animal abusers will sew up a cat's eyes, plant electrodes into its head and subject it to unimaginable pain and suffering in their search for financial, intellectual or personal reward.

The eagle and the vulture have eyes as powerful as a telescope. The swallow will travel thousands of miles every spring – only to be trapped and shot by a Maltese hunter when it dares to land to find fresh water.

Many animals, birds and insects can predict the coming of storms far more effectively than our allegedly scientific weather forecasters.

Weight for weight the tomtit has more brain capacity than a human being.

The animal abusers claim that animals cannot reason. But it is clear that it is the animal abusers who find reason a difficult concept.

The facts are abundantly clear: animals are sentient creatures. As J. Howard Moore put it: "The human species constitutes but one branch in the gigantic arbour of life."

How cruel and vicious a species we must look to lobsters who are boiled alive, to donkeys who are beaten beyond their endurance and to all farm animals.

Generally speaking, man is the most drunken, selfish, bloodthirsty, miserly, greedy, hypocritical being on the planet. And yet we think ourselves so damned superior. Man is the only being on the planet to kill for the sake of killing; to dress up and turn killing into a social pastime. It can truly be said that not all men are humane.

The animal abusers sneer at hyenas but they do not kill for fun.

Only man gloats over the accumulation of material goods which he does not truly need.

No creature is as immoral as the animal abuser. Only man needs an army of lawyers to fight over what is right and wrong. Only man has forgotten the meaning of natural justice.

We have created a hell on this earth for other creatures. Our abuse of animals is the final savagery, the final outrage of mankind in a long history of savagery and outrage. We have colonised other species in the same way that White Northern Europeans colonised other parts of the world. Instead of learning from other animals, instead of attempting to communicate with them, we simply thrash around wickedly, abusing, torturing, tormenting and killing. We destroy the relationships of animals with one another, with their environment and with our own race. We diminish ourselves in a hundred different ways through our cruelty and our ignorance and our thoughtlessness. "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn and his inhumanity to not-men makes the planet a ball of pain and terror," wrote J. Howard Moore.

If man was truly the master of the universe he would use his wisdom and his power to increase the comfort and happiness of all other sentient creatures. Sadly, tragically, man has used his wisdom and his power to increase the misery of other sentient creatures. Animal abusers imprison millions of animals in cruel and heartbreaking conditions and ignore their cries of pain and distress on the grounds that animals are not 'sentient creatures'. What self delusional nonsense this is.

Sheep and cattle are left out in huge fields in cold, wet weather. They shiver and search in vain for shelter because all the trees and hedgerows have been removed to make the farm more efficient. The animal abusing farmer cares not one jot for animals: he cares only for his profits.

It is quite simply just as immoral to regard animals as existing for the glorification of man as it is to regard black men or women as existing to serve white men.

"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things," wrote Albert Schweizer, "man will not himself find peace."

The merciful man is kind to all creatures.

Chapter Two:

Animals Have No Souls And Take No Responsibility And Therefore They Can Have No Rights'

"Animals are those unfortunate slaves and victims of the most brutal part of mankind."

John Stuart Mill, 1868

A few years ago I was invited to speak about animal issues in Johannesburg, South Africa. There was initially some difficulty in finding a supporter of animal abuse in general (and vivisection in particular) who was prepared to debate the issue with me in public. The only local academic who was prepared to defend his work in public agreed to do so on condition that the entire debate was conducted in Afrikaans. As he undoubtedly well knew, I do not speak Afrikaans.

Eventually, a speaker was flown in from somewhere else in South Africa to support the contention that scientists should be allowed to continue performing animal experiments. In the end science, the new savagery, must always be defended against the gentle campaigners at the citadel walls.

One of the main tenets of this speaker's argument was that since animals do not have souls they do not have rights. This is, of course, a point of view first put forward by Renι Descartes a long time ago. Descartes believed (with no evidence whatsoever to support the belief) that non-human animals lack souls, intelligence and the ability to feel pleasure, pain or, indeed, anything. According to Descartes if you hit an animal then it would cry out for just the same reason that a clock chimes or a bell rings. Despite his continuing reputation Descartes was clearly not a bright individual.

I recall rather angrily asking the woman in South Africa who had told her that animals do not have souls – and whether her god had confirmed this allegation. I seem to remember a lack of a clear response to this question.

The Intellectually And Morally Deprived

Bizarre though it may sound the primitive and self serving argument that animals have no souls is widely used by the intellectually and morally deprived.

The woman who goes to church on Sundays, wearing her fur coat with her hat adorned with feathers torn from birds, and who eats meat and hunts, undoubtedly thinks herself a godly and gentle woman when she mumbles prayers she does not understand and gives unearned pence for the building of ever more glorious churches.

Those who argue that animals have no souls usually add that animals are on this earth solely for the use of human beings and that it is, therefore, perfectly acceptable for us to do with them what we will.

This is, of course, exactly the same argument which was used in favour of slavery. "Negroes have no rights which the white man is bound to respect," said a member of the US Supreme Court. (Ample proof, if proof be needed, that judges and the courts can and do make blunders of criminal proportions and may not always be capable of melding law with justice and moral rights.)

The attitude of the animal abusers towards other species should not be too much of a surprise to us. After all, every nation and, indeed, every tribe of human beings, has at some time or another looked down upon outsiders.

Some tribes in Africa used to punish theft within the tribe with death but encouraged and rewarded thieving from other tribes. In Afghanistan it was traditional for a woman to pray that her son would become a successful robber of strangers. The ancient Germans did not regard crimes committed beyond their boundaries as crimes at all. The Jews believed themselves to be superior to all other races, selected by their god to be above all others and given the right to make war upon the weak and to take their lands. The Greeks regarded all non-Greeks as barbarians and the Romans regarded all non-Romans as barbarians too. Romans kept slaves in abundance (they had so many slaves that a Roman would have one slave whose sole duty was to look after his master's sandals) but those slaves had no rights. The Chinese regarded their country as being the centre of the earth and the Spanish, the English, the French and the German have all regarded themselves as superior to the rest of the world. Even the US, a young nation with remarkably little to commend it other than size and wealth, has acquired an arrogant belief in itself as leader of the world.

The Christian looks down his nose at the Jew who looks down his nose at the Moslem who looks down his nose at the Christian.

An Easily Demolished Argument

A variation on the 'no soul – no rights' argument is to claim that animals do not, and can not, have any rights because they do not take any responsibility for their actions.

This must surely be one of the most easily demolished arguments in history and yet it is frequently repeated by people who obviously regard themselves as sentient and intelligent human beings. It is even used quite frequently in print and is consistently popular with pro hunt supporters.

The fact is, of course, that this is a pseudo argument which can surely only have been thought up by, or be sustained by, the intellectually disadvantaged.

If not taking responsibility for ones actions denies one any rights then one must presume that the animal abusers would also be happy to deny rights to babies, the mentally ill, unconscious patients in hospital, the subnormal, patients suffering from disorders such as senile dementia and so on.

None of the people in these groups take responsibility for what they do. Does that mean that we are free to do with them what we will?

The animal abusers may have money, and they may have power, but they don't have much in the way of brains.

Social Structures

In fact, there is ample evidence that animals do often take a great deal of responsibility. They may not show much responsibility towards human beings (or towards human values) but in that respect they are no different to human beings – who do not show much responsibility towards animals and animal values.

There is a great deal of evidence to show that animals have powerful social structures and even systems of justice. Animals who do wrong to other animals are punished and animals frequently make an effort to right injustices.

Our Duty

There is another point here which is rarely made by the animal abusers – who may not be sensitive enough or intelligent enough to have thought of it. If we, as human beings, are so astute, so clever, so sensitive and so superior is it not our responsibility to behave towards other species with kindness and respect?

Mischievous animal abusers will argue that people who insist on treating animals with respect must afford the same level of respect to all other living organisms. "If you want to be kind to animals," they will claim smugly, "then if a wasp wants to sting you you should let it."

They also try to force us to draw lines. If we are going to be kind to animals do we have to be kind to all animals or should we choose certain groups for preferential treatment? Should we be particularly kind to the primates? After all we are closer to the primates than we are to rabbits or snakes. Should we treat mammals with more respect than other creatures?

It is a common mistake to assume that Darwin regarded the human being as the finished product in the evolutionary process. Darwin actually wrote that: "animals may partake from our common origin in one ancestor...we may all be netted together".

He argued that humans and apes and orangutans are evolutionary first cousins. Darwin disapproved strongly of the attempt to use the philosophy of natural selection to excuse racism. (Racists have on many occasions argued that black people are members of a different species to white people.)

Evolution, as described by Darwin, is a result of random genetic mutation. There is no sound moral basis for arguing that one mutation is better than another – or that the mutated version is inevitably better than the unmutated version. It may be different and have different attributes but that doesn't necessarily make it better.

The big answer, of course, is that this isn't our earth. We don't own it. We may have colonised it but we don't have the freehold. And we have a simple duty to treat all the other inhabitants with respect. We should not abuse or torture any living creature. There is no need for the drawing of lines between species which deserve our respect and species which don't. We should have respect for all other living creatures and we should not authorise or legalise cruelty. We should live our lives so as to cause as little pain as possible to other creatures (whether human or animal). We have no right to dominate any other creature. And although we do, of course, have the right to use whatever power is necessary to dissuade a wasp from stinging us there is no need for us to kill it to do this.

Any individual, of whatever species, who has the ability to suffer and to feel pain deserves to be treated with respect. We do not have the right to dominate any living creature or to despoil our environment. The abusers of animals abuse themselves too.

Arrant Nonsense

Those who abuse animals often argue that pro-animal campaigners do not care about people as much as animals. This is, of course, arrant nonsense. Just about everyone in history who has campaigned for people has also campaigned vigorously for animals. Abuse is abuse, whoever the victim may be. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the US who abolished slavery, believed that animal rights were as important as human rights. William Wilberforce and Henry David Thoreau both fought for animals as well as people. Lord Shaftesbury, a social reformer who campaigned for free education and to stop children being employed in the mines campaigned against animal abuse and for the total abolition of vivisection. Albert Einstein was a vegetarian who fought for animal rights. John Locke, the philosopher, believed in animal rights as well as human rights and wrote that if children were cruel to animals it would harden their hearts towards other humans. Dr Albert Schweitzer, the theologian who won the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, and is famed for his work in his African hospital was a vegetarian who believed in reverence for all forms of life. Leonardo Da Vinci was a vegetarian. Buddha, who founded the religion named after him, taught that men should not hurt or kill any living creature. Charles Darwin believed that to love all living creatures was the most noble attribute in man. C. S. Lewis and Robert Browning both campaigned against vivisection. Gandhi, who led the Indian people to independence by non violent means, was a vegetarian who believed that vivisection was the blackest of all the black crimes committed against god and his fair creation. Voltaire, the French author, attacked the absurd Cartesian principle that animals were no more than machines. Mark Twain, the American humorist who supported many social reforms was a stern critic of all forms of animal abuse. Sir Isaac Newton believed that humanity should be extended to include animals. Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher and legal reformer believed that humanity should protect every creature which breathes. George Bernard Shaw, the Nobel Prize winning social reformer was a vegetarian who campaigned against all animal abuse including vivisection. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that "compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."

As a counterbalance to this short and by no means complete list of caring individuals Gill Redfearn, who runs Plan 2000, the anti vivisection group which I am proud to have founded, compiled a list of murderers who had also done unspeakable things to animals – thereby neatly proving the point that cruelty is cruelty and cruel people are cruel people.

She listed Peter Kurten, known as the Dusseldorf Monster, who murdered more than 50 people and practised bestiality on dogs as he tortured and killed them; Luke Woodham who stabbed his mother and killed two teenage girls and who also set fire to his own dog; David Berkowitz who killed six people and who also shot his neighbours dog and poisoned his mother's parakeet; Patrick Sherrill who murdered 14 people and who stole local pets for his dog to attack; Jack Bassenti, a murderer and rapist who buried puppies alive; Richard William Leonard, the murderer whose grandmother forced him to kill and mutilate cats when he was a child; Randy Roth who killed two wives, and who also used an industrial sander on a frog and taped a cat to a car engine; Jeffrey Dahmer who killed 17 men and who also killed many animals; Edward Kemperer who killed his grandparents, mother and seven other women and who also chopped up cats; Henry Lee Lucas, who killed his mother and his wife and who also killed animals and had sex with their corpses; Michael Cartier, a murderer, who also threw a kitten through a closed window and who pulled a rabbit's legs out of its sockets when he was four years old.

There is, it seems clear, a strong relationship between those who are cruel to animals and those who are cruel to humans. The sort of people who abuse animals (whether by experimenting on them, hunting them or hurting in some other way) are the same sort of people who abuse humans.

Surely we should be kind and considerate towards other creatures for exactly the same reason that we should be kind and considerate towards other human beings.

Why should we consider it a crime to torture a man to death – but support a government which gives public money to support a vivisector who tortures a monkey to death? Where is the justice or the logic in it? There is none.

If aliens landed on earth and started to treat us in the way that we now treat animals we would protest vehemently. What, pray, is the difference in the way we currently treat other living creatures?

"The love for all living creatures," wrote Charles Darwin, "is the most noble attribute of man." By that definition man is not a particularly noble creature.

As a final note it seems relevant to point out here that it is in any case impractical, if not impossible, to separate animal abuse from people abuse in the way that animal abusers try to do. Animal abuse and people abuse are inextricably and permanently linked. For example, the abuse of animals in the name of science, performed by vivisectors in laboratories, may appear to be solely an abuse of animals. But since the end result of such experiments is the production, marketing and prescribing of drugs which have not been adequately tested for human use people do suffer as a result of animal experiments. Similarly, the abuse of animals in the preparation of meat may not, at first, appear to involve much abuse of human beings. But since it is now known that eating meat is closely linked to the development of a number of types of deadly cancer those who are involved in killing animals for human consumption are also, inevitably, involved in killing human beings.

The farmer, the abattoir worker and the butcher who abuse animals in order to provide meat for the dining table are also directly responsible for the deaths of those people who have contracted cancer through eating meat. Since those who work in the meat industry should know that the product they sell kills people it does not seem unreasonable to describe meat industry workers as murderers.

From A Human Standpoint

We look at everything from our unique, human standpoint. If a mouse wanders into an animal abuser's house and nibbles at a piece of cheese the animal abuser immediately puts down poison and sets traps all over the house. Animal abusers tear baby chimpanzees from their mothers, drag them thousands of miles, stick them into tiny cages and do unspeakable things to them in order to obtain academic status and glory.

J.Howard Moore tells a remarkable story in his classic book The Universal Kinship.

"One of the greatest obstacles missionaries have to contend with," wrote Moore, quoting from letters written by an American missionary in Burma, "is the hostility aroused in the people by the killing and flesh eating habits of the missionaries themselves. The native inhabitants, who are the most compassionate of mankind, look upon the Christian missionaries, who kill and eat cows and shoot monkeys for pastime, as being little better than cannibals. Contemplate the presumption necessary to cause an individual to leave behind him fields white for mission work, and travel, at great expense, halfway round the earth in order to preach a narrow, cruel, anthropocentric gospel to a people of so great tenderness and humanity as to be kind even to 'animals' and enemies!"

Anthropocentricism, a founding philosophy of Judaism, Christianity and Mahometanism, is an attitude of mind which has for centuries shaped the history of the world, and is undoubtedly the most conceited expression of human provincialism (and colonialism) ever devised.

According to this view of the world man is the centre of the universe – and of life itself. Everything else (including women and all other living creatures) is there for the pleasure of man.

If this were so one might reasonably assume that the several million non-human species on the planet earth would all be of value to mankind. But they aren't. Some species are a threat to man's life and survival as a species. Many are neither a help nor a hindrance. And what of the planets? What possible use are they to man?

Ancient man's assumption that the world was created for him should be a historical absurdity; but it isn't. This bizarre and obviously ill founded nonsense is still the basis for the widely held parochial conceit that animals, birds, fish and so on are all here solely for our delight. And anthropocentricism seems to get stronger by the year.

In The Sunday People newspaper on December 6th 1998 a columnist called Carol Sarler wrote: "This country is going animal crackers..".

Sarler then dealt with two topical issues.

First, she attacked an animal rights campaigner called Barry Horne who was, at the time in prison, close to death, on hunger strike to draw attention to the government's failure to fulfil its pre election promise to hold a Royal Commission to investigate the scientific value of vivisection. Barry Horne had been on hunger strike before the Labour Party had won the 1997 election but I had helped to persuade him to come off his hunger strike by sending him a copy of the letter I had received from Elliot Morley MP, (written on behalf of the Labour leader Tony Blair) in which Morley had written that the Labour Party was: "proposing a Royal Commission [on vivisection] to investigate the claims that animals need to be used and to recommend on alternatives".

However, towards the end of1998 Horne was said to be so frustrated by the Labour Party's decision to abandon what many had seen as a promise that he went back on hunger strike. Sarler described Horne as a "monstrous blackmailer" and wrote "may he rot in hell".

One wonders if she would have described Gandhi, another man who went on hunger strike to fight for something he believed in, in the same words. It might have been valid to question the practicality of attempting to influence a corrupt, insensitive and dishonest government through a hunger strike but it seems to me that Sarler's comments were simply grossly offensive. Sadly, Sarler was not alone in her views.

Second, she was less than complimentary about a man who was offering a £10,000 reward for the return of his missing cat. The man who had lost his cat had explained that for him and his wife losing the cat was just like losing a child. Sarler wrote that he should "think, before he ever opens his daft mouth again'.

At the time I wrote a column in the same paper as Sarler. I had never been terribly impressed by her column but I asked the Editor of the paper to print a piece attacking her comments. I found Sarler's comment about the man who had lost his cat brutal and insensitive. I felt that although Sarler might not understand it millions of people regard their family pets as family members. And I thought that Sarler's comment about Barry Horne was the most inhumane piece of mean spirited low class gutter journalism I had ever read.

I wrote that: "Sarler may not believe in the same things that he believes in but he has a cause he is prepared to die for and if she can't respect that then I regard her as pretty low down on the evolutionary scale".

I went on: "When I read Sarler's comments I felt thoroughly ashamed to be a member of the same race (I have never met her but am assuming that she is human) let alone a contributor to the same newspaper."

I was sad but not particularly surprised when the Editor of The Sunday People refused to print my comments in my column. He allowed Sarler to attack animal lovers. But he wouldn't allow me to attack Sarler.

Universal Kinship

The theory of the 'universal kinship' of man and other creatures, as taught by Buddha, Pythagoras and Plutarch has been pushed aside. Both Shelley and Tolstoy favoured universal kinship but few modern writers would dare to espouse themselves to such an out of favour philosophy.

The fact that not all creatures have equal rights does not, in the slightest, affect the principle that all creatures have rights. No one would argue that all men have equal rights (though many would argue that they should) but only a simple minded person would attempt to argue that inequality justifies taking away rights from some.

Some creatures fly, some make their home in the sea, some live for a day and some for a century or more. Some are brown, some are white, some are blue and some are green; some are tall and some are small. Some are wise and social, others are solitary and simple in thought. Some roam constantly while some are content to stay at home.

They are all tenants, and all entitled to share the glory of our earth.

The Underestimated Moral Argument

Pro-animal campaigners who oppose animal abuse in general and vivisection in particular have, in recent years, allowed themselves to be suckered into concentrating almost exclusively on scientific issues and arguments and virtually abandoning the moral issues. Moral and ethical arguments have been ignored; deemed to be less powerful than scientific arguments and therefore largely irrelevant.

This has been a huge mistake for the moral and ethical arguments are in many respects more powerful, more convincing and more difficult to oppose than the scientific arguments. It is impossible to nitpick or create false facts when arguing on moral or ethical grounds.

Our failure to utilise the moral and ethical arguments is, I believe, largely a result of the fact that the animal abusers and their allies and supporters know that they are more vulnerable when facing moral and ethical arguments.

It simply isn't possible to bend the truth so easily when discussing moral and ethical issues as it when discussing scientific issues.

In concentrating on opposing vivisection solely with the scientific arguments we have fallen into a clever trap carefully laid by the pro-vivisections. After a good deal of thought I have come to the conclusion that the scientific argument against vivisection tends to give vivisectionists an opportunity to marginalise their opponents and to trivialise the argument by concentrating on minor specifics.

Those of us who oppose animal experimentation will not ever win with the scientific argument alone because there will always be room for dispute and the vivisectionists will always be able to find doctors and scientists whose pro-vivisection views can be used to frighten and confuse the public.

As a result anti-vivisectionists end up spending much time arguing about obscure specifics. Often, there are no clear cut answers and as a result there must always be doubt in the uncommitted listeners mind – particularly since the vivisectionists are skilled at adding to the confusion with misleading, inaccurate and cruelly dishonest information.

Would a treatment for diabetes have been found earlier or later than it was if there had been no animal experiments in the 1920s? As an anti-vivisectionist I can produce evidence proving that the animal experiments delayed progress. But facts and evidence really aren't enough. The vivisectionists will do anything to win and since they are dishonest and (by definition) unethical and immoral people they will produce fake facts and create false theories to help them argue the opposite. The only half interested listener will be totally bewildered. He will eventually abdicate from taking any decision and allow himself to be bullied by the claims of the intellectual terrorists campaigning for vivisection who argue that to stop animal experiments would be to put at risk the health and survival of small children.

"If it's a choice between my child and a rat then I'll come down on the side of my child," the weary (and frightened) observer will insist.

It is possible that those who have chosen to argue exclusively on scientific grounds may have harmed the anti vivisection cause and delayed the defeat of the barbarians.

Indeed, could it be that some of those who have promoted the scientific argument most ferociously (and who have insisted on totally excluding the moral arguments) might have been financed or in other ways supported by the vivisectionists? Some of those who have been most emphatic in their insistence that only the scientific argument is of value have also been the people most likely to attack others in the anti-vivisection movement. The infighting which has more or less destroyed the anti vivisection movement in the last few decades appears to have come largely from those who have also insisted on following the scientific argument to the total exclusion of the moral argument.

Black and White

The ethical argument against vivisection is black and white (vivisection is immoral) and is constantly being strengthened by new evidence showing the extent to which animals have feelings and are (contrary to the claims of those who support vivisection, hunting and other obscenities) sentient creatures.

Ethical arguments are now regarded by some as being as out of date and irrelevant but they are powerful and it is a mistake to neglect them. Even among the best scientists (and animal experiments are the refuge of the second and third rate scientists) scientific truths and methods are not real truths and have no permanence. They are regularly replaced as new discoveries are made. The only real truths are moral truths, the only unquestionable certainties relate to man's responsibilities, duties and rights.

It was, after all, the ethical argument which led to the defeat of the last great moral outrage – the slavery of black humans.

Anti-vivisectors have fought a losing battle for over a century because whether we like it not history is built upon perception not reality and myths can be more important than facts. True history is what we remember and what influences our lives. Facts are, of themselves, of considerably less significance than myths and perceived truths. A widely believed falsehood is more likely to prove influential than a little known truth.

If all else fails the vivisectors will happily lie (they are, by definition, intrinsically corrupt and intellectually barren but though they may be narrow-minded and prejudiced they are also sometimes cunning and exceedingly devious). For example, they will (and frequently do) argue that vivisection has helped us to conquer cancer when the facts show that the battle against cancer has been and is being lost. The myths and lies of the vivisectors have produced confusion but have also become gradually accepted as fact. There are many scientists, politicians, journalists and apparently well informed and reasonably intelligent individuals who seriously believe that laboratory experiments on animals are valid and essential.

(It is because perception is more important than reality that politicians use spin doctors. It is worth remembering that Goebbels is the spiritual father, and the patron devil, of all spin doctors.)

Chapter Three:

Winning The Moral And Ethical Arguments

The vivisectors say: Animals are merely 'things' which exist to be used by humankind.

The truth is: Rene Descartes, who propogated this theory with enthusiasm, is regarded as one of the greatest thinkers in history and one of the greatest men of the seventeenth century, but he had massive blind spots. The biggest was probably his belief that because they had no immortal soul animals had no conscious life, no desires, no feelings and no emotions.

Animals, declared Descartes, with the enviable certainty of a man who is inspired by powerful religious prejudices, were no more entitled to respect or consideration than were clocks. He claimed that horses were no more 'alive' in the human sense than were the carriages they drew.

If Descartes had spent just a little more time looking around him and a little less time trying to understand the secrets of the universe, he would have known that he was wrong. If he had had enough common sense to talk to any child with a dog, cat or rabbit he would have learned the truth: that although it may be impossible for us to imagine precisely how animals do think, or what they think about, there cannot possibly be any doubt that they are capable of as much thought as many humans. Simple observations would have told Descartes that animals feel pain, suffer when they are sick, get bored, endure unhappiness and depression, grieve, mourn and can be driven mad by abuse.

Each member of the animal kingdom is different, but that does not mean that cats are any less alive than Frenchmen, or that dogs are any less deserving of our compassion than children. Even rats – perhaps the most despised and least loved of laboratory animals – are intelligent, alert and sociable animals. They can develop relationships with one another and with human beings and they quickly become bored and frustrated when imprisoned.

But Descartes did not look around him, and did not talk enough to children, and his theories rapidly became accepted as fact by a society which was always better at thinking up theories than it was at sustaining them with facts. Descartes was a powerful and influential member of the academic establishment and, most important of all, his beliefs fitted in comfortably with the beliefs of other scholars.

As the years went by so Cartesian logic spread throughout the scientific community and before long a scientist who wanted to look inside a cat would do so simply by nailing it to a board and cutting it open. He would ignore its squeals of protest as of little more significance than the squeaking of a rusty door hinge or a stiff axle. To a large extent, therefore, it was Descartes' crude, simplistic and undeniably inaccurate philosophy which led to the development of modem day vivisection.

In order to keep thinking of animals as 'things', rather than sensitive individuals, most researchers have developed the habit of talking and writing about the creatures they use in a totally impersonal way, often using a strange vocabulary to describe what they are doing. Researchers will, for example, refer to cats as 'preparations', will describe crying or miaowing as 'vocalisation' and will use phrases like 'nutritional insufficiency' instead of saying that animals starved to death. At least one group of researchers has used the term 'binocularly deprived' to describe domestic tabby kittens which they had deliberately blinded. When animals are finished with at the end of experiments they are frequently 'sacrificed' or 'subjected to euthanasia'. Maybe researchers do not like to remind themselves that they are killers.

The vivisectors say: Animals do not have rights.

The truth is: Researchers with a simple way of looking at the world will frequently argue that animals do not have any rights. When pushed they will explain that the sole purpose of animals is to make our lives easier. The furthest they will go towards accepting that animals deserve to be treated with respect is to say that human beings share a responsibility to ensure that animals are not subjected to unnecessary suffering. The word 'unnecessary' is, of course, impossible to define satisfactorily and very few active researchers will ever admit that any experiments have ever involved 'unnecessary' suffering.

This is, of course, the same elitist talk that graced the dinner tables of the pre-Wilberforce slave traders and it is the same sort of talk that still graces the (invariably) well stocked dinner tables of the exceptionally fortunate and heavily prejudiced. People, they will claim, are the centre of the universe; all else revolves around us. People, they argue, are entitled to do as they wish with the rest of the world. They will insist that if it were not for human beings animals would have no role to play on this earth. Animals, they say, exist. solely to provide people with food, clothing and pleasure. This arrogant attitude has been described as speciesism and condemned as cruel and insensitive, but these thoughts are widely held and are not easily overpowered by logic or any of the other tools of the intellectual.

The primitive mind which sees humankind as the sole purpose of creation, and the single reason for life, is unlikely to be swayed by anything which demands such subtle expressions of intelligence as reason, insight or humility.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are not illegal, so how can they be wrong?

The truth is: I am constantly saddened by the fact that there are still men and women around the world who regard themselves as reasonable well educated and of adequate intelligence but who can accept such a narrow, selfish and unforgiving argument. I confess that when I hear this argument aired I feel overcome by weariness and despair. "It is against the law to torture and maim human beings in the name of science but it is not against the law to do these things to animals, so where can be the objection?"

Who can possibly live with such an absurdly mechanistic approach to life? What is legal is not necessarily moral, any more than what is moral is necessarily legal. A few generations ago the legal status of a black person in America was roughly similar to that of a field of corn. The truth is that what is legally acceptable and what is morally acceptable are two very different things. Most of us would agree that it is immoral to threaten or frighten children unnecessarily but such acts when committed within a family unit, are rarely illegal. In some conditions rape may be considered legally acceptable. But does that make it morally right? Parking a car in the wrong place is illegal but does that make it immoral?

If we take 'legal rights equal moral rights' to its logical conclusion, consider what would happen if extra-terrestrials were to land on earth. Under our present law no one from outer space, however charming, gentle or peace loving, could be protected from brutality. We are the only species protected by the full force of the law. A research scientist would be perfectly entitled to perform experiments on an alien, secure in the knowledge that such actions were legally proper.

It is not difficult to find many other flaws in this often voiced but shallow and remarkably simple-minded argument. For example, are animals outside our law because they do not have souls? And if so how do we know that they do not have souls? And even if it were true that they did not have souls (and were therefore denied another life) why does that give us rights over the one life that they do have? And what about those individuals who believe in the theory of reincarnation? According to their beliefs, a scientist who chops up a mouse may be destroying a former relative of theirs. Are such beliefs wrong? Do they have no legal or moral standing? Are we entitled to make judgements about our neighbours' theological beliefs simply because a written law does not forbid a particular activity?

There are no easy answers to any of these questions and I pose them simply to make it clear that there can be no inevitable agreement between activities which are legally acceptable and those which are morally acceptable. But there is one final argument which, I think, makes it crystal clear that on balance it is dangerous to assume, as so many vivisectors do, that because their work is legal it must be moral and ethical. This final argument concerns the question of consent.

A researcher who wishes to experiment upon a human being must first obtain that individual's consent. Without consent any act of vivisection on a human being would be an illegal assault. But how can a researcher obtain consent from a monkey when planning an experiment? Although obtaining consent is impossible we do know that monkeys can understand one another and can communicate with some human beings. So what gives a researcher the moral right either to assume that the monkey has given consent or to assume that obtaining that monkey's consent is unnecessary? The law may say that a monkey is not a human being and therefore has no legal rights, but just because vivisection is legal that does not make it morally right. As I mentioned earlier in this book, Gandhi described vivisection as: "the blackest of all the black crimes that man is at present committing against god and his fair creation."

The vivisectors say: Animals do not matter because they cannot think.

The truth is:I first heard this argument on a television programme some years ago. The dark-suited scientist who put it forward made the statement as though it were an accepted fact and as though it excused any sort of barbarity. "Animals can't think", he said bluntly, looking around him as though that settled that. "What about babies?" asked a young man whose hair was dyed bright green and who had a cluster of safety pins through his nose and ears. "Can they think?" He paused and thought for a moment. "And what about the mentally ill, the educationally subnormal and people suffering from senile dementia?" The scientist had no answer. The fact that animals cannot think (even if it were true) is no excuse at all for treating them without respect.

But it is not true that animals cannot think. Is there any good reason to believe that a baby monkey does not feel when separated from its mother and family, placed in a drum and left there, alone, for several weeks at a time?

Just because animals do not automatically speak our language, do we have any right to assume that they are stupid?

This is, indeed, the sort of argument once followed by the worst sort of colonial Englishman. "The natives don't speak English and so they must be stupid", he would argue with enviable simplicity.

The truth is that anyone who has ever lived with a cat will confirm, it is nonsense to say that cats are incapable of thought. They are remarkably intelligent and emotional creatures. They can communicate with one another and with human beings very effectively. And they even have skills that we certainly do not seem to have. There are, for example, numerous accounts of cats finding their way home on journeys of several hundred miles. Cats whose owners have died will walk for miles – crossing motorways, rivers and railways and passing through cities and across fields – in order to be with other human beings whom they like. Without maps or compasses cats can make long, arduous journeys with startling skill.

The only thing we know for certain is that there are no creatures in the world quite as cruel and unthinking as some of the humans who work in experimental laboratories.

The animal abusers say that those of us who oppose animal experiments are guilty of anthropomorphism, and that we are worrying unnecessarily about creatures whose lives and lifestyles we do not fully understand. We are, they say, projecting our feelings, fears and hopes onto the animals they use. There is, as ever, a strong streak of arrogance in this argument, for those who put it forward seem to be saying that although we are over-estimating the needs and rights of animals, they have got things just right.

The truth, as always, is that the pro-vivisectionist campaigners are limited by their own lack of perception and although they have managed to begin a train of thought they have been unable to see it through to a sensible conclusion. It is perfectly true to say that animals are not like people and it would be foolish to imagine that animals see things in the same way that we do. Each animal sees the world in a different light. Animals are not like people, but they are not like rocks either. Cats think and behave like cats. Monkeys think and behave like monkeys. Dogs think and behave like dogs.

Only when we have made the effort to understand how dogs think and behave will we understand the full extent of their suffering when they are used in laboratory experiments. All animals are different. Cats like eating freshly killed mice. Cows like eating grass. Monkeys use their tails to help them swing through trees. Some creatures are happy eating food that we would feel uncomfortable about stepping in. Although it is clearly wrong to anthropomorphise and to read ambitions and hopes into behavioural patterns that may mean something quite different, it is perfectly possible for us to learn enough about animal behaviour to understand something about what they like and what they dislike.

Back in 1965 the British government decided that the thin, hexagonal wire mesh used to make up the floors of cages in which hens were kept was uncomfortable for them to walk on. A well-meaning committee of human experts decided that thicker wire would be better. But when the chickens were given the choice they showed, quite clearly, that they preferred the thin, hexagonal wire. And the chickens overruled the distinguished team who had advised the government because in the end they managed to show that they knew best what they preferred (out of two cruel options).

By observing animals carefully it is possible to decide what sort of life they like best and it is also possible to discover that when given a choice animals will always choose the least distressing of all the available options.

But the people who conduct animal experiments do not bother to find out what the animals they use are really like. They do not want to know that the animals they are using have the intelligence to make choices. They do not like to think that the animals they are keeping might prefer a different lifestyle.

The conditions in which laboratory animals are kept are crude, cruel and barbaric. The way in which animals are used and abused shows that those who perform animal experiments have never made the slightest effort to understand the creatures whose lives they regard so lightly.

The final irony is that researchers frequently claim that they can make judgements about behavioural patterns, or the toxicity of tested substances, by making laboratory observations. These observations and judgements are utterly worthless because the circumstances in which the animals are kept and tested are unnatural and quite divorced from reality.

The vivisectors say: If vivisection were stopped then millions of animals which are specially bred for laboratory work would never have a chance to live.

The truth is: The people who put forward this argument obviously have no idea of the sort of 'life' that is involved. I have absolutely no hesitation in denying the prospect of life to a sentient creature which would, if it was conceived and born, spend its days alone, in a tiny cage, in constant physical and mental pain. What sort of 'life' is that? If this argument were to be followed then it would excuse a host of cruelties and obscenities – including bear baiting and bull fighting. Taken to its logical conclusion it would also mean that – since sterilistion would not be allowed – many animals, such as stray cats, would starve to death.

The vivisectors say: It does not matter whether animals can think or not: we are stronger and more powerful than they are so we have the right to do as we like with them.

The truth is: Surprisingly, this argument is put forward quite frequently and there seem to be a large number of vivisectors who believe that the strong have a moral right to do what they like with the weak.

What those who favour this argument do not seem to realise is that the same argument can be applied with equal logic within the human race. So, if it is perfectly right and fair for humans to torture, maim and kill baboons because we are more powerful than they are, then it must be equally acceptable for the strongest and most powerful human beings to use the weakest humans for their own purposes. If it is morally acceptable for a researcher to use this argument to support experiments on dogs, what is there to stop the same argument being used to justify experiments on children, old people or the mentally or physically disadvantaged?

Scientists who promote this argument might like to think carefully about their own status in our society. If the intellectually deprived and socially worthless are to be used in experiments, then the vivisectors themselves will be among the first to find themselves selected for death in the laboratory.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are justified because without them human progress will be held back.

The truth is: One of the favourite debating tricks of those who support animal experimentation is to select a convenient date sometime in the past, point to all the scientific developments that have taken place since that time and to then argue that without animal experiments none of those things would have happened. This argument is to logic what marshmallows are to a balanced diet.

First, it is illogical to argue that just because animal experiments took place they were relevant, necessary or productive. Animal experiments have held back progress rather than aided it. You might as well argue that because people have managed to run faster and jump higher since animal experiments were started, there is a link between the two. You could as easily and as sensibly claim that the development of television was a result of experiments performed on animals and that without torturing monkeys, cats and dogs we would still be relying on the town crier.

Second, even if animal experiments had been relevant it would be absurd to argue that without them scientists would have made no progress at all. This is a gross insult to the intelligence and ingenuity of scientists and assumes that the only scientists with any capacity for original thought are the ones who chop up live animals. This is clearly nonsense. No one complains that we have been denied progress because scientists have not been allowed to experiment on human beings.

The vivisectors say: The use of animals in experiments is justified by the fact that such investigations enable us to add to our store of knowledge.

The truth is : Scientists usually try to justify the work they do by claiming that they are helping to save lives. They are ruthless in the way they exploit public fears and anxieties in their attempts to preserve their own careers. But such claims only stand up in the absence of evidence and more and more often scientists are having to abandon this line of defence.

When they are cornered and are unable to defend their work on practical or medical grounds, scientists will often claim that their work is justified simply because it adds to the sum of human knowledge. The work justifies itself, they say, and does not need to have any practical purpose.

It is probably as pointless to try to counter this claim with moral or ethical arguments as it would have been to try to dissuade Josef Mengele from his evil work by telling him that it was "wrong'.

Throughout history there have always been scientists who have claimed that the search for knowledge justifies any activity, however repugnant.

Like the Nazi and Japanese scientists who experimented on human beings and were convinced that their work was justified, today's animal experimenters seem to belief that their work, however barbaric, is justified because it adds to the storehouse of human knowledge.

Those who are convinced by this argument might like to ask themselves where, if ever, the line should be drawn. Does the pursuit of knowledge justify any activity?

There are some scientists who would say that it does; and there is no shortage of evidence that even today there are doctors who are willing to perform hazardous experiments on human patients under their care.

In my book The Health Scandal (published by Sidgwick and Jackson and in paperback by Mandarin) I describe a variety of experiments performed on human beings including one in which drops were put into the eyes of women in order to study the formation of experimental cataracts and one in which children were given drugs to stop them making a natural recovery from a liver infection. Most startling of all, perhaps, were the experiments in which a total of forty-two babies aged between eleven days and two and a half years were used. The experiments involved holding the babies under water to see how they responded. The scientist who conducted these experiments reported that the: "movements of the extremities are of the struggling order" and went on to say that the babies clutched at the experimenter's hands and tried to wipe the water away from their faces. She seemed amazed that the "ingestion of fluid was considerable" and made the infants cough.

During the last few decades thousands of human patients have been used in experiments (readers wanting to know more about medical and scientific research should read my book Paper Doctors – published by Temple Smith).

In Britain, surgeons have deliberately and permanently damaged the brains of many patients in attempts to treat people suffering from disorders as varied as eczema, asthma, hysteria, chronic rheumatism, anorexia nervosa, tuberculosis, hypertension, angina and anxiety brought about by barbiturate toxicity. Were these operations experiments? Were they justified?

Patients have been injected with cancer cells to see whether or not they develop cancer. Without anyone bothering to obtain their permission, patients around the world are frequently given new and untried drugs so that doctors can find out what happens.

Many scientists who perform and support animal experiments also support experiments on human beings and will argue that such experiments are justified, either because they add to the sum of human knowledge or because they help doctors develop new types of treatment.

One American scientist recently claimed that: "a human life is nothing compared with a new fact ... the aim of science is the advancement of human knowledge at any sacrifice to human life".

When another scientist was attacked for using people in a nursing home for an experiment, he replied that he could not very well use scientists for his experiments because they were too valuable.

It is also worth remembering that although many scientists are prepared to excuse the foulest of deeds on the basis that they are searching for knowledge, very few, if any, scientists are prepared to conduct their experiments at their own expense or in their own time. The vast majority of modern scientific experiments these days are performed by extremely well paid scientists working in well equipped laboratories. Often the money they use is yours.

Those members of the public who find animal experiments unacceptable (however much 'knowledge' they may give us) should also be aware that many of these experiments are conducted with public money at a time when doctors and teachers seem to agree that public services are suffering from a lack of funding. I wonder how many animal experimenters would carry on with their work (allegedly determined to add to the sum of human knowledge for the general good of humankind) if, instead of getting fat salaries from public funds, they had to pay for their experiments themselves? I suggest that some scientists would suddenly find that they had something more important to do. In other words, many vivisectors are driven not by a search for knowledge, but by simple, old-fashioned, financial greed.

The vivisectors say: Every year thousands of animals are put down because they are ill or have been abandoned. It makes sense to use those animals instead of wasting them.

The truth is: What the scientists who favour this argument fail to realise is that there is a considerable difference between putting an animal to sleep painlessly, and subjecting it to a series of painful, humiliating and degrading scientific procedures. If this argument were sustainable then it would also make sense to use dying, lonely or 'unwanted' human beings for experiments.

The scientists who favour this argument also fail to realise that killing animals because they are ill, or have been abandoned, is usually done to satisfy human rather than animal needs. The killing of animals simply because they seem surplus to requirements is morally unjustifiable. It is absurd to attempt to build an argument on foundations that are ethically unsound.

The vivisectors say: The results from animal experiments can be utilised in the prevention or treatment of diseases which affect human beings but that animals are so different from human beings that we do not have to worry about them suffering any sort of pain or distress.

The truth is: These two arguments do not fit comfortably together. If animals are similar enough to human beings for the results to be of value to clinicians then the thousands of barbaric experiments which are conducted every day are insupportable, inexcusable and unforgivable on moral and ethical grounds. On the other hand, if animals are so fundamentally different to human beings that they do not suffer during procedures which would clearly be terrifying and enormously painful for human beings then the results obtained must be valueless.

Chapter Four:

The Scientific and Medical Arguments Used By Animal Abusers

"Pain is pain, whether it be inflicted on man or on beast; and the creature who suffers it, whether man or beast, being sensible to the misery of it, while it lasts, suffers evil...The white man....can have no right, by virtue of his colour, to enslave and tyrannise over a black man...For the same reason, a man can have no natural right to abuse and torment a beast. "

Dr Humphrey Primatt, 1776

The animal abusers try to support meat eating and vivisection with as many pseudo-scientific arguments as they can. They claim (quite falsely) that human beings need to eat meat, drink milk and eat eggs. They claim that vegetarians and vegans who do not eat meat, drink milk and eat eggs will suffer from vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies. These are, to put it bluntly, lies for which there is no scientific basis.

Many of the lies told by animal abusers revolve around the use of animals in laboratory experiments.

The animal abusers ignore or defy the evidence and claim that vivisection is essential for the development of new forms of treatment. They argue that without vivisection we will never find a cure for cancer. (At the same time they usually manage to give the entirely false and unfounded idea that vivisection has already helped us find cures for many diseases, and is on the verge of helping us make great breakthroughs which will make cancer, heart disease and stress of nothing more than historical interest.)

Those with a personal, vested interest in the survival of the meat industry have started many rumours. It has, for example, been claimed (largely, I suspect, by people working for or paid by the meat industry) that people who do not eat meat must inevitably suffer from anaemia and other disorders.

(It is, incidentally, interesting to note that in my view the vast majority of the individuals who support and defend animal abuse do so because their wealth or jobs depend upon animal abuse. And an equally large proportion of the money used to defend animal abuse comes from corporations and individuals who have a vested interest in animal abuse. In contrast to this a massive majority of the individuals who oppose animal abuse do so in their own time and at their own personal expense – often taking personal risks to do so.)

The animal abusers much prefer scientific arguments to moral ones because it is much easier to create confusion when arguing on scientific grounds. Moral arguments – which are simply about what is right and what is wrong – leave relatively little room for discussion.

One big mistake many pro-animal campaigners make is to assume that science is based on truth – and that scientists are honest and honourable individuals for whom the truth is of paramount significance.

Sadly, this simply isn't true.

To begin with many scientists are second rate and only marginally competent. In my years of studying research reports published by vivisectors I have constantly been astonished by the lack of wisdom shown and have come to the conclusion that vivisection is a branch of science practised almost exclusively by second rate scientists of very moderate intelligence.

Vivisectors routinely make such crass and fundamental mistakes that even if their work were based on intelligent theories it would still be without value. For example, when performing their experiments they often make no allowance whatsoever for the fact that the animals they are using are extremely stressed and anxious because they have been removed from their friends and their normal environment. Nor do they seem to understand the significance of the relationship between diet and health. Bizarrely, it is by no means unusual for vivisectors to perform experiments without making sure that they take any note of the age or sex of the animals they are abusing. Vivisectors have such a false understanding of the animals they abuse that they deny that they have emotions (such as love and fear) and can feel pain. In addition, against all the available information, they falsely believe that there are anatomical and physiological similarities between animals and humans which are great enough for them to draw conclusions about humans when experimenting on animals. If the vivisectors were not so cruel they would be pitiful.

Many scientists are fraudsters – little more than second rate crooks – and the scientific literature is littered with untruths and half truths.

The truth is that animal experiments have held back science for centuries. Two thousand years ago Galen dissected pigs. His work misled other doctors for a thousand years. The first attempts at blood transfusion ended in disaster because blood from animals was used. Vivisectors have, time and time again, misled doctors, delayed the development of useful treatments and been responsible for the deaths of countless thousands of human patients.

An Endless Variety Of Indignities

Many people don't understand exactly what sort of experiments animals are used for.

This is no accident. Many of those who want animal experiments to continue argue that the experiments are painless and that the animals do not suffer. The truth is very different. I have filing cabinets filled with research papers from universities and institutions around the world and there seems to be no end to the variety of indignities that researchers can think up for the unfortunate animals in their power. Most of these experiments are performed on your behalf and/or with your money.

If you are uncertain about the nature of vivisection then try imagining that you are taking part in a sensitisation test for a new perfume. This is a common and simple experiment.

First, scientists would shave a patch of your skin – removing every small hair – so that the perfume would make the best possible contact with your skin. Then they would put a large quantity of concentrated perfume onto your skin and leave it there. A plaster would be put over the test area to make sure that the perfume remained in the closest possible contact with your skin. You would be tied down to make sure that you didn't move about and disturb the experiment. Every few hours or so the test site would be inspected. And more of the concentrated perfume would be added until your skin went red and started to itch.

You would want to scratch but you wouldn't be able to. A thick dressing would be put over the test area and your hands would be tied to stop you interfering with the experiment. The itching would get worse and worse. But the scientists doing the experiment wouldn't give you anything to stop the itching because if they did they would mess up their results.

Even if you cried and begged for mercy they would ignore you. These scientists are trained to ignore such pleas. It is their job to cause suffering – and to record the consequences.

Gradually, the area of skin under test would become redder and redder. Eventually it would probably begin to blister. Fluids would ooze out of your skin and drip out from underneath your plaster. You would probably notice some blood oozing out as well. Before long your whole body would probably begin to react. You might start to wheeze and to have difficulty in breathing. Your skin would start to burn and to itch and your heart might well start to pound.

The aim of a sensitisation experiment is deliberately to induce an allergy response by giving so much of the test product that the body responds violently. You would feel ill. You would probably feel nauseated and you might start to vomit.

The scientists would refuse to give you any treatment in case it interfered with the test. Instead they would simply write down your symptoms and make notes about the condition of your skin. When they had acquired enough information they would kill you.

That is one of the simplest, commonest and least intrusive experiments vivisectors perform. If you were chosen for a more intrusive experiment scientists might deliberately make you blind by sewing up or removing one or both of your eyes. Or they might drill a hole into your skull, drop chemicals directly into your brain and then make notes about your response.

Well Looked After?

Vivisectors claim that the animals they torture and kill are well looked after before and during experiments. This is, as you might expect from people of this type, another lie.

The truth is that animals are often kept in tiny cages for years – alone, terrified and able to hear the screams and cries of those creatures ahead of them on the death list.

I've unearthed the official figures for the amount of floor space animals are allowed in laboratories – and the length of time they could spend in those cages.

You might like to measure out the size of these cages on your living room carpet. And then imagine the horror of your family dog or cat living in a cage like that for years – without love or companionship, in constant fear and probably in severe pain too. You will note that the amount of space officially allocated to a cat is probably not a good deal more than the amount of space available in the sort of box people use when transporting their cat to the vet or to a cattery.

Too Horrible To Contemplate

Sadly, very few people (even among those who are keen on seeing animal experiments stopped) are keen to read anything detailing what goes on in laboratories.

Animal lovers find books and articles (and photographs) detailing what goes on in laboratories just too horrible to contemplate. And people who don't love animals just don't care anyway.

Over the years I have come to the sad conclusion that writing and publishing books detailing the powerful scientific arguments against vivisection will never change anything.

No one who has read my books Why Animal Experiments Must Stop or Betrayal of Trust (both published by the European Medical Journal) could be in any doubt about the total futility of animal experimentation. The evidence in Betrayal of Trust totally demolishes the argument that vivisection is of value to human beings. But those books have not stopped animal experimentation – partly because not enough people are willing to read them, and partly because the supporters of vivisection refuse to discuss the main arguments which Betrayal of Trust raises.

Simply For Money

I believe that the majority of the scientists around the world who perform animal experiments do so largely for money. It is what they do for a living.

The vivisectors are committed to defending what they do for two reasons. First, if they admit that vivisection is scientifically invalid and morally wrong then they must also admit that what they have spent their lives doing was scientifically invalid and morally wrong. Second, if vivisection stops they will have to find another way to earn a living. And although vivisectors are an untalented and not terribly bright bunch vivisection does pay very well.

And so the vivisectors stick together. When they do bother to defend what they do (which isn't often) they either nitpick (deliberately confusing and boring the listeners) or they dismiss pro-animal campaigners as emotional individuals who care too much about animals.

They claim that anyone who doesn't agree with them is cranky, ill informed and led by their emotions. They seem to regard the whole subject as their territory and they sneer at anyone whose thinking contradicts theirs. When I wrote a short one page paper opposing vivisection for a major international medical journal the journal published over a dozen pages of indignant rebuttal from vivisection supporters who had been shown my paper in advance of publication. (Needless to say I was not shown their responses or invited to defend myself.)

Deliberately Boring And Confusing The Public

The anti-vivisection movement has been for decades embroiled in a long lasting row with the corrupt and close minded 'scientific' establishment (which supports vivisection for clear financial reasons rather than for scientific reasons). Passion and fact have been overtaken by nit picking and a seemingly endless game of table tennis style arguments which have bored and confused the public and left the fundamental issues sunk in a sea of trivia. This is, of course, a deliberate policy by the vivisectionists.

It is important to remember that the establishment opposes pro-animal policies and the media protects the establishment. This is much easier to do with a scientific argument than with a moral argument.

Your Animal In Their Hands

The world's vivisectors – the evil, barbaric intellectually bereft individuals who perform allegedly scientific experiments on animals – torture and kill countless millions of animals every year.

Every thirty seconds these Mengele think alike pseudo intellectual thugs get through around one thousand cats, dogs, puppies, guinea pigs, baboons, chimpanzees, rabbits, hamsters, mice, rats and kittens.

They obviously need a constant supply of animals to satisfy their depraved needs.

They often obtain monkeys and other animals from countries where these animals breed naturally. In some countries animals of this type are treated like vermin and can be hunted, captured and sold with no restrictions.

Mice needed for experiments are often specially bred.

But finding enough dogs and cats can be difficult.

In America where there isn't quite as much secrecy about these things it is now known that vivisectors regularly torture and kill former family pets.

Amazingly, around two million pets are stolen every year in the US. In one part of New York over 10,000 dogs were reported missing in a single nine month period. One bereaved 'owner' searched for his missing dog and found him inside a research laboratory.

Vivisectors prefer working with family dogs and cats because they are tame and trusting – and less likely to bite or scratch.

I firmly believe that petnapping goes on in Britain too. Tragically, I believe if your dog or cat goes out at night there is a real risk that he or she could be captured and sold to a laboratory. If a family animal has ever mysteriously disappeared it could have ended up in a vivisector's laboratory.

I believe that because family dogs, cats and other animals are stolen to feed the apparently never ending demands for more laboratory fodder animal lovers who have lost pets should have the right to enter laboratories at any time to search for missing animals.

You Don't Need To Torture A Cat To Help A Cat

(Any More Than You Need To Torture A Human Being To Help A Human Being)

Those who breed animals for experiments sometimes claim that the animals they breed and sell are used in experiments – for example to develop vaccines – which will eventually help other animals. I have, for example, heard it argued that cats which are bred for vivisection are used in experiments to help prepare vaccines which will help other cats.

This argument is often put forward by otherwise intelligent and thoughtful individuals as a reason why animal breeding centres should be allowed to remain in business.

The truth is, of course, that even if vaccines for cats are necessary and useful there is no need to breed cats in cages in order to do the experimental work that will help put the vaccines on the market. There are many vaccines on the market for human beings but as far as I am aware there are, as yet, no special farms in existence where human beings are bred and kept in cages so that they can be used in vaccine development.

If vaccines for humans can be prepared without experimental humans it is reasonable to assume that vaccines for cats can be prepared without experimental cats. (In order to keep this argument simple I have deliberately ignored the question of whether or not vaccines are of any value. I have dealt with this issue in other books.)

The Hidden Danger of Animal Experimentation

There is growing evidence to support the contention that many of today's new and most threatening viral epidemics have been generated by medical scientists working with animals.

For example, during the 1960s and 1970s, encouraged by animal studies which they believed suggested that the sort of viruses they were working with were responsible for the development of cancer, researchers were trying to find an anti-cancer vaccine.

They combined viruses which were known to cause cancer in animals in an attempt to create new viruses which they hoped would give them some clues about how viruses caused cancer.

At the same time other researchers working for the military were trying to develop viral weapons with which opponents could be killed (and countries destabilised) en masse. Cancer researchers and scientists working for the military on the development of death bugs were, it is claimed, developing HIV like viruses in laboratories.

I believe it may have been through incompetence (a common fault among the mass of second-rate scientists around the world who routinely perform experiments on animals) that the newly created AIDS viruses were inadvertently spread by contaminated vaccines.

No Compromise

Attempts have on several occasions been made to bring together vivisectionists and their opponents in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the whole question of animal experimentation.

In my view these attempts have been tricks on the part of the vivisectionists: tricks which enable them to take the position that they are being conciliatory and trying to find a solution to a problem which they recognise they exists.

There can be no compromise with the vivisectors. Animal experiments are scientifically worthless, morally repugnant and ethically inexcusable and they must be stopped.

The only solution I will accept is for vivisectors to stop their evil and pointless work. I will never negotiate with them because there can be no compromise on this issue. To look for a compromise with vivisectors would be like negotiating with gas chamber operatives during the Second World War in a search for a compromise over the holocaust.

Chapter Five

Vivisection: Winning The Medical And Scientific Arguments

Many supporters of the anti-vivisection movement are concerned that they do not know what to say when vivisectors make specific claims about the value of the work they do.

This section is designed to explain some of the false arguments put forward (often with apparent scientific logic) by the vivisectors and those who defend vivisection.

The vivisectors say: Those who are opposed to animal experiments should not accept drugs that have been produced after animal testing was done.

The truth is: It is difficult, probably impossible, for patients to take drugs that haven't been tested on animals because just about all drugs are, at some time, tested on animals. But just because drugs have been tested on animals doesn't mean that the tests were relevant, useful or valid. The fact is that those drugs would have been produced more speedily and more safely without animal tests. Clinical developments may have followed animal experiments but that does not mean that there is any connection between the two. Medical progress continues despite – and definitely not because of – animal research.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are useful because they enable scientists to check out observations made by clinicians.

The truth is: Animal experiments delay progress unnecessarily. After doctors had observed that people who smoked tobacco seemed prone to developing cancer animal experimenters spent years making dogs and monkeys smoke cigarettes in an attempt to establish a link between tobacco and cancer in animals. Much to the commercial profit of the tobacco companies this link turned out to be extremely difficult to prove. As a result doctors and politicians were discouraged from providing warnings about the dangers of smoking tobacco for many years and millions of people may have died unnecessarily.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments must continue until we hat effective and reliable alternatives.

The truth is: Animal experiments are neither effective nor reliable. Indeed, animal experiments are so unpredictable and unreliable that continuing with them does great harm to people as well as animals. Human patients would be better off if drug companies did no tests on animals at all. Those who argue that animal tests are necessary because suitable alternatives are not yet available are missing the point. Animal experiments are not just useless – they are dangerously misleading. Remember: a few years ago the big cosmetic companies were all saying that they couldn't manage without performing animal experiments but today more and more international cosmetic companies are publicly boasting that they no longer test their products on animals.

The vivisectors say: New processes such as cell and tissue cultures are all very well but the whole living organism is essential for proper tests.

The truth is: Cell cultures have been available for over a century. In organ cultures small pieces of whole organs can be kept alive and enzyme and support systems maintained. It is true that whole organisms are necessary before conclusions about the efficacy and safety of a treatment can be reached but this requires human patients not animals.

The vivisectors say: Many drugs which have been tested on animals are useful. This proves that animal tests are essential.

The truth is: Just because scientists perform experiments with animals that does not mean that animal experiments are essential or even useful. Most experimenters wear white coats and drink coffee. But that doesn't mean that scientists have to wear white coats and drink coffee in order to make useful discoveries.

The vivisectors say: Animal tests can be misleading so we should be doing more not less animal tests.

The truth is: More tests would simply mean more unreliable results, more confusion and more unnecessary deaths. Many useful drugs cause problems in some animals but not in others. It is impossible for anyone to know which tests to take notice of and which to ignore.

The vivisectors say: Drug companies have to do animal tests to defend themselves against possible charges of negligence.

The truth is: When one drug company was taken to court because of advertisement claims for a drug, the company was asked to produce the evidence for this claim. The only evidence produced was from experimental studies on two animal tissues. Even the expert witnesses called by the company testified that data from animal experiments could not be extrapolated safely to patients.

After an American girl suffered eye damage when she had used a shampoo she tried to claim damages from the company involved on the basis that the drug also proved to be an irritant when tested on animals. However, the court ruled in favour of the company on the grounds that there was no evidence to show that tests done on rabbits could be used to predict what would be likely to happen to humans.

When a woman took a major international drug company to court because the drug she had been given had damaged her sight and paralysed her, she produced evidence showing that the company had known for twenty years that in experiments the drug had damaged the eyesight of rabbits, had blinded and killed calves and grown cattle and had killed or paralysed dogs. The drug company denied negligence, saying that they knew of no evidence that the drug had adverse effects on human beings and apparently dismissing the animal research as irrelevant.

The vivisectors say: Alternatives to animals are expensive and would put up the price of products.

The truth is: It might be more expensive to begin with – because laboratories would have to be altered, animal cages would have to be dismantled and scientists would have to be made redundant or retrained. But in the long run the alternatives would be far cheaper than using animals.

The vivisectors say: Vivisection is backed by 1000 scientists from around the world who have signed a petition declaring that animal experiments are essential and should continue.

The truth is: Many of the scientists who support vivisection earn their living doing animal experiments. They stand to lose everything – including income and reputation – if animal experiments are stopped. Even so there are 20,000 scientists with licences to perform animal experiments in Britain alone. Why do the other 19,000 not support animal experiments? Despite the position of the medical establishment the majority of practising doctors who have expressed any views on this subject regard animal experiments as misleading and are wholeheartedly opposed to vivisection.

The vivisectors say: Vast amounts of money are being spent on looking for effective non-animal ways to test drugs and medical treatments.

The truth is: Comparatively very little money is being spent on looking for alternatives.

The vivisectors say: Drug companies will never dare agree that animal experiments are pointless because if they do they will expose themselves to massive lawsuits from patients who have been disabled by inadequately tested drugs.

The truth is: It would be possible to introduce a moratorium on past liabilities to encourage companies to stop using animals.

The vivisectors say: Very few animal experiments are performed each year.

The truth is: The people around the world who use and authorise the use of animals in laboratory experiments do not care enough to count the animals used and so no one knows for sure how many animals are tortured and killed in laboratory experiments but informed estimates put the world-wide figure at around 250 million a year. This works out at between 100,000 and 125,000 an hour. Or, approximately 2,000 animals a minute.

The vivisectors say: Vivisection is a very small business.

The truth is: Vivisection is a multi-billion dollar business. Apart from the grants, fat salaries and expense accounts received by the scientists who actually do animal experiments there are many large and profitable industries supplying animals, cages and restraints. Individual mice can cost $100 each. Monkeys usually cost tens of thousands of dollars each because they have to be captured in the wild. (The cost is pushed higher because many die while being shipped over to the laboratories.)

The vivisectors say: Since there are not enough non-animal tests available to enable us to assess all the existing carcinogens in our environment we should allow scientists to carry on doing experiments with animals until more tests become available .

The truth is: Animal tests used to assess possible carcinogenic substances are misleading. They are based on inaccurate ideas about how cancer develops and about the degree to which data gained from experiments performed with high doses of chemicals can reveal anything about the effects of low doses of chemicals. The original theory was that if substances damage the DNA then they will cause cancer. But in some tests cancer can develop because the high doses of chemicals kill cells, provoking cell division which then produces the risk of cancer. According to animal tests, coffee, tomato puree, peanut butter and alcoholic drinks all appear to be stuffed with naturally occurring carcinogens – up to 200 times as dangerous as the carcinogens in some banned chemicals. The most absurd evidence of the futility of animal tests is surely the fact that tobacco smoke has been cleared of causing cancer in standard tests on rats. Rats can consume vast quantities of alcohol without suffering any liver damage. Only seven out of 19 known carcinogens were properly identified using the standard National Cancer Institute animal testing protocol in the USA. Non-animal testing is more sensitive, more accurate and less expensive.

The vivisectors say: One advantage of using animals is that the age and sex of the animals used does not matter.

The truth is: The age and sex of humans matter a lot when drugs are being used. Some drugs produce a much more dangerous reaction when given to older patients. The age and sex of animals matter a lot too. Old rats are far more likely to get cancer than young ones and there are many other vital differences in the way members of the same species react. Female rats are usually more sensitive to toxicity than are male rats. I wonder how many of the researchers who realise this deliberately choose to use young male rats when testing a new drug hoping to find out that it is safe. Another example of variations within a species is given by chimpanzees. Experiments on chimps invariably use chimps of differing ages despite the fact that there are enormous differences between immature and mature animals in physiological, anatomical, psychological and sexual terms.

The vivisectors say: The subject of vivisection should be confined to discussion between the experts. The experts know best.

The truth is: The experts are only discussing this problem at all because of pressure from the general public.

The vivisectors say: Several Nobel prize winners have expressed their support for animal experimentation. This means that animal experiments must be continued.

The truth is: Many Nobel prize winners are, inevitably, members of the scientific establishment. It is hardly surprising that a few Nobel prize winners support animal experiments. I am far more convinced by the fact that a majority of practising doctors believe that animal experiments can be misleading because of anatomical and physiological differences between animals and human beings. A recent survey of British doctors showed that 88% agree that animal experiments can be misleading.

The vivisectors say: Why would vivisectors carry on doing animal experiments if the evidence showed so clear ly that animal experiments were pointless and misleading?

The truth is: The vivisectors are committed to carrying on with what they do because when they change their minds they will have to admit that they were wrong. This means that they would expose themselves to some ridicule and contempt, they could expose themselves to widespread lawsuits and they would have to admit that all the work they had done in the past had been useless. Thousands of drugs which were launched on the basis of animal tests would have to be withdrawn and re-tested. Many would then be banned. The animal researchers would find that their modest skills were worthless and their vast departments and huge drug industry pay offs would be lost. Their apparent achievements would be devalued and it would be clear that they had wasted their lives. I am not surprised that they are fighting hard. Meanwhile, animal experiments are quick and easy to do. It is possible to prove just about anything by using animals and animal experiments lead to a steady supply of scientific papers.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments have led to many important discoveries.

The truth is: Vivisectors and their supporters certainly try to claim the credit for just about every scientific discovery ever made. Whenever animals are used in research vivisectors claim that it was their work which made the breakthrough possible. Since animal experiments are so widespread vivisectors are able to claim responsibility for almost all advances in biomedical sciences. The claims made for vivisection are so absurd that I wouldn't be surprised to hear vivisectors claim that animal experiments had led to the development of the motor car, television set and pop up toaster.

The vivisectors say: Many vivisectors are now introducing codes to ensure that animals are well looked after.

The truth is: You can't have a code for vivisection any more than you have a code for rape. ("It's OK to rape a woman if you buy her dinner beforehand and make sure that the room is warm and that there is plenty of straw on the floor.")

The vivisectors say: Those of us who oppose vivisection would change our minds if we were ill or if we had sick relatives.

The truth is: We would not change our minds because we know that animal experiments would not help us and would, indeed, delay useful developments in the world of medicine.

The vivisectors say: The drugs developed by drug companies are often of great use to animals.

The truth is: This is the favourite fall back argument of people who do experiments on animals. One of the big tobacco companies recently argued in court that it was exposing mice to tobacco smoke so that it could learn more about how to help mice. Some observers were sceptical. The argument is, in any case, irrelevant. It seems absurd to argue that it is acceptable to sew up the eyelids of perfectly healthy kittens or to deliberately try to make monkeys depressed in order to treat another animal. What sort of logic is there in torturing and killing animals to find treatments for animals? Most veterinary research is designed to increase farm profits rather than cure animals. It is possible that by treating sick cats experimenters could learn enough to help other cats. But you don't have to torture and kill animals in order to find ways to treat them.

The vivisectors say: Genetic experiments on animals are likely to lead to tremendous advances in medicine.

The truth is: Three of the first 'developments' produced by genetic engineers were: a form of pest resistant tobacco plant, a type of calf so big that it needed to be delivered by caesarean section and a hybrid goat-sheep. Slick, boy wonder scientists with little common sense, a greatly enhanced sense of self importance and a dangerous sense of their own infallibility are endangering the very future of our world. I do not believe there is any evidence to suggest that these experiments will prove to be of value.

The vivisectors say: Animals have poorly developed intellects when compared to human beings and can therefore be used in experiments without any fear.

The truth is: A one year old year cat is more rational and sensible than a six week old baby.

The vivisectors say: Animals are very similar to human beings. And so they are suitable for experiments.

The truth is: If animals are very similar to human beings why are we doing experiments on them? Surely such experiments must be ethically indefensible?

The vivisectors say: Many doctors perform animal experiments.

The truth is: They don't. Very few medically qualified doctors perform animal experiments. The majority of doctors who have expressed any opinion agree with me that animal experiments are useless.

The vivisectors say: If practising doctors disapproved of animal experiments they would say so more publicly.

The truth is: Many doctors are afraid of annoying the big drug companies or the medical establishment (which is controlled by the big drug companies). But more and more doctors are speaking out.

The vivisectors say: Anti-vivisection groups have frequently used information that has been obtained by activists breaking into laboratories.

The truth is: Laboratories are usually very secretive and do not allow the public to see what they are doing (even though public money is often being used). As a result the only way that the public can find out what is happening is when break-ins occur. Many dishonest, incompetent and illegal practices have been exposed in this way.

The vivisectors say: Without animal experiments surgery would not have progressed as far as it has.

The truth is: That is absolute nonsense. I believe that surgical experiments on animals may be enormously misleading. Consider psychosurgery for example. The first leucotomies were performed in the 1930s when it was thought that the frontal lobes were the source of delusions in mental patients. American workers removed the frontal lobes of chimpanzees in 1935 and thought that the animals were more contented afterwards. Since then, on the basis of those animal experiments, thousands of patients have had their frontal lobes cut out and the operation has been performed for a wide range of conditions including schizophrenia, depression, obsessional neurosis, anxiety, hysteria, eczema, asthma, chronic rheumatism, anorexia nervosa, ulcerative colitis, tuberculosis, hypertension, angina, cancer pain and drug side effects.

It is also worth remembering that it was Galen's work on pigs two thousand years ago which misled surgeons for centuries. Galen based his writings and lectures on experiments he had conducted on pigs. It is now generally agreed among medical historians that Galen's work held back medical progress for centuries until religious restrictions were withdrawn and doctors were able to cut up human cadavers. Only then did doctors discover that there are enormous differences between the anatomy of the pig and the anatomy of the human being.

The vivisectors say: Surgeons need to practice on animals to learn their skills.

The truth is: Surgeons in most countries – Britain for example – learn all their skills on human patients and not on animals. Even the law recognises the absurdity of practising surgery on animals and British surgeons must practise their skills on people. Many vivisectors are unqualified to perform human surgery. The basic techniques used in surgery are remarkably simple and can be quickly and easily learned in the operating theatre by assisting a more skilled surgeon. Differences in anatomy mean that operations performed on animals are of no value to surgeons and may encourage a false sense of confidence or carelessness.

The vivisectors say: Animal experimenters get personal pleasure from their work and should be allowed to continue with it.

The truth is: Putting aside the obvious moral and ethical arguments about whether or not scientists have the right to use animals for their own pleasure there is another issue here. There is now clear evidence that people who perform animal experiments are exposing themselves to danger. A recent report described an outbreak of lymphocytic choriomeningitis among laboratory workers handling mice or mice tissues. Another survey showed an increase in the number of deaths from cancers of the bone and pancreas among laboratory workers. And a third report listed malignant melanomas and cancers of the blood as being hazards to which laboratory staff who work with animals are exposed. There is also an increased risk of cancers of the brain and nervous system and stomach. Those who want to stop animal experiments also care about people – and want to protect laboratory staff from being exposed to unnecessary and unacceptable hazards.

The vivisectors say: Without proper drug tests performed on animals pregnant women would be at risk.

The truth is: We need to encourage doctors and drug companies to watch for, report and take note of side effects in order to protect patients properly. I believe that if proper drug surveillance techniques had been available in the 1960s the thalidomide problem would have been picked up much earlier.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are necessary so that vivisectors can inject cancer cells into animals to see what happens.

The truth is: When human cancer cells are injected into animals the cancers produced are biologically different to the ones that occur in humans. Animal experiments have no value whatsoever in the search for treatments for cancer. Indeed, animal experiments have wasted money and resources, have misled researchers and doctors and have led to the development of treatments which have caused serious problems when given to human patients. Much of the cancer research done by the world's massive cancer industry is of little value. Around 80% of all cancers can be prevented but very little effort it put into teaching people about methods of prevention – largely, I suspect, because there is little profit to be made out of telling people how not to fall ill.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments help them assess the effectiveness of new drugs designed for the treatment of mental illness.

The truth is: Animals do not noticeably suffer from the same mental disorders as human beings. How can researchers possibly know whether or not animals are suffering from delusions or hallucinations? Mice have been provoked into fighting by being given electric shocks and then calmed with tranquillisers – but what is the point of this? Animal experiments also fail to produce any evidence of addiction. For example, when the benzodiazepines were first being tested on animals researchers reported that the drug tamed monkeys, dogs, lions and tigers. These tests were used to help encourage doctors to prescribe the benzodiazepine drugs for vast numbers of patients. But these tests did not indicate that the benzodiazepines would turn out to be among the most addictive of all modem drugs.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are very useful in the laboratory since they enable the researcher to obtain results relatively quickly.

The truth is: It is very easy to do research and to get it published by using animals. All you have to do is to change the animals and do different things to them. It is much easier to do experiments with animals than with people. There are fewer rules to obey and when things go wrong there is less likely to be any trouble. (Also most researchers are not medically qualified and do not have access to human patients.) Most university departments are ruled by a quest for grants rather than a quest for knowledge and the validity of the research done is of minor significance. The only things that really matter are the number of papers published and the perceived value of the published material.

The vivisectors say: Basic research will help human patients in the long term though it is never possible to say how or when research will prove valuable.

The truth is: If research is going to be useful then it has to be properly planned and relevant and it has to be reliably performed. But most modern research is so poorly planned and executed, and so many researchers 'fiddle' their results, that no one will ever benefit. Modern scientific papers are so badly written that 99% are invalid. Scientists rely on the fact that very few people will question their work. Amazingly, 85% of medical procedures have never been properly tested. We should be spending a greater proportion of our limited resources on assessing existing therapies.

The vivisectors say: Animals are kept in good conditions.

The truth is: Animals are not kept in good conditions. Time and time again evidence becomes available that animals are kept in deplorable conditions. These poor conditions make the results the researchers obtain even more unreliable than they would otherwise be. Most of the committees and organisations which theoretically exist to ensure that researchers look after the animals they use are manned by researchers or by people who support animal experiments. This is like allowing criminals to police our streets.

The vivisectors say: Animals are inferior to us and therefore it is perfectly acceptable to do anything we like to them.

The truth is: This is the same sort of argument used by racists, sexists and others. If we experiment on animals because they are less well endowed intellectually (a doubtful argument in many cases) why don't we allow experimentation on the mentally ill and on babies and small children?

The vivisectors say: Animals cannot feel pain or suffer in the same way that human beings can – therefore animal experiments are justified and justifiable.

The truth is: All the available evidence shows that animals can feel pain and can suffer from stress. The prerequisites for pain reception are a central nervous system, a system of peripheral pain receptors and a series of neural connections between the receptors and the central nervous system. All vertebrate animals possess these three essentials and can undoubtedly feel pain.

The vivisectors say: Animals are very similar to human beings and so tests done on animals are reliable.

The truth is: The drug tamoxifen, currently used as a treatment for women with breast cancer, causes liver tumours in rats. This evidence was regarded as bad news for rats but meaningless for women. My book Betrayal of Trust (published by the European Medical Journal) lists over 50 drugs which are prescribed for human patients but which are known to cause cancer or other serious problems when given to animals. So, if drug companies and drug regulatory authorities can ignore animal tests when it suits them (presumably on the grounds that animals are different to people) what on earth can be the point in doing yet more tests on animals? Not that it is just in the area of drugs that differences exist. Scientists recently reported that: "animal studies have made it clear that there are considerable differences in the effects of vasectomy among species. Which, if any of these models applies to man is not known."

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments help in the fight against cancer.

The truth is: Because animal tests can be misleading there is a risk that such experiments may hold back medical progress. Some experts claim that trying to find out if chemicals cause cancer by testing them on animals is less efficient than tossing a coin. An American toxicologist has shown that a test which is used on rats gives results which can be applied accurately to human beings just 38% of the time. Put another way, that means that 62% of the time the results produced by that test are wrong. Tossing a coin would at least give a 50% chance of success. Animal experiments are inaccurate for the simple reason that animals used in laboratory experiments are different from people.

According to one expert, giving evidence to the United States Congress: "conflicting animal results have often delayed and hampered the war on cancer, they have never produced a single substantial advance either in the prevention or treatment of human cancer."

An extremely eminent academic concluded, after a long study of cancer experiments: "It has fallen to my lot to have to make a general survey of cancer in all its aspects and I do not believe that anyone who does this with an open mind can come to any other conclusion than that to search for the cause or cure of cancer by means of experiments on lower animals is useless. Time and money are spent in vain." America's Food and Drug Administration has now produced a 'test bed' made of human muscle tissue cells which can be used reliably to test anti-cancer drugs.

What would you prefer to take: a drug tested on mice or one tested on cells exactly similar to the ones in your own body?

The links between chemicals, X rays, foods and asbestos on the one hand and different types of cancer on the other were obtained after doctors had studied human patients – not cats, dogs or rabbits. Many experts believe that instead of helping, animal experiments have slowed down the speed with which these essential discoveries have been accepted.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are essential if we are ever to find a cure for AIDS.

The truth is: Despite enormous expenditure on AIDS research scientists have failed in all their attempts to give AIDS to animals. In view of the differences in the immune systems of animals and humans this is hardly surprising. (I now believe that AIDS may have been produced in an experiment with laboratory animals.) Although no animal has ever been infected with HIV animals under test are regarded as dangerous and infected when being tested and are therefore deprived of all human and animal contact.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments led to the development of the polio vaccine which has saved thousands if not millions of lives.

The truth is: An early breakthrough in the development of a polio vaccine was made in 1949 using a human tissue culture. Monkey kidney tissue was used in the 1950s because it was standard laboratory practice but no one realised that one of the viruses commonly found in monkey kidney cells could cause cancer in human beings. If human cells had been used to prepare the vaccine the original polio vaccine would not have been as disastrous as it was. It is also worth remembering that the number of deaths from polio had fallen dramatically long before the first polio vaccine was introduced. The incidence of polio had dropped as better sanitation, better housing, cleaner water and better food was introduced in the second half of the nineteenth century. Some scientists claim that the polio vaccine is still tested with animals. It shouldn't be. Over ten years ago the World Health Organisation recommended that animal tests are unnecessary when human cells are used to produce the vaccine.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments are helping doctors treat high blood pressure.

The truth is: The animals used in laboratory experiments do not normally suffer from high blood pressure. Researchers can only give the animals high blood pressure by tying off brood vessels, by removing kidneys or by interfering with the animal's normal physiology or anatomy so much that any resemblance to normality is lost. Advances in the treatment of high blood pressure have come from clinical experiences.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments have helped in the treatment of arthritis.

The truth is: Laboratory animals do not normally suffer from arthritis. To test new drugs researchers inject the joints of animals with irritating chemicals in order to produce some inflammation at the ends of the bones. But the disease they create artificially is still not real arthritis. Trying to find dietary answers for arthritis by giving animals different foodstuffs is even more absurd because people don't eat the same type of diet as animals.

The vivisectors say: Animal experiments have helped in the treatment of diabetes.

The truth is: The first link between the pancreas gland and diabetes was established in 1788 – without any animal experiments. Back in 1766 a physician showed that the urine of diabetics is loaded with sugar. Animal experiments merely delayed the time when diabetic patients could be treated.

Chapter Six:

Profits From Animal Abuse And The Cost Of Caring

"If before the eyes and in the mind of each individual who sits unconcernedly down to a parsleyed steak could rise the facts in the biography of that 'steak' – the happy heifer on the far western meadows, the fateful day when she is forced by the drover's whip from her home, the arduous 'drive' to the village and her baffled efforts to escape, the crowding into cars and the long, painful journey, the silent heartaches and the low, pitiful moans, the terrible hunger and thirst and cold, her arrival, bruised and bewildered, in the city, her dazed mingling with others, the great murder-house, the prods and bellowings, the trecherous crash of the brain-axe, the death drop and shudder, the butcher's knife, the gush of blood from her pretty throat, and the glassy gaze of her dead but beautiful eyes – there would be, in spite of the inherent hardness of the human heart, a great drawing back from those acts which render such fearful things necessary. "

J.Howard Moore (The Universal Kinship 1906)

The animal abusers and their supporters will inevitably claim that if we stop using animals – and start treating them with respect – the effect on our economy will be disastrous. This is, of course, exactly the same argument which was used to support slavery. Black people in the US were told that their slavery was an 'economic necessity'. In Australia the aborigines were deprived of their birthright for economic reasons. In South Africa apartheid was considered necessary if the country was going to get richer. In all these instances, of course, the black people were not the beneficiaries.

It is perfectly true that if we stop abusing animals then many companies will make less money – and lots of individuals will lose their jobs. In the 1980s the Conservative government pointed out that the pharmaceutical industry in the UK employed 67,500 people and that the industry made "a big contribution to our balance of payments". The Conservatives pointed out that: "In devising new controls (on animal experimentation) it is very important not to put industry at risk unnecessarily". The pharmaceutical industry in Britain employs more than 300,000 people. Drug companies export over £5 billion worth of medicines every year and produce a trade surplus of £2 billion – one of the biggest trade surpluses in Britain. The pharmaceutical industry funds half of all post-graduate training for GPs and pays £100 million a year to universities. Politicians who refuse to put morals and ethics (not to mention people an animals) above profits and tax revenues feel that this is an industry they just cannot afford to annoy

The Labour Party of the 1990s has also allied itself strongly with powerful business interests. It, too, does not want to do anything (and will not do anything) which puts industry at risk.

Animals don't vote. They don't pay taxes. They cannot buy support. They don't employ lobbyists to work on their behalf. And they have too few supporters who are prepared to make their welfare a priority.

Poverty of the spirit, the true end result of animal abuse, is not a problem which concerns politicians.

For hunters, farmers and others to claim that their own particular form of animal abuse should be allowed to continue so that they can keep their jobs is an audacious example of self interest. It is exactly as though Nazi gas chamber operatives had claimed that they should be allowed to keep killing Jews so that they could keep their jobs.

But, although the financial argument is regarded as a powerful one by politicians, the fact is that it is not true that the human race must inevitably suffer enormous hardships if we stop using animals in the brutal and primitive way that we do now.

Since human needs and wants (for food, clothing, medicines and so on) will not disappear the lacunae created by the disappearance of existing food, clothing and medical firms will quickly be replaced by other industries. Jobs lost will be replaced as new companies are born and grow.

It may be true that for a while we will all be slightly poorer and have a slightly lower standard of living if we stop abusing animals. But do we really want to be rich if being rich means that our wealth is built upon the immoral abuse of other species?

Before they were elected to power Labour Party politicians claimed to have strong pro-animal policies. They appeared to care passionately about animal issues. Many Labour parliamentary candidates spoke out and portrayed themselves as lovers of animals and keen opponents of brutality to animals.

But after they were elected the Labour Party abandoned those promises and betrayed the voters who had trusted for them. Even on an issue as clear cut as hunting, where Labour's pre-election promises had been extremely precise, where every poll showed that the vast majority of the electorate were united in their wish to see hunting banned and where a vast majority of MPs had responded to public opinion and voted against hunting, the Labour government succeeded in defying democracy in a most extraordinary manner, presumably in order to satisfy some behind the scenes power brokers.

So, why did the Labour Party make promises and then break them?

I can only think of two possible explanations for what happened: either the Labour Party cynically, deliberately and dishonestly made promises they had no intention of keeping, but which they made because they felt they would win them valuable votes, or else, after the election, the Labour Party politicians were put under pressure to change their minds.

I do not, of course, have any way of knowing which of these two explanations is the true one although it may be significant to report that no one has yet resigned from the Labour Party because of these broken promises (although a good many Labour candidates gained a great deal of public support through their outspoken support of animal issues before the election).

In a way, of course, it doesn't really matter why the Labour Party reneged on the deal it made with voters. After all, the end result is the same.

But I have no doubt that the Labour Party was put under a tremendous amount of pressure not to make any changes to the way that animals are treated when it came to power.

Financial Cost

Changing the status quo is always difficult, partly because change often makes people feel uncomfortable but also because change often means that people are exposed to a real personal, financial cost.

And I find it impossible to think of any change to the status quo that would cost as much in raw financial terms, or prove as painful to the economy, as changing the way that animals are treated.

The simple fact is that much of our society's wealth has always been built upon the exploitation of the weak.

For centuries many fortunes have been built upon the exploitation of weaker and less well educated nations. In America the immigrant whites took cruel advantage of the native Americans and the black slaves who were brought in to perform heavy manual labour. In Africa the immigrant whites took cruel advantage of the native Africans. In Australia the immigrant whites took cruel advantage of the native Australians. And, of course, the European nations succeeded in colonising much of the world; extracting and stealing the natural resources and exploiting and killing the local inhabitants.

We like to think that this is all part of history and that we have stopped exploiting weaker peoples but we haven't, of course.

The big drug companies exploit poorer nations by selling them drugs which are out of date or too dangerous to be accepted in so called civilised countries. Food companies exploit poorer nations by selling them prepackaged food (such as dried milk for babies) which is neither necessary nor good for them. Tobacco companies exploit poorer nations by encouraging their citizens to start smoking. At the same time as they are paying out huge amounts of compensation to smokers in 'developed' countries the tobacco companies are advertising and promoting tobacco consumption in undeveloped countries – often by encouraging the citizens of those countries to associate cigarette smoking with the comfort and wealth which is usually associated with the west. Our scientists enabled us to turn relatively harmless local products (such as the opium poppy and the coca leaf) into potentially lethal products (morphine, heroin and cocaine) for our own western consumption. When it became clear that the consumption of these drugs could become a threat to economic growth (by destabilising work forces) we declared war on the countries where those raw products were grown and began to bomb and burn their farms so that we could destroy their natural crops.

Exploitation Of Animals

But it is animals which we now exploit most cruelly and most consistently. Animals do not have a vote. No animals are represented at the United Nations. And it is not difficult to see why the Labour Party politicians were put under pressure not to introduce pro-animal legislation.

The truth is that when officially authorised and approved animal abuse is finally stopped (and although I sadly but naturally recognise that it will never be possible to stop all cruelty to animals – any more than it will be possible to stop all cruelty to human beings – I believe that in any society which calls itself civilised, organised, legalised animal cruelty must be stopped) the financial cost to some industries will be deadly. It really isn't difficult to see why the authorities are terrified of pro-animal campaigners.

When it looked for a while as though the Labour Party might stick to its bold and clear pre election promise to ban hunting the pro hunting lobby turned out in force to protest at the destruction of a rural industry and the potential loss of jobs. The amount of money involved, and the number of jobs threatened, was relatively small. But it seems that even this modest cost may have been too much for the Labour Party to bear. There are many who believe that it was this potential financial cost which contributed to the Labour Party's decision to roll over and abandon both principles and promises.

(The argument that if hunting were banned a good many people would be put out of work was, and is, a nonsensical argument. Most of those involved in hunting would have been able to find work if the hunters had been prepared to abandon their unacceptable and blood thirsty pursuit and take up drag hunting instead. There would have still been a need for people to look after the horses and the dogs and hardly any jobs would have been lost. The refusal to take the idea of drag hunting seriously proved that what hunters really enjoy is the blood and the killing.)

If all animal abuse and exploitation were stopped many industries would cease to exist and others would have to alter themselves quite radically.

The huge, powerful and immensely profitable international pharmaceutical industry, which depends very much upon the use of animal experiments to launch new and otherwise untested products, would be virtually destroyed. High street pharmacies would have to change and many would go out of business. The medical profession, which currently depends very much upon the pharmaceutical industry for finance, would find itself in dire straits. Many universities and charities which are accustomed to receiving vast amounts of money from drug companies would have to cut back or close.

The strength and power of the industries which abuse animals for a living (and the strength of the pro-animal argument) can perhaps be best judged by the fact that one of the Labour Party's most convincing pre-election pledges – and one which won it a great many votes – was its promise to set up a Royal Commission to investigate the scientific value of animal experimentation. The Labour Party did not, of course, promise that the Royal Commission would find that animal experiments are of no value. It did not have to. Everyone who knows anything about animal experimentation knows that if a truly independent Royal Commission was set up it would have no alternative but to conclude that animal experiments are pointless and counter productive – as well as being barbaric, unethical and immoral. The scientific evidence shows quite clearly that tests on animals are a hazard to human health – and not a benefit.

However, within months of getting into power the Labour government, again showing its total contempt for the notion of democratic accountability, confirmed that it had decided that a Royal Commission wasn't necessary after all.

One Home Office Minister, Alun Michael MP, wrote and told me that the Labour Party had never said when the Royal Commission would be introduced. This, it seems to me, is the political equivalent of the child saying: "I had my fingers crossed so the lie doesn't count". Mr Michael MP presumably saw nothing wrong with the statement. It seemed to me to be the sort of wheedling "she had sex with me but I didn't have sex with her" legal chicanery which so discredited Bill Clinton's presidency. The Labour Party has become for me a modern synonym for shiftiness and cynicism.

If the Labour Party genuinely intended to set up a Royal Commission before it was elected then the only possible explanation I can think of for this abrupt and total change of heart is that the Labour Party was told by civil servants what would happen if a Royal Commission was set up and the result was a ban on animal experiments. I doubt if the drugs industry had to bother putting pressure on the government by threatening to move its highly profitable tax paying factories and employees to another country.

A Widespread Dramatic Downturn Expected

If Exploitation Halted

Quite a number of industries would suffer a dramatic downturn if animal abuse and exploitation were halted.

Zoos and circuses would have to close, of course, as would furriers and fur shops. The meat trade (including farmers, abattoirs, butchers shops, sausage and pie makers, animal feed suppliers and so on) would come to an abrupt end. Vets would take quite a financial hammering. The drug industry would lose out yet again because of a dramatic fall in the sales of antibiotics and other drugs given to animals. The food industry would have to change dramatically in order to survive. The leather goods industry (including shoe manufacturers) would also have to change in order to stay in business.

The meat industry is a vast consumer of transport vehicles. There would be no demand for lorries in which to transport animals if there was no animal trade.

There would be a temporary but massive rise in unemployment (although most of this unemployment would disappear as new industries arose and grew to satisfy the still existing needs of the community for food, clothing and entertainment). And, of course, governments everywhere would face a dramatic cut in tax revenues.

Did the Labour Party know that they would find it difficult to stick to their pre-election promises if they got into power? Of course they did. Did they know that they would find it difficult to overrule the powerful forces which protect the status quo? I suspect that they knew that too.

Did the Labour Party ever genuinely intend to take on the animal abusers and stick to its promises? I don't honestly think they did.

My guess is that their promises were inspired by some good intentions but that they knew that they would never have the courage or the strength to stick by those promises. (The Labour Party has even found it hard to stand up to the quarantine industry. The argument for ending quarantine immediately and introducing a 'pet passport' system is overwhelming. The quarantine system which Britain has favoured for decades is pointless and utterly discredited. It exists solely because a small industry depends upon it.)

A real man – and a real woman – is prepared to do the right thing whatever the cost.

Isn't it about time that we were led by real men and real women – instead of insignificant cardboard cut-outs?

Part Three:

How the Labour Party Turned Trust Into Votes, Won An Election, Tricked the Electorate And Betrayed Those Who Voted For It

" Slaves have been treated by the law upon the same footing as in England, for example, the animals are still. The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognised, that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for the abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But the suppose the case were otherwise, would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? "

Jeremy Bentham, 1789

Chapter One:

"What Do You Want Us To Promise Before You'll Vote For Us?"

"No timescale was ever promised for the establishment of a Royal Commission on animal use in scientific procedures. "

Alun Michael MP, Home Officer Minister, August 1998

In its desperate desire to win votes – and a forthcoming election – the Labour Party made numerous promises. Enthusiastic but gullible voters, tired of Conservative insensitivity, deceit and corruption, believed the Labour Party's promises and gave Tony Blair's government a chance to show what they were really made of.

As the 1997 May election approached it became clear that most rational, breathing human beings had dismissed the Conservative Party from their list of serious runners. Most people would have found it difficult to describe the Conservative government of the last few years without using the words "inept', 'incompetent' and 'dishonest' a great deal.

As I wrote in late 1996, the Labour Party would have had to work really hard if they wanted to lose the 1997 election.

Suspicions

Months before the 1997 election I felt that there were two reasons not to vote Labour.

First, was the fact that I found Mister-Blair-The-Double-Glazing-Salesman even more obnoxious than his opposite number John Major. I just couldn't stand the sparkly eyes and the fluorescent smile he switched on every time he saw a camera. He seemed to me to have all the depth and sincerity of a TV quiz show host.

More important, by far was the fact that the Labour Party did not seem to have any real policies or passions.

As the election approached I wrote that Britain needed a revolution but that the Labour Party seemed to be offering a light service; a quick flick with an oily rag. I forecast that with the Labour Party in charge Britain would drift, aimless and rudderless, through half a decade of political shilly shallying. I was not convinced by the Labour Party – which seemed to me to be just another tribe of that new breed of telegenic and articulate politicians who manage to appear to promise much without actually saying or promising anything.

I dismissed the Liberal Democrats as the traditional home for dithering voters who could not make up their minds about anything (the sort of people who think beige is a colour) but nevertheless begged everyone to vote and to tell the big political parties how fed up they were with their passionless, purposeless, corrupt, inane posturing by voting for an independent candidate or for one of the fringe parties.

There were, I argued, two reasons for this.

First, I felt that if the previously ignored 'fringe' candidates received a decent number of votes then maybe, just maybe, the big time politicians would get the message and realise how much they were despised and loathed by the voters.

Second, it was my belief that if a sizeable portion of the population voted for fringe candidates the Labour Party would be less likely to get the huge majority the pollsters were predicting.

I wrote in the winter of 1996-7 that in my view any party which got a huge majority would inevitably completely ignore the wishes of the electorate.

I warned that if Labour got a big majority they would be unbearable – and would ignore important issues and the wishes of the people. I warned that only a Parliament with a small minority would offer anything approaching honesty and justice.

A Future Full Of Hope

As the 1997 election approached many people in Britain were filled with hope and enthusiasm. After years of Conservative misrule, during which both people and animals had been treated with a mixture of disdain and contempt, the prospect of a caring Labour government seemed almost too good to be true. Millions felt that Labour offered the only chance of a future full of hope.

Pro-animal campaigners were particularly enthusiastic about a Labour government.

During their long period in power the Tories had done nothing for animals. They had bowed before the might of the farming lobby, the massive, international pharmaceutical industry (the main supporters of vivisection) and the politically and economically powerful pro-hunting lobby.

But the Labour Party promised a great deal.

The Labour Party marketing experts had identified animal issues as a great vote catcher. For five years just about every MP I had spoken to had reported getting more mail about animal issues than any other subject – including health, education and defence.

Riding To Power On The Crest Of A Wave

The Labour Party came to power in May 1997 encouraged by thousands of flag waving well wishers who apparently believed that the Labour Party offered hope for the future. As a veteran cynic I remember wondering just how many of those apparently spontaneous demonstrations of loyalty, support and enthusiasm had been organised by the Labour Party's image manipulators.

The Labour Party came to power at a time when Britain desperately needed strong, morally sound, ethically driven passionate leadership.

A growing number of voters had become aware that the food sold in our shops was contaminated with poisons and often richer in carcinogens than nutrients; that our atmosphere and seas were polluted, that our drinking water frequently unfit to drink and that people and animals were treated with contempt by bureaucrats, civil servants and administrators.

As the Labour Party came to power patients with cancer were being thrown out into the street because the hospitals which were supposed to look after them didn't have enough beds. Our roads were crumbling and our cities were full of a strange mixture of old ruins and hideous, poorly designed eyesores.

Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, which we thought we had conquered, were making a comeback and around the world millions of children in underdeveloped countries were dying of starvation.

Early Signs

An early sign of the way the Labour government would go came when one of their first actions was to decide to allow Grand Prix motor racing to retain its tobacco sponsorship. (This decision was, for many people, explained when it became clear that the boss of Formula One Grand Prix motor racing had donated £1,000,000 to the Labour Party prior to the election. The allegedly unrelated decision by the Labour Party not to ban tobacco advertising on Grand Prix cars was said to have been made on the rather curious grounds that this extremely small but exceedingly rich branch of the motor industry would suffer financially if it were not allowed to accept sponsorship from tobacco companies.)

The Labour party lost more fans by confirming the decision to spend the best part of £1,000,000,000 on building a dome-ins-search-of-a-purpose in London to celebrate the start of a new millennium – a hideous and pointless bubble that might last 25 years (probably less than the expected lifespan of a decent garden shed).

It quickly became apparent that the Labour Party (which liked to be known as New Labour to separate itself from the old, traditional, socialist Labour Party) was going to be about as passionate, honest, exciting, invigorating and promising as the Old Tory Party.

No one expected much of John Major but Tony Blair and the Labour Party had come into power with cheers, waving flags, kisses, cuddles and a wave of euphoria probably not seen since the First Coming two millennia ago.

It didn't take long for disillusionment to set in.

Chapter Two:

"Promises? What Promises? We Never Said That! And If We Did We Didn't Mean It. And If We Did Mean It We Didn't Say When."

"Hunting and fishing for sport are so plainly and unexcusably cruel as to excite abhorrence in the mind of any person endowed with the instincts of common sense and humanity."

J. Howard Moore

In the autumn of 1997 it was widely believed that the future of hunting in Britain would be decided by a House of Commons vote on November 28th 1997. Countless thousands of animal lovers who had voted Labour – and who had supported Labour's pre-election campaign with cash or by street campaigning – felt that they were about to be rewarded.

But the idea that the House of Commons was going to decide the future of hunting was always a myth.

I don't think anyone – even the most rabid, blood dribbling supporter of hunting – actually believed that there was any doubt about the outcome of the Commons vote.

There was always going to be a huge majority of MPs voting in favour of Michael Foster's bill to ban all hunting with hounds. Bloodthirsty, psychopathic, booze sodden hunt supporting MPs were always going to be in a cornered minority.

But the Parliamentary vote was never destined to decide whether or not hunting continued.

Anyone who thought that we live in a democracy where the elected representatives of the people make the decisions that matter was wrong.

The anti-hunting bill was a private members bill with a limited amount of parliamentary time available. Pro-hunting MPs could easily make sure that it ran out of time unless the government made sure that the bill got the time it needed.

And so the future of hunting in Britain was always going to be decided by Prime Minister, Tony Blair and his cronies.

Promises, Promises

In December 1996 I had published details of a letter I had received from Elliot Morley MP, who was at the time Labour spokesman on animal issues.

Written on Blair's behalf the letter from Morley promised that if a vote to ban hunting was carried in the House of Commons: "Labour would ensure that a bill to ban these activities would have the necessary parliamentary time."

"...the bill," Morley promised, "would get the time it needs to become law. There will also be no compromise with the Lords on this issue."

In another letter, written to Tony Banks MP, (later Minister of Sport) the Prime Minister had said: "Our policy is to have a free vote in Parliament on whether hunting with hounds should be banned by legislation. If such a vote is passed it will be a decision made by parliament and parliamentary time will be made available for appropriate legislation to progress in the normal way."

When it began to look as though the Labour government might renege on these crucial promises I published extracts from those letters in my newspaper column and I personally sent out 4,000 copies – to all MPs, animal rights groups, newspapers and TV and radio stations so that there could be no doubt about the Prime Minister's pre-election commitment.

I received many letters of support from MPs (many of whom were concerned about the fact that the Labour leaders seemed to be changing their minds about supporting animal issues which had won them many votes) but most of the media ignored the Blair promises – either because they regarded a politician's promise as irrelevant or insignificant or (in my view more likely) because they had been told not to write anything rude about the new Labour government. (The Labour government had, before the election done a number of 'deals' with media owners. The media owners had promised to support the Labour government and the Labour government had promised a variety of business perks.)

The TV Debate

The media blackout over Blair's pre-election promises seemed to me to be extremely alarming. But the virtual media blackout wasn't the end of the story.

On 17th October 1997 Central TV invited me to appear on a network television debate on hunting, to be broadcast live on Wednesday 26th November 1997 – two days before Parliament was due to debate the Bill to stop hunting.

"We would like to invite you to take part," wrote Central TV, "preferably as one of a limited number of key speakers...I very much hope you will be with us on the night."

I immediately decided to come out of retirement and break my self imposed five year old ban on appearing on television. (I had stopped appearing on TV on the grounds that most British TV is wimpy, self indulgent and superficial, and that most broadcasters are slightly beneath the invertebrates in the evolutionary hierarch. I have a low opinion of TV producers in Britain. It seems to me that although they are often willing to get tough with small time crooks they are invariably unwilling to take on big issues or powerful corporations. Genuine radicalism, dissent and original thinking are rejected in favour of a desperate attempt to satisfy the lowest common viewer's hunger for superficial sensationalism.)

I sent a message to Central TV accepting the invitation. I had to cancel important speaking engagements – including a trip abroad – to make arrangements to appear on the programme.

I intended to produce for the TV cameras two vital pieces of irrefutable evidence showing that before the election the Labour party had promised that any bill to stop hunting would receive all the parliamentary time it needed.

First, I intended to produce the letter from Elliot Morley MP. Second, I was going to produce a copy of the letter written, just before the election, by Tony Blair and addressed to Tony Banks MP. The TV company knew of my plans. They seemed to agree with me that the letters were extremely significant.

A few days later I had lunch with the Editor of The People newspaper (which was, at that time, running my weekly column in the UK). At that lunch meeting I predicted that Central TV would withdraw their invitation.

My prediction came true on Friday 31st October. A Central TV employee telephoned my office to say that because the programme was likely to be busy they couldn't promise me much air time and so didn't want to drag me all the way to the studios in Nottingham in order to appear on the programme.

I responded to what I regarded as a rather curious excuse by sending back a message saying that since the programme was live I was prepared to take my chances. (I have appeared on hundreds of TV programmes over the last few decades but I have never before come across such apparent consideration on the part of a TV company).

Central's response was to try again to encourage me to withdraw from the programme.

I telephoned the show's producer and told him that I was happy to go on the programme.

He didn't disagree when I told him that the vote itself was of secondary importance to the question of whether or not the government decided to stick to its promise to give an anti-hunting bill the time it needed to become law.

Nor did he disagree when I pointed out I was the only person who had published the vital evidence showing that the government had promised to give an anti-hunting bill all the time it needed.

But he made it clear that they didn't want me on the programme.

On the 17th October I had been invited onto the programme as a "key speaker'. A fortnight later they didn't want me in the studio at all. It seemed to me strange that Central TV was planning to make a programme dealing with the parliamentary debate about hunting apparently without discussing the Labour Party's promise to give the bill time to become law – a promise which was crucial to whether or not the bill succeeded.

On the 10th November (after I had protested rather vigorously at this about turn) the TV company wrote inviting me to interview Lord Williams of Mostyn, the Labour Minister responsible for animal issues including hunting.

On the 16th November they wrote to tell me that I would not be in the debate.

After another letter from me and a 'chat' with Carlton TV boss Mike Morley I was again told that I could interview Lord Williams of Mostyn, and ask him why the government was backing down on its pre-election promise.

Moreover, TV boss Morley, told me that if Lord Williams refused to appear I would be allowed to discuss the vital letter from Labour Minister Elliot Morley which contains the Labour Party's pre-election promises on hunting.

Morley (the TV boss variety) wrote: "If Lord Williams doesn't show then I still intend covering the content of your letters with you – this will be in the final section of the programme."

Not surprisingly, given my scepticism about British television, things did not work out quite according to plan.

When I arrived at the TV studios on Wednesday evening 26th November I was told that I would have five minutes at the end of the programme.

I spent a major part of the programme – which seemed to me to have all the political fire and relevance of an hour of prime time Home Shopping Channel – sitting in an almost empty reception room used before the programme by anti-hunt campaigners.

(With extraordinary tactlessness the TV company had supplied vegan and vegetarian anti-hunt campaigners with a wide variety of snacks containing bits and pieces of dead animal.)

During the final ad break I was ushered into the studio.

However, despite Mike Morley's letter, I was immediately silenced by the presenter when I tried to read from Elliot Morley's vital letter.

The presenter, who, as far as I was aware, didn't even mention that Lord Williams had refused to be interviewed by me on the programme (you could have knocked me down with a horse box when I heard that he wasn't going to turn up), turned away and spoke to TV astronomer Patrick Moore.

At the end it seemed to me that there was a certain unreliability about letters from people called Morley.

The Anti-Hunting Bill Fails

Mike Foster's anti hunting bill was passed by the House of Commons, and supported by an overwhelming majority of the British people but it did not become law. It did not become law for the simple reason that the Labour government refused to do what they had promised to do before the election. No private members bill had ever become law without government support. And Foster's bill was no exception.

When I realised that the Labour government was planning to break its promises I felt as ashamed of Britain under the feeble minded hypocrites of Labour as I had been of Britain under the Tories.

I also felt ashamed of the British media.

I don't know why the makers of the TV programme didn't allow me to discuss the embarrassing promise packed Elliot Morley letter.

Did they really not think it important – despite the promise made by Mike Morley?

No one would, of course, suggest that either the Labour government or the TV station could possibly have been involved in any improper behind-the- scenes deal.

But why was there no TV programme prepared to air the truth about the way that Blair and his colleagues reneged on a clear promise and betrayed the voters who put them into power?

When Tony Blair's Labour politicians roared into power they did so promising to bring trust and honesty back into politics. Gone, they said, were the Tory days of sleaze and corruption.

Millions of voters believed the rhetoric; relieved and delighted and ready to believe that the country would be, at last, in the hands of decent men and women.

But it was a trick.

The 'new' Labour government turned out to be no better than the government provided by the old Tory party. If an honest man truly is the noblest work of God then the Labour Party showed that it was a largely ignoble creation.

Both before and after the 1997 election the Labour government consistently claimed that it was offering a new, honest, trustworthy alternative. On the 2nd July 1997, speaking in the House of Commons, Tony Blair said: "When we make promises we will keep them."

In the end the success or failure of the anti-hunting bill wasn't about hunting or even animal rights. It was about integrity, honesty, trust and truth – all values which seemed to mean nothing to a Labour government which seemed to have 'hypocrisy' as its watchword.

I hated Margaret Thatcher's government. But at least we knew where we stood with her.

More Betrayals

The failure to take the opportunity to ban hunting was not the only way in which the Labour government betrayed voters and animals.

In a pre-election leaflet entitled 'New Labour, New Britain', Tony Blair MP, the Labour leader, and Elliot Morley MP, claimed that theirs was the only party with firm policies on animal issues.

"Labour has consistently shown itself as the only part to trust on issues of animal welfare," they cried.

In the leaflet Blair and Morley claimed that they would support a Royal Commission "to review the effectiveness and justification of animal experiments, and to examine alternatives".

When the Labour Party was desperate to win votes, Elliot Morley, the Labour Party's Spokesman for Animal Welfare, writing on behalf of Tony Blair, told me that the Labour Party was "proposing a Royal Commission to investigate the claims that animals need to be used and to recommend on alternatives".

Morley told me that the Labour Party was committed to seeing an end to animal experiments.

Now it seems to me that was just a cynical ploy from the Labour Party to get votes.

A few months after Labour took power The Lord Williams of Mostyn, the Labour Party's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, told me that he did not believe that a Royal Commission into the use of animals in experiments was necessary. (It was shortly afterwards that another Labour Minister, Alun Michael MP, taking a slightly different approach, told me that the Labour party had never said when a Royal Commission would be introduced.)

Contemptible

Blair and his chums quickly proved themselves to be as contemptible as any Tory politicians in recent history.

Before the election the Labour Party had warned the electors that the Tories were planning to take money from pensioners. Within weeks of gaining power the Labour Party had grabbed millions from tomorrow's pensioners – skilfully removing around 18% from the incomes of future pensioners. It was a massive smash and grab raid on pensions which was designed to pay for cheap voter pleasing gimmicks.

Before the election I warned that I did not trust Blair and his cronies. But even I felt sick at heart at the way they callously threw aside the promises they made. It seemed to me that to the Labour government 'trust' was just a meaningless five letter word that could be converted into 'votes'.

The Labour Party claimed to be better and more honest than the Tories. But at least the Tories never made promises on animal issues which they didn't intend to keep.

When I asked John Major's Conservative government to tell me what they would do for animals if they won the election I received a reply from Douglas Hogg, Minister of Agriculture which was brutally honest.

"We recognise the enormous economic contribution...that field sports make to rural economy," said Hogg.

No vote catching promises there. The Tories didn't offer animal lovers anything much. But at least pro-animal campaigners knew where they stood.

Blair and his Labour Party cronies cynically made great promises which they rightly believed would help them win power.

And after winning the election they ignored those promises.

Yet More Betrayals

The betrayals have continued. Hunting and animal experiments were by no means the only area where the Labour government reneged on pre-election promises.

In the pro-animal leaflet designed to recruit support for the Labour Party before the election Tony Blair and Elliot Morley promised voters that, if elected, they would "put an immediate stop to badger culling". No perhaps. No maybe. No get outs. A straight promise.

"Labour," they boasted, "is the only party with carefully researched policies and the political will to carry them out." When, in August 1997, I asked Morley if they had stopped badger culling he wrote back and told me: "all badger removal operations in new areas have been suspended since the election".

(Note the phrase 'badger removal operations' instead of the simpler and more accurate 'badger killing'. I was amazed how quickly the Labour government had slipped into the glib gobbledegook bureauspeak of Orwell's 1984. They manage to make it sound as though they were moving the badgers to better accommodation – rather than killing them.)

I immediately wrote back and asked Morley to define the phrase: 'new areas'.

Jeff Rooker MP, Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, told me that the Labour Party had: "suspended the start of any new badger removal operations in areas where these have not taken place in recent years...this policy...will remain in place until Professor Krebs has completed his review."

Professor John Krebs was appointed by the Conservative government to "undertake an independent scientific review into bovine TV in cattle and badgers."

The Labour Party hadn't just broken yet another direct promise (to stop killing badgers) but they were trying to cover it up with governmentspeak. What they were saying was that they had stopped killing badgers except in places where they were already killing badgers!

In their pre-election leaflet – designed to win votes – the Labour Party had clearly promised: "We will, furthermore, conduct a full review of the question of badgers and bovine TB and put an immediate stop to badger culling pending the outcome of that review."

Note the words "immediate stop to badger culling". No mention of "new areas" when they were trying to get votes.

I also asked Morley to comment on a report I had received that it cost the taxpayer £2,900 to kill each badger. It seemed fair to say that the state organised mass murder of harmless and beautiful creatures was extraordinarily expensive as well as brutal and pointless.

Morley didn't comment on this figure but in two letters to me he moaned that: "no government has given such high priority to animal welfare" and claimed that Labour will be: "publishing a consultation paper on options for change".

No one in the Labour government seemed to understand that the voters did not want consultation papers, new promises, sweet talk or more Labour Party rhetoric. They just wanted the Labour Party to stick to the promises they had made before the election – promises which were abandoned as soon as the Labour Party acquired their Ministerial seats, cars and salaries.

Broken Promises

Here is a summary of the pre-election promises which the Labour government has broken:

Before the election Labour promised that they would ensure that an anti-hunting bill would get all the Parliamentary time it needed to become law. After the election they changed their minds.

  • Before the election Labour said they would hold a Royal Commission into animal experimentation. After the election they decided that a Royal Commission wasn't necessary.
  • Before the election Labour said they would immediately suspend licences for hunting on Forestry Commission. After the election they said they'd hold a review.
  • Before the election Labour promised an immediate stop to official badger killing. After the election they said they would allow it to carry on. In 1998 it became known that the Labour government had authorised the killing of badgers on a scale never before known in Britain. The Labour government decided to kill all the badgers in whole areas of British countryside.
  • Before the election Labour announced itself totally opposed to fur farming and promised to take action to end it. After the Election Labour extended the licensing of fur farms for a further three years.

The Labour Party seems to believe it can ruthlessly and callously ignore its pre-election promises on animals because there aren't enough voters who really care about animals.

But there is also something else at stake here.

If the Labour Party is prepared to ignore its promises about animals simply because it thinks it can get away with it isn't it likely that it may also ignore its promises about the NHS, education and other issues that affect humans more directly?

Denials and Defences

Voters did not trust the Conservatives in 1997. Years of abuse of power, corruption, deceit and arrogance had alienated the electorate. But, largely perhaps because they knew relatively little about them, they did trust the Labour Party.

However, in the months which followed their victory in 1997 Labour Party politicians worked hard to distance themselves from the vote catching pre-election promises they had made – and which, because they had been believed, had undoubtedly helped them gain power.

When, in the months following their victory, I began to put pressure on the Labour Party to stick to those pre-election promises I was startled when I found that instead of being embarrassed about their broken promises the Labour Party was actually trying to deny that the promises had ever been made at all!

When a reader protested to Elliot Morley about Labour's broken promises Morley wrote: "I'm afraid you have been misinformed. Labour is implementing all its election pledges concerning animals. I never said at any time to Vernon Coleman that Labour could stop all animal experiments."

(In a pre-election letter to me Morley said that the Labour Party was committed to an "end to animal experiments". And, of course, the Labour Party had promised to support an anti-hunting bill.)

"You should be aware that Vernon Coleman seems more interested in attacking the Labour government than promoting the welfare of animals," wrote Morley.

"I assume it was for that reason he recently circulated a private letter I sent him before the election to pro-blood sports Tory MPs..."

(The letter to which Morley refers was sent to me as a newspaper columnist. It was, I assume, intended to help recruit support for the Labour Party. It was certainly not a 'private' letter. And as Morley knew I sent copies to all MPs.)

"He (VC) has also mislead [sic] you and you need to be very wary about anything he says," says the brass nerved Morley, presumably following the philosophy that the best form of defence is attack.

Many months, and many broken promises later, Labour were still at it. "Ministers who are dealing with animal welfare issues have demonstrated the will to put into practice in government the principles which we promoted in Opposition," wrote Home Office Minister Alun Michael MP in a letter to me dated 30th September 1998.

Even now, after re-reading the letter many times I still find it difficult that any one, presumably claiming to be sane, could possibly make such a statement.

Does Alun Michael seriously believe what he wrote?

And did he expect me to believe it?

The Greatest Modern Sin

Millions of people believe that we cannot have a kind and decent society until we are kind to all those – including animals – who are weaker than us and who are dependent upon us.

Millions believe that animal abuse is the greatest and most common modern sin in our society. Like me they believe that human power, wisdom and strength come with responsibilities, and that when we abdicate from those responsibilities we demean ourselves.

Thousands of people who voted for Tony Blair – and who did so because they believed they could trust him – were shell-shocked. Within the first few year of Labour taking office I received sackfuls of letters from voters who were angry, confused, bewildered and bitter. Many left the Labour Party. Thousands swore that they would never vote for Blair or the Labour Party again.

The Labour Party offered many people hope that politicians might once again prove to be honest and trustworthy people. Blair was idealised as the man who would lift Excalibur and lead Britain on into the twenty first century with pride and hope and passion.

But the Labour Party will go down in history as just another pack of politicians prepared to do anything necessary to obtain power. 'New Labour New Lies' would seem to be an appropriate slogan for the Labour Party in future.

I believe that historians will look back upon the Labour Party of the late 1990s as the party which finally destroyed public trust in politicians; the politicians who established for ever that politicians' promises have no value whatsoever; the politicians who finally proved that truth has no place in politics.

Tony Blair did to the voters who trusted him almost exactly what Bill Clinton is alleged to have done to Monica Lewinsky.

Many now believe that the Labour government has turned completely against those who believe in animal issues. "We're no worse than the Tories," say Labour politicians, clearly failing to understand that this is rather akin to a bank robber trying to excuse what he has done by pointing to someone else who has robbed a bank.

Free Speech Denied

In the summer of 1998, in an astonishing denial of free speech, the Labour government banned a rally where I intended to describe the government's broken promises on animal issues. I was stopped from attending the rally by a government authorised police road block.

"Blair and Labour betrayed us," said one animal lover. "They will betray everyone. No one should ever trust Blair or Labour again."

"You can't trust Tony Blair," chanted protestors at a rally in Trafalgar Square in the summer of 1998.

Labour And The Rich

When the Labour Party broke its pre-election promise to ban hunting there was much criticism of the fact that some members of the Labour Party were known to be close to Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles – both of whom were known to be enthusiastic supporters of hunting.

But these were not the only notable links between the Labour Party and the rich.

Within eighteen months of first taking office it slowly becoming clear just how much the Labour Party had become dependent upon, and beholden to, rich donors. It also became clear that the Labour Party had deliberately set out to woo new donors (and to obtain their money) by flattering them and asking for policy advice.

Many of the Labour Party's financial backers had, it emerged, been given key government roles. Fighting a media intensive general election had cost the Labour Party £26 million and had left it with a massive debt of over £3.6 million.

On 1st September 1998 I wrote to Tony Blair, leader of the Labour government, saying: "I was interested to read about the number of businessmen who have given money to the government and who have subsequently been given key government roles. I would like to have a key government role in the area of animal welfare, so that I can play a more active part in encouraging the government to stick to its clear pre-election promises on issues such as hunting and animal experimentation. What size of donation would you consider appropriate? I very much look forward to hearing from you."

Sadly, I did not receive a reply.

Perhaps I was not subtle enough. Perhaps I should have just popped round to Downing Street with a paper bag full of used £20 notes.

Part Four:

How And Why Animal Abusers Are Winning The Battle

"You're not on your way to success until the newspapers call you nuts, cranks and liars. "

Sinclair Lewis

Chapter One:

Control Of The Media

The government does not want pro-animal campaigners to win and to threaten the status quo. It will do everything it can to make sure that pro-animal campaigns fail. By controlling the media, using force (through the police), using techniques such as marginalisation and, when necessary, simply removing the right to free speech, the government is determined to keep the upper hand.

Traditional forms of protest (such as marching in the streets with banners) are now no longer effective, unless the turn out is so huge that the government begins to worry about lost votes. (The pro-hunting rally held in London in 1997 is believed to have been big enough to influence the government.) Power is no longer about physical property, or even about wealth. It is more about how much media attention can be controlled.

It seems to me to be very clear that a government which is prepared to spend millions of pounds making sure that there is a huge police presence at every animal rights event (to make it clear to the world at large that pro-animal protestors are a dangerous bunch, to intimidate those who can be intimidated and to physically prevent some people reaching or speaking at protest sites) will spend public money suppressing the public's legal right to protest and will put a great deal of effort into controlling the media.

No Time For Values Or Policies

Political 'spin' is not a new concept. Josef Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief, was an early mass-media manipulator and image manager who would have found easy employment with the Labour Party in Britain today. Goebbels understood that the spin doctor's job is not just to create a positive image for his client but also to avoid unfavourable publicity. Damage limitation through news management is vital – particularly when image is all there is. The Labour Party is the first political party in Britain to be built like a Hollywood film sets – all front and no substance.

Tony Blair and his Labour Party colleagues were the first political leaders in Britain to really understand how power can be obtained and retained through media manipulation. It was, I believe, because of this understanding that the Labour government has worshipped so dutifully at the Church of St Rupert of Murdoch; the new twentieth century Sun King.

The Labour Party has very successfully controlled the media in Britain – partly through a series of headline catching promises, partly through judicious leaking of image boosting information, partly through using the old Nazi trick of distracting attention from one story by providing another story (Goebbels successfully drew attention away from the Holocaust by beginning a media campaign drawing attention to British atrocities in India and Palestine) and partly through doing financial deals with the media barons. ("Print good stuff about us and we'll make sure you don't have to worry about the Monopolies and Mergers Commission").

The Labour Party has recognised that journalists need crises to dramatise the news (and to sell newspapers or attract viewers) while politicians need to seem to be responding to crises. Neither politicians nor journalists really care about whether or not the crises are solved. They are interested solely in the short term. Problems are not worth reporting until they become crises which can be dramatised. And politicians only react when a crisis has already developed. (Politicians often use crises to further extend their own power. When terrorists set off a bomb politicians often respond to the crisis by introducing rapidly drafted new laws which give them more power.)

Naturally, a government which only acts in a crisis never has time to study values or to make any meaningful public policies. Modern politicians, as exemplified by the Labour Party, always react and respond rather than lead.

Money Talks

It is true that money talks – the problem is that it doesn't always tell the truth.

Modern politicians often do deals with media magnates who are far more likely to have links with animal abusers than with pro-animal campaigners. The proprietor of the Daily Whatsit may not actually have a potted meat factory in the basement but he is quite likely to have financial links with companies which are dependent upon animal abuse. There is no real money to be made out of campaigning for animals and so there is no chance of a proprietor being manipulated or persuaded by any such link.

Politicians want publicity which draws attention towards their promises, and their apparent good intentions, and away from their failures and their broken promises. Journalists and their editors want eye catching headlines. The relationship between politicians and the media bosses is a symbiotic one: everyone involved benefits.

A Nation Of Couch Potatoes

Most modern homes have more media related equipment today than a major news room would have had less than a decade ago. It is not uncommon to find a suburban home with a satellite dish, computer, modem, fax machine, photocopier and mobile telephone.

But those who control the media still control the world because most people are entirely passive – they are 'couch potatoes'; they do not take an active part in the media revolution. Most people simply stare at the television unquestioningly. They rarely even listen to what is said. (Media specialists who advise people on how to use television will warn that it is only possible to get across one thought in a single programme. They therefore encourage their clients to repeat the same notion for as long as they are on the air – and to ignore the questions of the interviewer.)

Most people simply sit back and allow themselves to be fed information and views that their corporate and political masters wish them to be fed.

Sadly, it is difficult to underestimate the intelligence of the average human being. A recent survey in the US showed that nearly half of all Americans think that human beings were created by god within the last 10,000 years. (They probably also think that god was American, a burger-eating, country & western fan and lived in Texas.) Whether you favour the theory of evolution or the idea of creation this shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of history and is, I suspect, symptomatic of an equally remarkable lack of curiosity. (Even more extraordinary is the fact that a quarter of American college graduates – who, one might have assumed to be a little better educated – believe that humans were created by god within the last 10,000 years.)

Children have, it is true, learned to interact with the media technology but, on the whole, they restrict their interacting to playing computer games or surfing the net in search of pornography.

The Court Of Power

We have to fight our battle in what Marshall McLuhan described as "the real court of power, the media". That is, of course, the court of power which the establishment uses. They know that perception is everything and that the myth is often the reality.

Most people trustingly believe everything they read in their daily newspaper or see on television. This demonstrates an innocence which no doubt delights the authorities. The truth is that everything which appears in newspapers or on television has been carefully edited to satisfy the prejudices of the owners and their political allies.

I truly believe that the best and most honest, sources of information these days are small independent publishers and privately published newsletters which do not have any exclusive or close links with outside commercial companies. Such publications may contain bias and prejudices but at least the bias and the prejudices belong to the authors and publishers rather than to some outside source. The ordinary reader is today most likely to obtain access to the genuine, underlying realities behind the 'news' through privately published newsletters and small presses.

Television: The Low Point

Television is probably the worst offender in the media.

Have you ever wondered how news crews so often happen to be in the right place at the right time when something newsworthy happens?

There are two explanations for this apparently inexplicable anomaly.

First, television stations are frequently given advance notice of events which politicians or others regard as newsworthy. News shows on television frequently broadcast pre-packaged interviews which they have been given by companies or political parties. Interviewers are told to toe the line and to be polite if they want to get any exclusive interviews in the future.

Second, if an impromptu event is missed the news crew can always recreate it. It is not unknown for TV producers to recreate news items they have missed or been unable to film.

Superficially Convincing

Goebbels believed that Nazi media campaigns did not have to stand up to close examination as long as they were superficially convincing. This is, of course, exactly the same philosophy which is espoused both by the supporters of vivisection (who use the technique of intellectual terrorism to persuade people that animal experiments are essential and potentially life saving) and politicians (who simply make new promises when it becomes apparent that the public no longer believes their old promises, rightly assuming that most people are trusting and do not believe that even politicians could possibly dare to lie all the time).

Goebbels believed that primitive arguments were the most effective and that non rational techniques of persuasion were of vital importance.

As I have already pointed out I believe that the Labour government did a number of secret deals with significant parts of the British media before the last election ("you be nice to us and we'll be nice to you") and so it is hardly surprising that most parts of the British media have been enormously sympathetic, understanding, forgiving and loyal to a party which has broken promises like most people breathe air. I believe it is the existence of the secret deals which explains why the media has largely failed to report or comment on or criticise those broken promises.

To a certain extent this has not made a great deal of difference as far as animal issues are concerned. Broadsheet newspapers, TV stations and radio stations have obeyed commercial dictates and followed a strictly pro-animal abuse agenda for many years.

Even the language used in broadsheet newspapers seems designed to affect the way in which readers respond to what they read. While writing this book, for example, I read about mink kept four to a cage in a farm where mink are bred to be turned into fur coats. The journalist who wrote the article described the caged mink as 'snuggling' up to one another in their tiny cages. The word 'snuggling' suggests cosy and comfortable informality. The reality is that the mink probably didn't much have choice about whether they 'snuggled' up to one another or not.

It is rare indeed for any broadsheet newspaper to publish any pro-animal sentiments.

Ignorance And Misinformation

Most people say nothing about cruelty to animals for three reasons.

First, they often don't know what goes on in laboratories, in abattoirs and on farms and in other centres of animal abuse.

Second, they don't believe that animals are capable of suffering.

Third, they do believe that using animals – even if unpleasant – is essential. They falsely believe that without eating meat they will die. They falsely believe that if experiments are not performed on animals then their children will die slow and painful deaths.

The key factor here is, of course, ignorance. But the ignorance is compounded by misinformation.

Keep On Taking The Tabloids

Over the years tabloid newspapers have always been far more willing to publish pro-animal campaign stories. This is for two reasons. First, the so called redtop tabloid newspapers, having much larger circulations, are less dependent on advertising revenue and can take a tougher line with big, powerful corporations. Second, the popular newspapers (which have a large readership) are more likely to publish stories which their editors feel might appeal to their readers rather than their advertisers.

This revelation may come as something of a surprise to many of those pro-animal campaigners who routinely buy and read broadsheet newspapers in the mistaken belief that they are more likely to provide an honest and fair interpretation of the news than tabloid newspapers.

Broadsheet newspapers – having smaller budgets and more space to fill, as well as a smaller inclination to upset powerful commercial advertisers – are far more likely to publish pre-packaged press releases and one sided articles glorifying animal research, genetic engineering or some other wonder of science than are the tabloids.

Broadsheets, although often vapid, bland and unimaginative, are even more likely to bend, spin and manipulate the news for their own purposes than are the tabloids.

Tabloids are often regarded as being unbelievable compared to the mainstream media, but if the same story appears in a tabloid and a broadsheet newspaper, and there are factual differences between the two stories, then it is safe to assume that the story in the tabloid is the accurate one.

I am not suggesting that tabloids always tell the truth. But they certainly tell the truth more often than the broadsheets (or 'unpopulars' as they are sometimes known). There is, indeed, a strong argument to be made that real journalism (including investigative journalism) now only exists in the tabloid newspapers.

I first learned the truth about the broadsheets a couple of decades or so ago when I was invited to write an article about 24 hours in the life of a hospital casualty department for a weekly magazine published by a broadsheet newspaper. The 24 hours I spent in the hospital casualty department was relatively quiet and the article I wrote described the air of expectation, the boredom, and the waiting rather than the excitement, the violence, the fear, the blood and the death that the editors had obviously expected.

Disappointed by the lack of action the magazine editor told me to go back, spend more time in the casualty department and wait for something exciting to happen. He wanted me to 'create' an exciting but 'fake' 24 hour period. In my innocence I was horrified and refused to do as he asked. Naturally, the article never appeared in print. What I did not realise then was that this was normal. Reality is often just not exciting enough.

What many readers forget is that the sole function of the modern media is to make money; it will do this more easily by amusing and diverting readers and viewers than by providing them with genuine information.

Broadsheets pretend to be eager to provide their readers with the truth but in reality they often stagger from day to day alternately scaring and then reassuring their readers. Scientific research is regularly and widely misused in order to help corporations and politicians to fulfil their objectives. Many people still believe that the words 'scientific research' guarantee the quality and provenance of the information which accompanies it. Sadly this simply isn't true. Large companies know that they can obtain whatever scientific results they want merely by hiring the right scientists. Scientific fraud is commonplace even in academic circles and so it is hardly surprising that when a company tells its highly paid scientists to find evidence proving that its new product is safe the scientists will find a way to do what they are told. Nearly all published and promoted scientific research these days is patently self-serving.

Media Manipulation

Surveys and polls are another easy way to manipulate the media. Ask the right questions and you can get exactly the results you want. Concocted and inaccurate surveys taint our perceptions of the truth and distort public debates. Once a survey has found its way into the public consciousness it is exceedingly difficult (or even impossible) to remove it.

And so vivisectionists will conduct surveys proving that scientists, doctors and members of the public all think that animal experiments are essential. They do this by asking the right questions.

For example, if you ask the question: "Do you agree that experiments on rats should be continued so that doctors can find new treatments to help save the lives of children with leukaemia?" the majority of the people being questioned will respond as the questioner wants them to respond.

The broadsheet papers are written largely by pro-establishment conservatives and they are written for people with many well-established, traditional prejudices. These people have, of course, already been taken in by the 'let's keep abusing animals' arguments. (Indeed, they often have a personal financial interest in maintaining and spreading these arguments. For example, many medical and science journalists do additional – and frequently well paid work – for magazines and newspapers which obtain financial support from the drug industry.)

The broadsheets trivialise arguments just as much as the tabloids but they tend to do it less skilfully, with less flair and with less fairness. The tabloids may appear to be hysterical but they are more likely to be independent and they are, therefore, more likely to publish material which is sympathetic to the pro-animal cause.

The broadsheet newspapers are, I believe, more likely to be edited by pro-hunting animal abusers and it is important to remember that, because they do not pay as well as the tabloids, they may be staffed by second-rate journalists, writers and columnists who are far less intelligent than their tabloid counterparts.

News Into Drama

Boring political news was first turned into dramatic and exciting and readable material by Joseph Pulitzer in the US. In 1883 he bought the New York World and started turning straight news stories into drama. He gave dull stories plots and turned dull characters into actors in the dramas. He introduced conflict and ensured that his stories were packed with colourful details. He made his stories even more dramatic by giving them loud, clever, irresistible headlines, illustrating them with photographs and adding graphics too. He (and his newspaper) turned institutional minutiae into emotional, sensational and immediate news.

In recent decades the growth of television (and, in particular, of 24 hour news television) has increased the need for drama in the news. And since camera crews can't be everywhere at once it has meant that the news has become steadily more and more stage managed. Lobbyists, special interest groups and big business PR departments have all learned the way to play the game – and have all learned how to put forward their own versions of reality.

Image makers for big corporations use a vast armoury of tricks to deflect criticism, and to improve the public perception of their products and their companies. Most big corporations will go along with whichever politicians are in power. Opposing governments has never been a good way to get (or stay) rich.

The press is used to promote public illusions and to help maintain private privilege. Appearance and reality are today further apart than at any time in history.

The media today has, by its willingness to take part in this gross deceit, corrupted democracy, enabled politicians to lie and survive, and cheated the public.

Newspapers, radio and television disseminate the news they are given but they do not disseminate the truth. The propaganda is spread faithfully but the substance is ignored. Real, underlying conflict is glossed over.

Subtleties Are Important

The way in which the news is presented can have a tremendous impact on the way it is received. Apparently small, subtle changes can make a huge difference to the way readers and viewers form their opinions.

For example, people who read a headline which says "Animal experiments are worthless" are less likely to believe that animal experiments are worthless than are people who read a headline which says "Are animal experiments worthless?"

And, curiously, research has shown that a denial in a headline doesn't make much difference to the way in which those who read it will perceive it.

So, for example, most people who read the headline "Vivisectors deny that animal experiments are useless" will, nevertheless, believe that animal experiments are useless.

People tend to believe what they read in a headline wherever they read it. Even if they see it in a newspaper for which they have little or no respect the chances are high that they will still believe it. People who read the underlying story are unlikely to be convinced by the facts if they have already read a headline. And people who only read the headline will, of course, go away with the headline's message firmly implanted in their minds.

Many people say that they do not read newspapers at all. Or that they ignore certain classes of newspaper. Unless they never go into newsagents shops those people are deluding themselves. Research done in the US has shown that people who read (or glance at) headlines, but don't read the stories accompanying those headlines, will believe the messages in the headlines. Mass, subliminal messages can easily be spread through newspaper headlines.

It Is Essential To Make People Think

In order to produce change it is necessary to create phrases which make people think.

People tend to listen to, take note of, and to remember rhetoric and promises rather than facts. To ignore these sad facts is to say 'no' to the possibility of power.

One of the most effective ways to have an impact is to take two words which don't normally go together (for example the words 'smart' and 'drugs') and then use them to make a phrase. The phrase 'smart drugs' is eye and mind catching because the combination of these two words is thought provoking.

My own favourite phrase is 'intellectual terrorism'. I coined this phrase some years ago and use it to describe the actions of the animal abusers when they try to frighten people into accepting that vivisection is essential by telling them that if animal experiments are stopped their children may die of terrible diseases.

By accusing those who use this argument of 'intellectual terrorism' we quickly and easily put them on the defensive. Even more important is the fact that such phrases, once used, tend to stick in the listener's brain. Once there they are difficult to remove.

The phrase 'animal abuser', which I have used throughout this book to describe anyone who opposes animal rights, also has a powerful impact and should, I believe, be used widely by those who want to further the rights of animals. Anyone who opposes animal rights can safely and accurately be described as an animal abuser.

Some time ago I was surprised when I received a furious telephone call from an editor who had on his desk something I had written. The item which had made him so upset was a short piece in which I made the point that butchers shops which display skinless corpses are offensive to large parts of the community. The editor's complaint was about the entirely accurate phrase 'skinless corpse' which he said he found deeply offensive.

The lesson here is simple: we should use the phrase 'skinless corpse' as often as possible since it reminds meat eaters that what they are eating was once a living, sentient being.

(The long established comments "I don't eat anything with eyes" and "I don't eat my friends" are provocative and useful. I also like to tell people that "I don't eat humans or animals".)

We Have To Shock

We have to be more prepared to shock if we are to combat the media manipulators who are controlling our lives (and enabling the animal abusers to stay in business).

For example, it is widely believed by the British people that Princess Diana was murdered. Polls show that around 98% of the British population believe that she was killed by the British secret service. Tony Blair was Prime Minister when Diana died and the Labour Party was in power. That's all we have to say. We can safely let people draw their own conclusions.

Many pro-animal campaigners try to be tactful when complaining about the way other nations treat animals. The time for tact has gone. Diplomacy has got us nowhere. The Spanish people claim to be the most religious in Europe. And yet they treat animals in a way that makes it clear that they are still barbarians. They honour their matadors as heroes. We should not be shy about describing matadors (and others involved in the bullfight business) as little more than cowardly and overpaid abattoir workers. The Spanish depend very much on the income they gain from British tourists. Let us try to persuade holidaymakers to boycott Spain. A similar, tough approach can be used against other nations where cruelty to animals is endemic.

Use New Techniques To Spread Messages

If you bring together two images which are not usually thought of as being associated with one another then the brain of the person who is fed the resultant composite image will be shocked. The owner of the brain will find it difficult to get rid of the image. This can be useful because shocking and surprising images often make the reader think carefully. Research has shown that images which do not fit the norm require the creation of special new neural pathways just to be evaluated. And so shocking and startling images often last for a long time – as well as making the reader more vulnerable and open to other new ideas.

It was for this reason that in my book Fighting for Animals (published by the European Medical Journal) I used beautiful pictures of animals in serene surroundings to illustrate hideous quotes from vivisection research papers.

When talking or writing about important issues it can also help to try putting a vision within a vision. ("I was in my car, driving from London to Birmingham, when I found myself thinking back to a time when, in 1987 I...") This is an extremely effective way to imprint messages on the listeners brain when telling them something you want them to remember. (But beware – this technique is extremely effective. US President Reagan is reported to have once tried using this technique but ended up putting himself into a trance and losing his train of thought completely.)

News Management

We have to be prepared to manage the news more effectively.

The myth about AIDS and heterosexuals was devised because gay activists realised that they would get nowhere if AIDS remained a gay disease. I remember doing a radio broadcast with a gay activist after I had written a number of articles arguing that since AIDS is primarily a blood borne disease it is far more likely to be transmitted via sexual activities (such as anal intercourse) which result in bleeding than it is to be transmitted by other forms of sexual intercourse. After the broadcast the campaigner agreed with me that I was absolutely right and told me that he and other gays had agreed that in order to get funding for AIDS research they had to turn AIDS into a disease which was perceived as being a threat to heterosexuals as well as a threat to homosexuals.

The 'AIDS kills heterosexuals' campaign was so convincing and so effective (despite the absence of supporting scientific evidence) that most journalists and politicians ended up believing it. For several years I was widely vilified in the press and on TV for having dared to tell the truth about the disease. (Many TV producers allegedly making open-minded programmes about AIDS refused to let me onto their programmes unless I promised not to discuss the possibility that AIDS might not be a major threat to heterosexuals. The result was, of course, that the myth was strengthened still further.) I can understand why gay activists did what they did. And it was an extremely effective manipulation.

Pro-animal campaigners also have to learn how to manage the news.

Vivisectionists will frequently argue that animal experiments save patients lives. They will refer to individual cases of patients alleged to have been saved by animal experimentation. This is, of course, absolute nonsense. No animal experiment has ever been responsible for saving or even helping to save a patient's life. We have to counter these absurd (but often believed) claims by referring to individual patients who have been killed or injured by misleading animal experimentation. This isn't difficult to do. (Readers will find case histories of patients who were killed by animal experimentation in my book How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You, published by the European Medical Journal).

Meat trade promoters sell their product by warning consumers that without meat and meat products they will become vitamin or mineral deficient.

We have to counter this absurd lie with the truth: that eating meat is unhealthy and that those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet are much less likely to become deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.

Perception Or Truth

As any student of history will confirm the reality is that the truth is far less important than the reader's perception of the truth. Naturally, the media manipulators take full advantage of this. They know that headline readers tend to believe a headline whatever the underlying facts may be.

So, when politicians and cosmetic companies agreed to a modest reduction in the number of animals used in experiments headlines appeared which suggested that animal experiments were being stopped altogether. In reality the change meant that the millions of animals being tortured and killed would be reduced by between 250 and 300 a year but that wasn't the impression given when the story appeared in the newspapers.

The story as it was run benefited three groups of people. The cosmetics companies looked good. The Labour party politicians managed to grab the glory and look good (and they succeeded in distracting attention away from the fact that they had failed to create a Royal Commission to investigate the scientific value of vivisection – as they had promised to do before they were elected to power). And editors had a grabby headline which helped them sell newspapers. Very few readers who saw the headlines realised that hardly anything had changed.

This was a perfect example of perception winning over truth – and an excellent example of how the Labour Party manages its affairs. Everyone involved knew that the headlines were self aggrandising manipulations – created simply for the way they would benefit businesses and politicians and distract attention from the real issues and the real truths – but no one cared about that.

The Labour Party has created a culture of deceit, trickery and lying and the media has been a willing helper.

It is a grave mistake to assume that truth alone is enough to enable us to win on behalf of the animals. Sadly, many aspects of the truth are irrelevant. You may or may not agree with it, but in political terms the important thing in this world is perception – not truth. (Though, of course, if the truth is widely publicised it can have an important effect on perception.)

The fact is that reality has not helped us win freedom and respect for animals. For centuries now pro-animal campaigners have been relying solely on the truth – and getting nowhere. One problem is that the truth is often unpleasant and unpalatable. Many people do not want – and cannot cope with – the truth.

For example, pro-animal campaigners have often published horrific photographs of animals in distress. Many books and leaflets have been published showing pictures of animals in cages or laboratories. But sensitive and caring individuals find such photographs too awful to look at. And, by definition, insensitive and uncaring individuals simply do not care.

Pro-animal campaigners have published books and numerous articles proving that meat causes cancer, and that animal experiments are not just worthless but are actually a hazard to human health. But time and time again the truth has been defeated by perception. The lies told by the animal abusers have consistently defeated the truths told by the pro-animal campaigners.

Historians know well that history is all about myths and perceptions and has very little to do with the real truth. We have to be aware that although the truth is important, and will eventually bring light to the darkest corner, perception is often more important than truth when we are trying to change the present and improve the future.

The Rope A Dope Technique

If you are attacked by a vivisectionist or other animal abuser then you should try not to attack back. You should make yourself the underdog. You should try not to rise to the bait. Remain dignified.

I remember doing a morning radio programme with a presenter called Melvyn Bragg some years ago. I was invited onto the programme to put the anti vivisection case but Bragg (who later became 'famous' among pro-animal campaigners for expressing the, in my view, bizarre argument that since animals are not sentient creatures we can happily hunt them) gave me a really hard time.

I refused to get angry or to walk off the programme (although the temptation was great) and afterwards the BBC was almost submerged with mail attacking Bragg for not letting me speak and put my case. A few days later a BBC programme based upon listeners letters was devoted almost entirely to protests.

I call this the 'rope a dope' technique after the technique used by Muhammed Ali when fighting George Foreman for the world heavyweight boxing crown. The fight took place in very hot conditions. Ali stayed on the ropes for several rounds allowing Foreman to attack him and use up all his energy. Then, when Foreman was exhausted and had thrown all his punches, Ali struck back. (In my case, of course, it was the listeners – not me – who struck back.)

It is important to remember that the attacking interviewer wants you to respond by losing your temper. What sort of programme would an investigative TV reporter make if the crooks he chased talked to him calmly, defended themselves, denied his allegations and then slowly walking away?

Would modern India exist if Gandhi had hit out at the people who vilified him?

We Have To Work Together

The real tragedy is that those human beings who protest on behalf of animals would have probably won battle victories some years ago (and maybe even a victory in the major war against animal cruelty) if they had worked together.

But pro-animal campaigners fight one another even more fiercely than they fight the animal abusers.

During the years in which I have been fighting for animals I have lost count of the number of lies which have been told about me by people who describe themselves as caring about animals. There are some individuals, allegedly members of the animal rights movement, who are apparently driven by little other than vanity, and who spend most of their time (and the money they can raise from others) vilifying those who put their heart and soul into fighting for animals. (One of the many absurd examples of this concerned my Fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine. I had remained a Fellow of the RSM because I felt that it added extra credibility when I was debating the issue of vivisection with those who supported animal experimentation. But at one point I was being challenged by the Royal Society of Medicine because a publisher had mentioned my Fellowship on the cover of a book I had written, while at the same time I was being attacked mercilessly by alleged pro-animal campaigners for being a Fellow of an organisation which was deemed to be part of the medical establishment.)

The individuals who snipe and whinge and back stab always attack any new attempt to defeat animal abuse (though they are themselves always slow to come forward when leaflets have to be handed out, envelopes stuffed or print bills paid). They always seem quick to identify difficulties and they always concentrate on the problems not the possibilities.

But what have the sceptics got to offer which is better?

Maybe they are content with the thought that the animal abusers are a dying breed. Maybe they comfort themselves with the thought that since the animal abusers usually eat meat they will die younger of cancer, heart disease and other serious disorders. Maybe they are content to trust in the hope that vegetarians and vegans will live longer, be stronger and will eventually take over the world.

I find it impossible to take such a relaxed attitude about the cruelty which exists in our world.

Every day vivisectors around the world torture and kill one thousand animals every thirty seconds. Countless millions of animals live short miserable lives in terrible conditions so that they can be slaughtered and turned into harmburgers. Our streets are decorated with skinless corpses, hanging inside and outside butchers shops and apparently causing little or no revulsion among the nearby shoppers. Ruthless farmers, who would do anything for money, cram wild animals into tiny cages so that rich women can wander through the streets (past the butchers shops where the skinless corpses are displayed) in fur coats.

Andrew Tyler, of the organisation Animal Aid, recently reported that when two women were running an animal rights stall in London a policeman ordered them to remove a poster showing a cow on a slaughter line. "Shackled and suspended upside down by a back leg, her throat had just been stabbed by the slaughterman and blood was oozing from the wound: the daily reality in hundreds of UK killing plants. The officer said the image was 'offensive' to the public and it had to come down."

"But just along the road," Tyler reports one of the women as saying to the policeman, "there's a butcher's shop with decapitated pigs hanging on a hook in the window. All their feet have been broken and half hacked off. I find that offensive and upsetting."

The policeman did not change his mind. His mind, reported Tyler, was closed to the subject.

It is, surely, that sort of inbuilt, long-standing, prejudice; that blindness; which we should be fighting.

How much longer are we going to allow the in-fighting to continue?

Cunning Stunts

Organisations such as Greenpeace have for many years been aware that good stunts which attract media attention can, and often do, have a dramatic effect on public opinion and may instigate more discussion and more debate than legal protests made through more traditional channels.

Unfortunately, media stunts may sometimes be used by, and to the advantage of, the people they were originally designed to embarrass. Political and corporate media manipulators never sleep. If they see something in a newspaper which displeases them they will talk to the editor before the next edition is printed – and they will make sure that the story is spun to their advantage. Most big companies (and most political departments) regard communication as being just as important as policy. Many of the stories which appear in broadsheet newspapers, and on television and radio, are fed to the media by skilful public relations experts. Communications managers and public affairs directors (they used to be known as public relations people) constantly monitor everything that appears about their paymasters. If an unfavourable story appears on a TV news programme the communications manager will be on the telephone to the newsdesk in time to have the story 'corrected' for the next news broadcast.

It is worthwhile noting, incidentally, that modern journalists are often easy to push around because they rarely research their stories themselves. They often print what they have gleaned from a press release and so if the originator of the press release doesn't like their interpretation of the story they are not in a good position to resist requests for alterations. (If a gentle request for a more favourable rewrite doesn't work a lawyer will telephone or fax with a thinly veiled threat of litigation.)

In August 1998 pro-animal campaigners marched through London to a rally in Trafalgar Square held to protest about the Labour Party's failure to fulfil its pre-election promises. Several thousand angry voters joined the march and attended the demonstration and were, inevitably, joined by a small army of policemen and women (The Metropolitan Police refused to give me the numbers but my guess is that there were between 750 and 1000 police officers present and that the whole police operation, including vehicles, helicopters and so on must have cost considerably in excess of £100,000. I would be surprised if more than one arrest was made that day.)

On the same day a group of undoubtedly frustrated animal rights activists released 6,000 mink from a mink farm in the New Forest. (It seems safe to assume that, in view of the timing, one aim of the release may have been to draw attention to the Labour Party's failure to fulfil its pre-election promises on animal issues.)

The demonstration and the rally received hardly any national news coverage but the release of the mink attracted massive national coverage for several days.

The stories this action attracted (even the alleged news stories) seemed to me to be almost universally prejudiced, unbalanced and quite unfairly anti-animal.

They were used largely as an excuse to drag out hoary old pseudologic such as 'animals take no responsibilities and cannot therefore expect to be given any rights'. (I have dealt with this absurd and easily demolished claim earlier in this book).

The mink farmers and their supporters were forced into public discussion of their work (phrases such as 'the mink are harvested by gassing' may not have gone down too well with some members of the public) and the releasing of the mink did attract attention to one Labour Party broken promise (its failure to halt fur farming).

But the coverage was quickly manipulated to suit the purposes of the animal abusers. The released mink were reported to be attacking babies and family pets and to be killing wildlife. These reports, created by pro-animal abusers desperate to minimise the damage that might be done by the fact that attention had been drawn to mink farming (and the Labour Party) were designed to gain the support of animal lovers as well as everyone else.

For the animals the real tragedy is, perhaps, the fact that too many pro-animal groups seem quick to criticise and to support the animal abusers' carefully planned line of attack.

So, when the mink were released into the countryside and the animal abusers set out to limit the media damage that was likely to be done, they obtained support from animal welfare groups – thereby dividing the pro-animal lobby very effectively.

(Just about every pro-animal demonstration I have ever attended has been condemned by one or more allegedly pro-animal groups.)

Stunts may help us win minor victories, they may make us feel that we are doing something useful but they will not help us win. Stunts are merely skirmishes in a great war. Nevertheless, it is clear that simple stunts which are genuinely newsworthy, and irresistible to the media, do attract publicity (and sometimes subsequent discussion of the relevant issues) whereas attempts to obtain discussion of those same issues through properly organised public protests are more easily ignored.

In the past civil disobedience often attracted attention and, historically, it has often resulted in action and change. Today, however, I do not believe that civil disobedience (or any form of violence) works as effectively as it used to. This is largely because of the effectiveness of the technique of marginalisation which is used by modern politicians, who are, generally speaking, much more repressive and manipulative than their predecessors.

Media stunts are much more likely to be effective than civil disobedience.

We have to develop media stunts which target the culture in which we live. For example, we could argue that the whole concept of human superiority is the ultimate form of racism in that it puts the human race above other species. A series of formal complaints to the Race Relations Board might or might not produce a useful result – but they would certainly provoke some thought.

The Press Complaints Commission

In an article, in which I attacked hunting and animal experimentation, I warned readers that meat causes cancer. I wrote, quite accurately, that there is: "now 22 carat gold evidence available to show that people who eat meat are far more likely to get cancer and die young".

I wasn't particularly surprised when the Meat and Livestock Commission complained to Britain's Press Complaints Commission (PCC) saying: "The claims made in the article are both damaging to the industry and could be greatly disturbing to the public...".

The PCC asked for evidence supporting my statement that: "young people who eat meat are far more likely to get cancer and die young."

I sent several pages of scientific references, including a seven year study of 35,460 people, published in the journal Cancer Research. The scientists who wrote that report concluded:"it is quite clear that these results are supportive of the hypothesis that beef, meat and saturated fat or fat in general are etiologically related to colon cancer."

There isn't room here to list all the scientific references I sent in support of my claim. But the Press Complaints Commission found in favour of the Meat and Livestock Commission. They reported that the MLC: "denied that there was any evidence to link the consumption of meat with the cause of cancer".

I asked the PCC what medical or scientific proof the MLC had provided to support their claim that meat does not cause cancer.

I asked if any members of the PCC had medical qualifications.

And I asked if the PCC had hired any medical or scientific experts to look at the references I sent supporting my statement that meat does cause cancer.

I also sent the PCC photocopies of more journal articles proving that meat causes cancer.

The copies included one published in the British Medical Jour nal which stated: "previous studies...have shown a reduction in all cause, cancer and cardiovascular mortality among people who do not eat meat".

I also sent papers from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute ("animal fat, especially from red meat, is associated with an elevated risk of advanced prostate cancer"); the New England Journal of Medicine ("animal fat was positively associated with the risk of colon cancer") and the International Journal of Cancer ("frequent consumption of...red meat is a risk factor for colo-rectal cancer").

In its judgement the PCC complained that my article contained: "no acknowledgement of any opposing view".

I found that rather surprising. My original comments had been made in a newspaper column. I was hired, and paid, to present my personal opinions to my readers. It was perfectly clear that the column was not intended to offer a balanced viewpoint.

Drama critics, book reviewers, sports reporters and political commentators are not expected to acknowledge opposing views in their articles. Cookery writers who publish meat recipes are not instructed to include vegetarian recipes for vegetarians. But, according to the Press Complaints Commission, if I write an article about meat I am not allowed to state my view that meat is dangerous without reminding readers that the Meat and Livestock Commission does not agree with me. I am supposed to remember that the meat industry might suffer financial loss if I attack it. (The PCC seemed to ignore the fact that if I make statements which are false I can be sued for libel.)

It is my view that by upholding the meat industry protest the Press Complaints Commission may (if it has any influence at all) have helped to delay the dissemination of the truth and to dissuade other writers from repeating the well established fact that meat causes cancer. How many unnecessary deaths do the PCC members now have on their conscience?

(It is, incidentally, interesting to note that in a full page advertisement in the Financial Times in November 1998 it was reported that advertising bought for the Meat & Livestock Commission had won an award as one of 1998's most effective advertising campaigns. The FT advertisement included this citation: "Advertising from 1994-97 supported the meat market from a barrage of social, ethical and economic factors and the biggest ever health scare to hit any food market – BSE. Advertising reduced the impact of these factors, slowed the rate of decline in red meat eating and in 1997 restored the market to year-on-year growth. A total media spend in the period of £36.2 million resulted in additional red meat sales of £739 million, a return of nearly 18 to 1.")

Misled, Lied To And Manipulated

The public is constantly being misled, lied to and manipulated. Most branches of the news media are unfair, inaccurate, contentious and under the control of powerful institutions which adhere faithfully to well hidden agendas.

Generally speaking, the editors of broadsheet newspapers and the producers of radio programmes and television programmes can be considered to be pro-establishment, pro status quo and pro-animal abuse. If a pro-animal campaigner is quoted on animal issues (such as vivisection) his remarks will invariably either be accompanied by some patronising or disparaging note or by disapproving comments by an alleged expert who holds an opposing (pro-animal abuse) viewpoint. On the other hand when a pro-animal abuse individual is quoted the remarks will invariably be quoted without comment, criticism or qualification.

The animal abusers have so successfully established the belief that animals are here to be used that most allegedly independent commentators find it difficult to accept that there can possibly be any alternative to animal abuse. When, on a rare radio interview I opposed the intellectual terrorism of vivisection and calmly and quietly explained why vivisection is not, never has been and never can be of any value to human beings, the allegedly independent presenter, who was perhaps aggrieved because he had been unable to destroy my arguments, ended the interview by describing me as 'controversial' and reminding the listeners that I had been 'expressing a personal view'.

Quality Of Reporting Set To Decline Still Further

I wish our news media could be forced to identify the source and sponsor of every piece of news they print. A news story which had the source of the press release printed at the bottom of it would be far more honest than the present system.

That won't happen. It would not be in the interests of the media and it would not be in the interests of the sources of the stories.

Nor will our media ever become more responsible or deliberate than they are at the moment. Speed is the very essence of the newsroom and the demand for more new information is constant and insatiable. As the number of television channels, radio stations and publications increases so the demand for more information (and for 'exclusives' or 'scoops') will also increase. Ethics and moral values will take even more of a back seat. The quality of reporting is set to decline a good deal further in the coming years.

Animal Abusers Control The Media

The animal abusers and their supporters (and I include politicians among those supporters) have successfully taken overall control of the media. If those of us who campaign on behalf of animals are to win the war against animal abuse then we have to do something non-violent but dramatic. We have to prove to the politicians, and the business leaders who approve of animal abuse, that pro-animal campaigners can no longer be ignored.

In our present climate the directions of change are managed by those who are most skilful at feeding the media with the news it needs – and who are most skilful in manipulating whatever crises develop to their own advantage. Propagandists and lobbyists ultimately rule our world because they control both the media and the politicians.

Pro-animal campaigners constantly lose these battles because of a failure to understand how to control all aspects of the modern game. The animal abusers are more skilful at managing crises and manipulating the media and they generally win these exchanges.

Intellectual And Emotional Terrorism

One of the classic false arguments used by animal abusers is to warn anyone thinking of joining or supporting the animal rights movement in general, and the anti-vivisection campaign in particular, that if they oppose animal experiments (and are successful in calling for an end to animal experiments) they will, inevitably, be exposing themselves and their families to the risk that when they fall ill they will be deprived of life saving treatments which would have been available had scientists been allowed to continue performing animal experiments.

"Of course we all love animals," the hypocritical animal abusers will claim. "We all wish that animal experiments weren't necessary. But the sad fact is that animal experiments are essential if we are to find a cure for (and here the animal abuser will insert a popular or fashionable disease or the name of the disease of which he knows the listener is frightened or the name of the disease which he knows already affects the listener or a member of his family) then animal experiments simply must continue."

This technique, which I describe as 'intellectual terrorism', works well for the animal abusers. It frightens ordinary people who may not have access to the facts and it undoubtedly frightens many who are simply so afraid of disease and death that they will cling to any hope which is offered.

A commonly used extension of this technique is to tell anti-vivisection campaigners that if they are going to be true to their beliefs, and not take advantage of the experiments on animals which have been done, then they (and their families) have to refuse to accept any modern medical treatment.

This despicable and utterly ruthless trick, which I consider to be cruel and brutal as well as thoroughly dishonest, frightens many and puts many more off the idea of opposing animal experimentation.

In 1998 vivisectionists started to issue something which called 'Animal Research Abolition Cards'. The cards contained the following message: "To honour my belief that animal research should be abolished, I hereby pledge that: In the event of accident or emergency, I will refuse all medical treatments developed or tested on animals, including but not limited to: blood tranfusions, anaesthetics, anticoagulants, antibiotics, sutures, open heart and other types of surgery. If my child suffers from a genetic illness or other serious condition, I will not allow them to have life saving treatment developed through animal research. None of my pets shall receive any veterinary vaccine or medicine that has been developed or tested on animals."

These cards were sent to those who oppose animal experimentation suggesting that they sign them.

As I believe vivisectionists ought to know perfectly well, the evidence shows quite clearly that animal experiments are without value to doctors or patients. (Two vivisectionists once appeared on a TV programme with me where the whole issue was debated – at the end of the programme, when viewers were asked to vote on the issue, I, who had argued that animal experiments are of no value, have never been of value and never will be of value, received 84% of the vote.)

But the creator of this card had avoided this slight technical problem by including the phrase "developed or tested on animals', thereby neatly side stepping the issue of whether animal experiments had been of any value whatsoever.

I am appalled by this specialised type of what I consider to be intellectual terrorism.

Many caring and active anti-vivisectionists have died prematurely because they have been encouraged, quite falsely, to believe that all modern medical treatments have been developed as a result of animal experimentation. Many people who care about animals do refuse essential treatment, do suffer unnecessarily (and probably do die prematurely) because they have believed this piece of nonsensical and mischievous animal abuse propaganda. For example, in December 1998 comedian and author Spike Milligan reported that his wife had died from cancer, having refused to use any known medicines that had been used in animal experimentation. "It wasn't easy for her," wrote Mr Milligan, "but she died with a clear conscience."

I have, over the years, received numerous letters from readers suffering from serious health problems telling me that they are refusing to take drugs which have been tested on animals. I usually try to write back to such correspondents and point out that my view is that since animal experiments are entirely pointless there is absolutely no need for any animal lover to refuse to take a drug which may have a beneficial effect on his or her health.

I also point out that if someone who cares about animals dies prematurely (for no good reason) then animals will be losing another champion.

I believe that those who are guilty of originating and perpetuating this type of intellectual terrorism are directly responsible for many deaths.

Deceit And Trickery

This cruel variety of pro-vivisection propaganda is based on a hypothesis that has been proved to be entirely false. All the available evidence shows (quite conclusively and, I believe, beyond argument or dispute) that animal experiments are not, never have been and never will be, of any value whatsoever to doctors or patients. I have for years successfully argued that no vivisector has ever produced any evidence which is of value. (No vivisectionist has ever beaten me in debate on this issue and these days they are so tired of defeat – and embarrassed at having no evidence to support their outrageous contentions – that they refuse to debate with me.)

Indeed, on the contrary, the evidence shows that the drug industry's reliance on animal experimentation when developing and testing new drugs is one of the main reasons why one in six patients in hospital are there because they have been made ill by doctors; why forty per cent of people who are given prescription drugs suffer notable and sometimes lethal side effects and why, if a patient who is receiving orthodox medical treatment develops new symptoms, the chances are that the new symptoms are caused by the treatment for the original symptoms.

Emotional Blackmail

Animal abusers use other types of of intellectual terrorism.

For example, a favourite trick which is often used by hunt supporters and zoo owners, is to warn that if they are forced to go out of business they will kill all the animals in their care.

"If you stop us hunting," the hunters will say, "we will have to kill all our horses and dogs."

"If you make us close down our zoo," the zoo keepers will argue, "we will have to kill the lions, the tigers, the monkeys, the elephants and all the other animals."

The animal abusers usually expose their own sense of brutality by adding an extra vicious twist to their cruelty and claiming that all this means that the pro-animal campaigners will be directly responsible for the deaths of any animals which are killed.

"We don't want to kill our animals," the hunters and zoo keepers will claim. "We love our animals," they will claim. "And if you force us to kill them their blood will be on your hands."

This is, of course, all a total nonsense.

If and when hunts and zoos are closed down it will not be necessary to kill any animals.

Chapter Two:

Control Of The Police And The Courts, Manipulation Of Justice And The End Of Freedom Of Speech

"Information is the currency of democracy "

Thomas Jefferson

Much unhappiness and frustration is caused by the fact that in our society the law is commonly confused with justice, liberty, freedom and equality.

In truth the law has very little to do with these fundamental moral principles. The law exists to help society defend itself; it is used by those who represent society as a weapon with which to dominate and discriminate against individual powers and freedoms. The law is man's inadequate attempt to turn justice – an abstract theoretically concept – into practical reality. Sadly, it is invariably inspired more by the prejudices and self interest of the law makers than by respect or concern for the rights of innocent individuals.

These misconceptions about the purpose of our law lead to much disappointment. And these misconceptions help to create a considerable amount of underlying stress.

No society has ever had as many laws as we have and yet few societies can have ever had less justice.

Many of the laws which exist today were created not to protect individuals or communities but to protect the system. It is because such crimes threaten the security and sanctity of the system that theft and fraud often attract harsher sentences than crimes such as rape and murder which affect individuals. Crimes against the individual are seen as less important than crimes against society because the rights of the individual are seen (by society) as being of less significance than the rights of society.

The irony is that although the law was originally introduced to protect individuals the law has itself become a tyrant. Today, few individuals can afford to take advantage of the protection offered by the law. The law oppresses the weak, the poor and the powerless and sustains itself and the powers which preserve it. The enormous costs of litigation mean that there is one law for the rich and no law at all for the poor. The result is that the law threatens and reduces the rights of the weak and strengthens and augments the rights of the powerful.

Things are made worse by the fact that the people employed by society to uphold and administer the law on behalf of ordinary people too often take advantage of their positions to abuse their powers. The interpretation of the law is so often at the discretion of those who are paid to uphold it that those who have been hired by society become the law itself.

Too often society allows officers of the courts to abuse their power to satisfy their own personal ambitions, grievances and prejudices. In return society, in its broadest and most undemocratic and domineering sense, is protected by the people who benefit from its patronage. It is the worst sort of symbiotic relationship. (A worrying side issue is the prevalence of freemasons within the police and on the court benches. In November 1998 it was disclosed that up to one in five male magistrates in England and Wales could be Freemasons. It is on the record that many judges are Freemasons too.)

The final irony is that as respect for the law (and those hired to uphold it) diminishes so the divide between the law and justice grows ever wider.

When people who are given the power to protect society disapprove of something which threatens their status they introduce a new law. As political parties come and go so we accumulate layer after layer of new laws. It doesn't matter if the new laws conflict with the old laws as long as all the laws help to strengthen the status of the state.

Meanwhile, as the oppression of individuals continues, lawlessness (and disrespect for the law) grows among officials and those in power. Brutality, arrogance, corruption and hypocrisy have all damaged public faith in the law but the only response from society has been to create new laws to outlaw disapproval. Society's primary interest is to protect itself and society is not concerned with justice, freedom or equality since those are values which are appreciated only by individuals. Those who have power are concerned only with their own survival and with perpetuating their power. The simple truth is that we live in a corrupt society which takes little or no account of the needs or the rights of ordinary people.

In a strange way all this should provide us with some comfort. When the oppressive forces of a society try to suppress information and free speech it invariably means that they are worried. Ridicule is usually the first weapon used by cruel oppressors. Violence, imprisonment and the suppression of free speech usually only come when the establishment is fighting a rearguard action.

The Greatest Threat To Liberty

We like to think that the Germans who worked in the concentration camps were exceptionally evil individuals. But every nation contains thousands of pustulant thugs who will obey orders as long as they're paid well, given heaps of authority and provided with smart uniforms.

If the British government decided to exterminate beggars or jews they would find it easy to recruit staff. Most of those who satisfy the requirements for gas chamber attendants are currently working as lawyers, policemen and traffic wardens. And in their hands this island is rapidly becoming a police state.

For years politicians and lawyers (two words which, I feel, go together like 'vomit' and 'floorcloth') have been doing their efficient best to take away all your rights.

Today, the greatest threat to your liberty comes not from criminals but from the legal system. New laws now mean that you're guilty if the police say you're guilty. Human rights have been replaced by police rights. I know of parents who do not like their children going out at night – not because they are frightened of thugs and muggers because they are frightened that their children will be beaten up by the police. Many policemen seem to feel that they have to be confrontational. Instead of simply being there, holding back, or even backing away from trouble, the police seem inclined to provoke trouble and to exacerbate difficult situations. I suspect that this may, to a large extent, be a consequence of bad management and bad training. The Police Service Statement of Common Purpose and Values states that the police must: "...strive to reduce the fears of the public and, so far as we can, to reflect their priorities in the action we take" and that policemen and policewomen should be: "...compassionate, courteous and patient, acting without fear or favour or prejudice to the rights of others."

Those paid to run the legal system have forgotten that the law was invented to protect the ordinary citizen. (They also seem to have forgotten that they are giving more and more power to a bunch of people who are often largely little more than corrupt, racist thugs.) Even former Conservative Home Office Minister David Mellor has warned that: "giving the police extensive power could be bad for decent folk as well as criminals."

Too Many Laws And Not Enough Justice

Recent governments have passed endless oppressive and unjust laws and in consequence the prison population is rising so fast that it won't be long before prisoners will have to come outside and law abiding citizens will have to go inside.

Ring up and complain that you've been robbed, mugged or raped and a snotty, supercilious, patronising, overpaid individual with an 'I'm-far-too-busy-and-important-to-be-dealing-with-your-piddling-little-problem' voice will reluctantly take down your details before explaining that they're far too busy to do anything about your problem.

But leave your car outside the police station while you go inside to complain that you've been assaulted and when you get back to it you'll find that someone has found the time to give you a ticket.

Motorists are easy targets. Most ordinary citizens have an in-built fear of authority and a long established respect for the law. It's far easier to make the crime statistics look good by catching a few generally law abiding middle class motorists than it is to try and catch potentially troublesome criminals.

Vandalism is now so commonplace that churches are installing video cameras. They are, presumably, worried that they'll turn up one morning and find the church gone and the spire propped up on bricks.

One grocer abandoned his business and shut up shop after being burgled and robbed 90 times in just 18 months.

A Reputation For Brutality And Cruelty

The police are rapidly and widely acquiring a fearsome reputation for brutality and cruelty. It seems to me that a large proportion of the men (and women) in the police force today would be criminals if they weren't in the police force. Joining up and wearing a police uniform is, today, an excuse for legalised thuggery. Most ordinary people today would feel more secure if we had fewer police and more justice

Police sprayed a four year old girl with CS gas which they were aiming at two men wanted in connection with motoring offenses.

Police gassed a man who had forgotten his own front door keys. Then, after the householder had been identified by his wife, they took him away, locked him up for 18 hours and charged him with a public order offence.

An accountant who chased after two boys who threw eggs at a disabled man's shop, and accidentally injured them, was quickly arrested. A court ordered him to pay £500 in compensation to each of the two boys and £642 in costs. The judge allowed that he had not meant to injure the boys.

Or consider the case of a citizen and his family who were terrorised by local louts for 14 years. The louts ripped up the man's vegetables and burnt down barn. The police did not stop the raids and so the smallholder, presumably acting out of a sense of anger and frustration, set up a shotgun booby trap which grazed the next intruder in the hand. The unfortunate but desperate and frustrated smallholder was arrested, convicted of attempted murder and sent to prison for seven years.

According to the Police Service Statement of Common Purpose and Values the aim of the police is: "...to protect, help and reassure the community: and to be seen to do all this with integrity, common sense and sound judgement."

The Public Order Act

Police commonly use sections 2,3,4 and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 when dealing with demonstrators.

Section 2 (1) of the Act states: "Where 3 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using or threatening unlawful violence is guilty of violent disorder."

Section 2 (2) of the same act states that: "It is immaterial whether or not the 3 or more use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously.

Section 2 (3) states that: "No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.

Section 2 (4) states that: "violent disorder may be committed in private as well as in public places'.

And Section 2 (5) states: "A person guilty of violent disorder is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or a fine or both..."

So, presumably, if three people are sitting together in their living room and Tony Blair appears, smiling smarmily and uninvited, on their TV set and one of the people watching the television announces to the others that he would like to force the grotesque Blair person to eat all his broken promises all three could be sent to prison for five years.

I have to confess that like much modern legislation the Public Order Act 1986 reminds me more of something penned by Lewis Carroll in one of his more imaginative moments than of any sort of legal document.

In the summer of 1998 Home Office Minister Alun Michael MP told me that 142 arrests had been made at Hillgrove Farm near Oxford in connection with protests and demonstrations involving animal rights campaigners. (Pro-animal campaigners were justifiably protesting about the breeding of cats for vivisection laboratories at Hillgrove Farm). Of these 142 arrests no less than 116 were for offenses under sections 2,3,4 or 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. The Minister was unable to give me details of the number of demonstrators who were injured or who required hospital treatment. I am not aware of any police officers being injured by demonstrators at Hillgrove Farm though I rather suspect that if any policemen or policewomen had been injured the government would have made this information available to me.

Considering the number of police involved, the number of demonstrators, the type of offences which with demonstrators had been charged, the cost of the whole exercise – considerably in excess of £1 million – and the length of time for which regular demonstrations had been taking place at Hillgrove Farm, the number of arrests seems to me to be remarkably low and a considerable tribute to the patience of the demonstrators.)

Harassment And Distress

I have met and talked to photographers in different parts of the United Kingdom whose homes have been raided by the police looking for photographs which could be used to help them arrest demonstrators. (The police did not have warrants). Press photographers have had their film seized – and have been jailed. In addition I have been told that it is not unknown for the police to demand film taken by press cameramen at animal rights demonstrations.

A videocameraman working for reported in the autumn of 1998 that he has been arrested six times in two years while trying to do his job as a video journalist. "Problems began," he reported, "two years ago when I was arrested at a hunt, for causing "alarm, harassment and distress – I had pointed my camera at a huntsman."

"After talking to colleagues," he continued, "it transpires that I am not alone. Journalists from all sections of the print and broadcast media who report on direct-action protests involving the police are systematically being bullied, harassed, assaulted and arrested."

The police are, it seems, using the new Protection from Harassment Act (which was originally intended to protect women from stalkers) to control photographers and cameramen who try to report the way that the police deal with demonstrators.

A photographer who took pictures of the eviction of protestors from Manchester Airport in 1997 reported that he was arrested for obstruction and had his equipment and film confiscated – even though he claimed that he had cooperated fully with the demands of bailiffs and had shown his press card. He was put in prison for 14 hours and later convicted in court of obstruction of bailiffs, with a conditional discharge.

There are stories of police officers arresting camera operators, removing tape and then denying that there was ever tape in the camera in the first place. At least one video cameraman now has a colleague filming him while he films the action so that he has some evidence about exactly what has happened. One cameraman has evidence that the police actively erased taped footage which they didn't want to be shown. Another cameraman was arrested for filming protestors destroying crops from a genetics test site. He was locked up for 24 hours and police then obtained authorisation to hold him for another 12 hours (something usually only granted in cases of terrorism). All his clothes were taken from him and he was forced to wear a paper suit.

A freelance reporter was charged with breach of the peace while covering a secret conference of senior politicians and businessmen. He was held for several hours after he had knocked on neighbouring doors to see if residents had seen anything.

Citizens Fight Back

More and more citizens are sueing the police for wrongful arrest, for assault and for other breaches of the law. In 1998 it was reported that the Manchester police had paid out £10,593,573.90 in damages and costs in one case alone. In 1996-7 Scotland Yard paid out more than £2.4 million in damages to settle claims, including assault and false imprisonment. In December 1998 The Times reported that: "The government faces a bill of up to £50 million in costs and compensation for miscarriages of justice uncovered by corruption investigators. The estimate was based on the possibility that 200 cases being investigated would all result in quashed convictions. The Times reported that: "Many of the allegations involve the fabrication of evidence, such as planting weapons, and in at least one case tampering with scientific evidence."

Planting weapons and tampering with scientific evidence can hardly be described as anything but dishonest and yet it is extremely rare for police officers to be sent to prison – even when convictions which have been obtained falsely have been reversed. Members of the public might wonder why.

Another question which needs to be asked is: "Why are damages awarded against the police, or because of police incompetence or dishonesty, paid out of public money?" The average police officer would surely be far more careful – and far less likely to fabricate evidence – if he knew that he was going to have to pay any damages awarded against him. It is difficult to see why police officers should not be held personally responsible for their own actions. If a doctor or accountant is found guilty of some wrongdoing then he will be held responsible for whatever financial costs may result. When a doctor is sued for making a mistake, or for some dishonest action, the taxpayer does not have to pay the bill. Why should the taxpayer have to pay when a police officer is found guilty of making a serious mistake – or, worse still, of corruption?

The present system ensures that the public suffer constantly. Members of the public pay the wages of the police officer who beats up members of the public and then members of the public pay the legal costs and damages awarded against the errant police officer.

Incidentally, policemen and traffic wardens are quick to grovel if they think they're dealing with someone whom they regard as important. A few years ago I acquired a large and impressive looking Buckingham Palace car park pass for the windscreen of my car. I quickly discovered that once they saw the sticker traffic wardens treated me very reverentially. For example, when on a book promotion tour I could find nowhere to leave my car I parked inside a shopping arcade. When I returned to the vehicle I found a traffic warden waiting for me. But he didn't give me a ticket. Instead he stopped the traffic while I reversed out of the arcade. He then saluted while I drove away, leaving him enveloped in blue exhaust smoke.

When I lost my sticker I had a flag made. In the place where the queen's car flies a royal standard I fly a skull and crossbones. I regularly get saluted by officials in uniform.

It is now a mistake to confuse the law with justice, liberty, freedom and equality. Today's law has very little to do with these fundamental moral principles. As H. L .Mencken wrote: "All governments, of course, are against liberty."

The Self Interest Of The Law-Makers

The law, man's inadequate attempt to turn justice into practical reality, is inspired more by the self interest of the lawmakers than by respect or concern for human rights.

This is why protest with a purpose attracts far more attention than mindless vandalism. And animal rights protests certainly do seem to attract more than their fair share of police attention.

If animal rights activists do £50 worth of damage to a building where evil people are doing indefensible and unspeakable things to animals the whole area will turn blue with policemen looking for clues. On the other hand, on several occasions when vandals did hundreds of pounds worth of damage to my office we were not visited by police officers until a few days after the incidents.

When a pro-animal campaigner did several thousand pounds worth of damage to vehicles belonging to a butcher he was arrested, taken to court and sent to prison for longer than the average murderer or rapist would expect to get. When £10,000 worth of damage was done to my car the police would not even bother to come and inspect the damage – let alone look for a culprit.

When a pro-animal campaigner threw a stone while attending a demonstration at a site where animals were being abused she was arrested and told to expect a five year jail sentence. (No one had been injured by the stone). When a fisherman repeatedly threw stones at me (I had been standing near the river in which he was fishing and was, he claimed, alerting the fish by my presence) I telephoned the local constabulary to report the incident. The police refused to attend on the grounds that I had not been injured by any of the thrown stones.

When vivisectors receive threats (however mild) these are invariably treated extremely seriously by the police. When I received and reported a written death threat (the writer claimed that he and his friends had hired a hit man to kill me because of my opposition to hunting) the police dealt with the matter (quite slowly) through the mail. I was never offered any form of protection.

And, of course, there are always thousands of highly paid policemen and policewomen available to protect lorries transporting animals, or to protect establishments where animals are being tortured and killed or reared for torturing and killing. In the north of England a small demonstration of less than 50 animal rights protestors was met with a police 'army' estimated to consist of 200 officers, including 20 on horseback.

The use of vast numbers of police officers to control protests organised by animal rights campaigners is even more remarkable considering the fact that, as far as I am aware, no one has yet been killed or injured by an animal rights protestor. (I think it is fair to say that this shows great reserve, good sense, compassion and patience on the side of the animal rights supporters.)

Those who oppose demonstrations held outside animal breeding centres, where animals are bred for vivisection, torture and death, argue that even if all the animal breeding farms in Britain were closed down the vivisectors would simply import animals from foreign breeding farms. This is akin to arguing that there is no point at all in Britain having rules about child labour or racism or the exploitation of the mentally retarded because even if we stop these outrages here they will still continue in other countries.

If we don't set a good example who will? If we don't start the tide of public opinion against animal abuse in Britain where will it start? If Germany has gas chambers for killing jews does that mean that we have to have them too?

The Law Oppresses The Weak

Laws were originally introduced to protect individuals but 'the law' has itself become one of modern society's greatest tyrants. The law now oppresses the weak, the poor and the powerless, and sustains itself and the powers which preserve it. The law threatens and reduces the rights of the weak and strengthens and augments the rights of the powerful. At peaceful pro-animal rallies and demonstrations the police turn up armed with riot shields, full body armour, helmets, batons and CS gas. When one remembers that, as far as I am aware, animal rights campaigners have never killed (or seriously injured) any animal abusers (or police officers) this dramatic overkill seems to me to take on clear political overtones.

As political parties come and go so we accumulate layer after layer of new laws. We are now all living in one huge concentration camp. And as the oppression of individuals continues, lawlessness grows among officials and those in power.

Brutality, arrogance, corruption and hypocrisy have all damaged public faith in the law but the only response from the establishment has been to create new laws to outlaw disapproval.

The primary interest of the legal establishment is, it seems to me, to protect itself. The legal establishment does not appear to be concerned with justice, freedom or equality since those are values which give strength to you and me.

The Injustice of the Law

The law has very little to do with fundamental moral principles. The law exists to help society defend itself; it is used by those who represent society as a weapon with which to dominate and discriminate against individual powers and freedoms. The law is man's inadequate attempt to turn justice – an abstract theoretically concept – into practical reality. Sadly, it is invariably inspired more by the prejudices and self interest of the law makers than by respect or concern for the rights of innocent individuals. It is in the interests of the politicians to create new laws because when there are many laws in a society (and so many laws that not even the lawyers know what they all are) then everyone will be bound to be a criminal. When every citizen is a criminal, or a potential criminal, the judiciary and the police, and therefore the politicians, have more power.

As respect for the law (and those hired to uphold it) diminishes so the divide between the law and justice grows ever wider.

Meanwhile, as the oppression of individuals continues, lawlessness (and disrespect for the law) grows among officials and those in power. Brutality, arrogance, corruption and hypocrisy have all damaged public faith in the law but the only response from society has been to create new laws to outlaw disapproval.

Society's primary interest is to protect itself. Those who have power are concerned only with their own survival and with perpetuating their power. The simple truth is that we live in a corrupt society.

The Police: The Enemy Of The People

The police probably do not think of themselves as behaving in an evil and reprehensibly immoral manner. Most of them never question what they have been told – or what they are told to do. People who join the police forces are probably not the sort of people who usually question authority.

The police who batter and beat up pro-animal campaigners at rallies and demonstrations may have been told that the people they are battering and beating up are all dangerous lunatics who love animals more than people. They have probably been told that without laboratory experiments on cats and dogs their children will all die of terrible diseases.

Many police officers tend to be insensitive folk of modest intellect. (Would a sensitive, intelligent individual want to join the police force these days?). Most probably do not have enquiring minds. They are likely to believe what they are told. They probably do not have the intelligence to realise that the people they are attacking are not only their real employers but are the 'good guys'.

Police Brutality Is A Major Problem

Pro-animal campaigners are not dangerous in the sense the police think they are dangerous. In a purely physical sense pro-animal campaigners are probably far less of a threat than football crowds or hordes of shoppers queuing for a big store sale to open.

I have received many reports of the police attacking and brutalising innocent demonstrators – many of whom are middle aged or elderly. I have little personal doubt that the police break the law far more often than the citizens they are supposed to be policing.

At one demonstration a girl was arrested for not removing her face mask. She was carried upside down to police vans. The police claimed that the girl was offending the public by wearing the mask, though there were only police and protestors in the area.

A policeman was seen to kick a demonstrator in the back and then stand there, camera in hand, waiting for a response. The same police officer was also alleged to have punched a young woman. I have heard of a policeman at a demonstration attempting to arrest a young woman for wearing a scarf. All this may sound unbelievable. But I believe it is true.

Is it not behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace when several hundred police officers, some on horseback, many dressed in riot gear, surround a peaceful gathering? If a group of military-style demonstrators dressed this way surrounded another group of perfectly innocent citizens, who were exercising their right to meet and listen to speakers, would it not be realistic to describe the military-style demonstrators as guilty of 'behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace'?

Are Pro-Animal Campaigners Targeted By The Police?

Why are so many police used at pro-animal demonstrations? Can it really be that there are not enough murders, rapes, muggings, burglaries and so on to keep them busy?

Of course not.

Politicians have argued that a large police presence is needed at demonstrations because of violence at pro-animal gatherings. It is true that there are always a few arrests at pro-animal demonstrations but it would be surprising if this were not the case when such confrontational tactics are used.

The fact is that (as I have said earlier) I am not aware of any one ever being killed as a direct result of any action initiated by pro-animal campaigners.

Indeed, there is evidence to show that alleged violent actions against animal abusers have been organised either by provocateurs or by animal abusers themselves. (One hunt supporter was jailed for nine months for placing a home made bomb under his own vehicle and then claiming that the bomb was the work of pro-animal activists.)

I have little doubt that the police, undoubtedly under instructions from their political masters, are targeting pro- animal campaigners in a particularly ruthless and inexcusable way.

Readers of mine have reported that they have been searched when travelling to pro-animal demonstrations. And I have also received reports that the police have raided the homes of pro-animal campaigners after they have attended demonstrations. (The police use the photographs they take of people and vehicles to enable them to identify protestors). I have even heard of pro- animal campaigners who have been taken to court simply for reporting animal rights activity.

When police identified a 12 year old girl and a 10 year old boy whom they claimed had allegedly thrown objects during a demonstration they picked up both children.

Detectives travelled some distance to arrest the girl. They called at the family home and intended to pick the girl up at her school until the girl's mother complained. The mother was allowed to pick her daughter up from school herself and to take her to a local police station on condition that the girl's grandmother went with the police to the station. The girl's mother was not allowed in the interview room with her daughter and the girl's grandmother. When a solicitor was requested they were told they would have to wait hours for one. "She was hungry and tired and really wanted to go home so she let them interview her," said the girl's mother.

The 10 year old boy was stopped by police officers as he and his mother were about to board a coach. The boy was grabbed, read his rights and told he was under arrest. He was told that he was under arrest because there was video evidence of him throwing a stone at an animal rights demonstration. He and his mother were put into a police van and held in a cell for seven hours before the boy was interviewed, fingerprinted, photographed and formally cautioned. "I don't know whether he threw a stone," his mother is reported to have said. "He admitted it during the interview but any child would have admitted to anything to get out of there."

It seems surprising to me that the police should have taken so much trouble over children alleged to have thrown stones (but not as far as I am aware, to have injured anyone or caused any damage). Is it now official police policy to arrest every child in the country who is believed to have thrown a stone? Or are the police only interested in arresting children who throw stones while attending animal rights demonstrations? If there is a difference, why is there a difference?

One animal rights campaigner believes that the police are: "trying to frighten off old aged pensioners and people with children so that they can pigeonhole everyone on demonstrations as young unemployed dreadlocked hippies."

My own feeling is that there is probably a good deal of truth in this allegation. Some law abiding citizens are now wary of attending animal rights protests because they fear for their own safety (they are, I need hardly add, frightened of the police, not of other demonstrators) and they fear that they may be falsely arrested and in consequence lose their jobs. This is, of course, all part of the marginalisation process. One community pillar told me that he didn't dare attend a demonstration because of his responsible post. In fact, of course, his responsible post gave him extra power and made him an even more potent demonstrator than he might otherwise have been.

Heavy-Handed Policing

Of the many readers who have written to me to complain of the heavy handed attitude of the police quite a number have claimed that in their view the police have deliberately started trouble at demonstrations – sometimes using provocateurs dressed up as protestors and sometimes merely behaving in a provocative manner.

Here is what one reader told me:

"I was stood by a gate watching the throngs of animal rights protestors milling about, waving banners and chanting when without any warning I was suddenly blinded and my face was burning. Also my hand had been hit with what I imagine was a baton. After the idiotic police started behaving like this the crowd became incensed. We are innocent and a threat to nobody. I and my partner suffered the effects of the CS gas well into the night and even the next day. I have seen statements from members of the police force which are fabrications, lies and massive exaggerations."

This reader told me that the CS gas was sprayed less than three feet away from where he was standing, that no warning was given, there was no danger to anyone's life and that no after care was offered.

At pro-animal demonstrations I have attended there have invariably been a large number of police cameramen in attendance – some equipped with video cameras and some with still cameras.

(I understand that there is still some question about whether or not the police are entitled to video and photograph innocent citizens – and to then make copies of the video tapes they record and the photographs they take. According to Liberty of the National Council for Civil Liberties, the organisation which protects civil liberties and promotes human rights, the police have to destroy fingerprints taken of people who have been arrested but subsequently not charged with a criminal offence but there is no provision for the destruction of video tapes.)

In my experience the police are too often arrogant and most unlike public servants. Two senior officers both refused to give me their badge numbers when I asked for this information. From the evidence I have seen I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the police cause most (if not all) of the trouble at animal rights demonstrations. And I have absolutely no doubt that police officers regularly lie when giving evidence to the courts.

(It is may or may not be material and relevant but for the sake of completeness I should perhaps point out that when I worked as a general practitioner in the 1970s I also worked as a police surgeon.)

Who pays for all this? Who pays for the massive police turn out, the helicopters, the vehicles, the horses and the cameras? I find it difficult to believe that local police forces can afford this massive expenditure out of their own budgets. I suspect that the money comes from some special Home Office budget.

If several hundred police officers surrounded a Parent Teacher's Association meeting there would undoubtedly be some conflict. If five hundred police in riot gear walked onto a railway station platform or a seaside beach there would be trouble. If a thousand police officers surrounded a meeting of a Women's Institute group, or turned up at village cricket match, there would be some arrests. The current policy is self perpetuating. The police turn up and push demonstrators around. The police are, quite unnecessarily in my view, issued with full body armour and all police horses are fitted with visors. (This, despite the fact that I have no knowledge of any police officer or police horse ever being attacked). The police push and hassle and arrest any demonstrators who protest or try to protect themselves and thereby give themselves an excuse for a massive police presence at the next demonstration. The arrests enable the police to justify their actions and help them to further marginalise the pro-animal campaigners.

If they must attend demonstrations in such vast numbers, in order to satisfy their political masters and their commercial string pullers, the police, in their own best interests, really should learn to be a little more sensitive and to stay calm.

However, it is probably a lot easier for bully boy police officers to take on law abiding pro-animal campaigners than it would be for them to try to stop a crowd of young, fit, strong, belligerent football fans. Or, indeed, for them to try to arrest dangerous burglars who might be armed and ready to fight back. Bullies are invariably also cowards.

Policing a pro-animal demonstration – attended by gentle, kindly, law abiding citizens – seems to give the police a good opportunity for truncheon and boot swinging exercises – with little risk to themselves. Several eyewitnesses have told me that in their view the police seemed to enjoy brutalising the weak and the defenceless.

Here is how one pro-animal campaigner described how the police treated her and other demonstrations at one protest:

" ...after linking arms they proceeded to push everyone along the road. If you were too slow or got caught up behind other people, dogs etc you were shoved very roughly in your back to make you move forward, the further we walked the quicker they wanted us to move. When there are a large number of people and the police decide to close in from the back and sides you do not have much of an option on where to go. What I found to be totally unacceptable was the bullying behaviour, intimidation, bad language and total disregard for our well-being. I was brought up to respect our police force for the difficult job they do and the way they handle it – not any more. We were herded along like common criminals, pushed and shoved so roughly that some of us fell down on the road and you were not able to escape out of it (if you wanted to get out of the way or were pushed on to the side of the pavement where other police were, they simply shoved you back in the road). "

"It seemed as if the police use their own provocative actions to try and cause trouble and retaliation so that they can justify their huge numbers and expense. Why else, when the protestors entered the town square were there so many police; mounted police, police in riot gear and police dogs, was this to show the people how dangerous we are, so need to be controlled? "

And here is an extract from another letter I received from an animal lover who attended a pro-animal demonstration:

"I adore animals and have four rescue cats and have done numerous voluntary jobs working with rescue animals but I had never ever in my entire life attended any demonstrations before....I was totally horrified at the amount of police that was there, also the helicopter, video cameras, police on police horses...what this must have cost I dread to think. Most of all I was sickened to see the way the police treated the demonstrators and also the dreadful abuse that all of us were encountering from the onlookers. "

" It started, my personal experience with the police, after the speeches. As you know we all marched through the town to go to the farm and we were all cut off at a certain point so we could get no where near it, obviously. On our return back from the cut off point to return to our minibus my daughter, fiance and I were at the tail end of the demonstrators to return when four policemen/women on horses suddenly were pushing all of us to one side with their batons and horses so as a car could come by, which it did. Then another car wanted to come by ten minutes after the previous one, so the same thing happened again, the police on the horses pushing us to one side. However the car was coming a little faster than the previous one. I just managed to push my daughter to one side and managed to get my body out of the way but did not get my foot away in time when the car went over my right foot. It was the front wheel, the passengers side. At the same time one of the policemen on the horses gripped hold of my left wrist, yanked my arm up and started to kick me endlessly with his foot and stirrup and then hitting me extremely hard endlessly with his baton even after the car had gone and my foot released. He finally let me go, laughing away to himself and his colleagues and some of the demonstrators got hold of me quickly and were hugging me and pulling me away quick in case he returned. I was in so much pain with my arm and also with my foot. I was also in total shock as this was a serious assault that he did and for no reason whatsoever. By this time I was sobbing violently and I was also wondering why I was being led away so quick by the demonstrators. They told me when I asked that they were trying to lose me in the crowd because the policeman might return for more. I was absolutely shocked. When I returned to the bus the pain in my foot had gone but my arm was paining me too much, the pain was unbearable so I looked at it and showed the 14 others that were on my bus. It was dreadful, the whole of my upper arm was swollen and was getting bluer and blacker by the minute and I had to take pain killers. "

"Dr Coleman this has not put me off at all. This is the beginning for me. I will be attending the next demonstration. Dr Coleman how can human beings do these things? I just can't stop thinking about all this. Most nights I lie awake just sobbing until I fall asleep. Please excuse my writing etc...I am still in a state."

Another reader wrote to me to say:

"A friend and I were on the pavement, to our left were a group of four people when out of the blue an unmarked police car came onto the pavement, two police officers got out, one of them was so out of order, he decided he was going to make an arrest no matter what and chose to pick on the young man in the group of four. The officer's manner was offensive, to say the least, and when I asked why he was acting this way I was told to mind my own business. As his manner became more offensive by the minute I asked him for his number and was told in no uncertain manner that he did not have to give his number to the "likes of me'. What he meant by that is a puzzle as I am just a middle aged housewife, with a deep love of all animals, who has spent the last ten years rescuing sick and abandoned cats from the streets of London. "

Here is another extract from a letter from an animal lover:

"I can't understand why police always take such an aggressive attitude towards those who want to prevent animal abuse. Speaking as someone who has had cracked ribs, bruising etc because of the police's heavy handedness towards those demonstrating against cruelty, I am very wary whenever a policeman comes near me. "

I believe that by causing as much inconvenience as possible to local people the police are trying to further marginalise pro-animal campaigners. I suspect that this backfires quite often. Here is what one letter writer had to say: "Returning back to my car after the march I noticed an elderly lady looking quite distressed behind her garden wall. I went up to her and apologised for so many people being in her lovely village on a Sunday afternoon and asked her if she knew why. She immediately said that she had known for years about the disgusting (local farm where animals are bred for vivisection experiments) and the only people she objected to were all the police milling about and not caring where they parked their vehicles. "

This letter writer went on to say:

"I was threatened with arrest for standing observing how four policemen might treat one young man they had on the ground, shirt pulled down to his arms to immobilise him, knee in the back etc. I was ordered to "join the rest of them'. I asked why I should move. The policeman threatened me with arrest...The attitude of the government, police etc make me all the more determined to continue with my fight against animal abuse. "

Here is another letter from a pro-animal campaigner:

"I was suddenly jumped on by a policeman disguised as an activist. I struggled and swore and he got very heavy. I ended up in handcuffs and received some nasty bruises from the encounter. He told me that he enjoyed hurting me. I was kept in the cells for ages, like they always do. I was done for section 5 of the public order act and received a conditional discharge and £30 costs. A very small case – after all, I took no action – but that policeman was unnecessarily violent. I'd like to point out that I'm 51 years old and 5 foot tall. "

A reader wrote to tell me about an experience she had when standing on a kerb opposite a farm where week old calves were being sent abroad for veal crates. She was, she wrote, hemmed in by the police standing in the gutter in front of her and by a high hedge behind her.

"I was standing near the edge of the pavement holding a cardboard placard when my foot slipped off the pavement. The police officer standing in front of me pulled me across the road to a police van. When he was asked what was happening he angrily shouted that I had assaulted him with the placard. "

"I was taken to a police station, searched and put into a cell. After an hour or so I was questioned by the arresting officer. At around 11.00 pm I was handed back my handbag and told I would be released. After the police officer had checked with the inspector I was informed I was to be charged. They took my finger prints and photograph. I left the police station at about midnight for a one and a half hour drive home. "

"There were always arrests at this animal trader's farm. Often (sometimes if there were only twenty protestors there) there would be six police horses and two or three large white police vans. One police officer was heard to remark one evening: "We'll get them one by one'. There was a policeman there posing as a protestor."

" The man w ho runs the farm has been fined many times for animal cruelty. "

"I was acquitted when the case came to court and all my witnesses had their expenses paid."

Two readers of mine visited a farm with a third friend, intending to demonstrate peacefully, and stood opposite the property for two minutes. They were then approached by a Chief Inspector and two constables and shown an official police document which stated: "You are gathered at the venue of a private dwelling. You, by your presence in a crowd of demonstrators may be committing an offence under the Protection From Harrassment [sic] Act 1997. I require you to leave this area forthwith as your continued presence may intimidate the occupiers. If you fail now to leave, I will have no option but to exercise a power of arrest. You may then face criminal proceedings. I ask that you quietly leave the area now. "

(It is surprising – and, indeed, rather disturbing – that an official police document should mis-spell an Act of Parliament.)

One of these readers told me that she did not have an opportunity to walk away but was told that if she did so (i.e. she did what the police wanted her to do) she would be arrested. She was then asked for her name and address. When she queried the necessity for this she was told that she would be arrested if she did not comply. (I understsand that members of the public do not have to give their names and addresses unless arrested or suspected of committing a crime.) She was, therefore, threatened with arrest on two separate occasions within a short space of time – despite the fact that she does not seem to have broken any law. And she was forced to give her name and address though it is difficult to see why this was necessary. The other reader pointed out that there were only three of them present and that this could hardly be described as a 'crowd'. She also wondered (in her letter to me) why the police were waiting at a farm where no demonstration was planned.

A pro-animal campaigner who suffers from kidney failure and who has to use a dialysis machine four times a day, was arrested when approaching a pro-animal demonstration because he had his dialysis equipment with him. A policeman is alleged to have demanded to know what the dialysis boxes in the back of his car were for and to have then arrested the pro-animal demonstrator for 'going equipped'.

This campaigner has so far been convicted eight times of obstructing a public highway. On one occasion he was arrested and convicted for handing out leaflets.

(Handing out leaflets can be an expensive business these days. In some areas of the country campaigners who want to hand out leaflets complaining about cruelty to animals now have to pay a fee of up to £100 for the privilege of enjoying their freedom to campaign).

It would certainly appear to me, from the mail I have received, that enormous amounts of public money are being spent on using the police to protect animal abusers – and to harass pro-animal campaigners.

Legal Action

A number of pro-animal campaigners have written to tell me that they have taken legal action against the police after being assaulted.

"My arm was broken," wrote one pro-animal campaigner. "I had three witnesses who were prepared to help me. During the proceedings, when my expenses reached £2,218, I began to get worried because I was sueing the Chief Constable and if it went his way I could have lost my home because I did not get legal aid. I settled out of court and received £3,500. I nearly took them back to court because for a long time they would not pay my costs. "

"We are both currently sueing the police for brutality," wrote one pro-animal campaigner on behalf of himself and his girlfriend. "I had my hand broken and we were both sprayed at point blank range with CS gas....I have seen their eyes and many of them are really not in control...Time and time again I have seen badly trained, moronic policemen and women totally overreacting and making the situation ten times worse. "

Surprise And Indignation

I have quoted so many of these letters (a small fraction of the total number of similar letters I have received on this subject) because I think this issue is important – and the tone of these letters accurately portrays the surprise and indignation honest, tax paying, law abiding citizens feel when they come to face with the police under these circumstances.

(In view of the fact that important documents have mysteriously disappeared from my possession in the past I should perhaps point out that the original letters I have received are in a secure place and several copies of all the letters have been made and placed in secure places too.)

Time and time again people have written to tell me that the actions of the police have merely made them even more determined to fight on for animals. Many readers who were caught up in demonstrations by accident (or because they were merely accompanying an enthusiastic pro-animal campaigner) have told me that the actions of the police alerted them to the fact that this is a truly significant issue. The politicians, and the police, will no doubt be disappointed to learn that many of these people – who were not committed pro-animal campaigners when they witnessed police actions – have been converted into pro-animal campaigners by the actions of the police in harassing, assaulting and arresting perfectly innocent protestors.

Cameras Everywhere

Every pro-animal demonstration is filmed by the police (sometimes, I am assured by genuine press photographers, by police photographers in plain clothes who are mixing with press photographers). They use still and video cameras. Helicopters hover overhead and it does not seem unrealistic to assume that they too are equipped with cameras.

From the evidence I have received it seems that the police will sometimes use the information they obtain by photographing (and identifying) individuals and vehicles to harass innocent members of the public who have dared to protest in favour of animal causes.

One woman wrote to me saying: "My son was photographed driving a van near a demonstration. His house has been turned over by seven policemen."

This campaigner, like many others, is banned from going within ten miles of some animal abuse centres – even though he has never been convicted of anything.

Justice?

I sometimes want to weep at the way justice is administered in this country. It seems to me that the word 'justice' doesn't really have anything to do with our legal processes any more.Property is regularly considered far more important than human or animal life.

Recently, for example, a pro-animal campaigner was convicted of setting fire to shops as a protest about the way animals are treated in our society.

The judge told the animal rights activist: "I do accept you did not intend an attack on human life." He then sent the activist to prison for 18 years for presumably assaulting tampons, electric kettles and bottles of aspirin – or whatever else was in the targeted shops.

On the same day a gang of five youths, who called themselves The Young Mafia and who were found guilty of a "long and depraved" gang rape of a 16 year old virgin, were sentenced.

"Some days I feel it would be better if I just went," said the girl, who was previously described as bright and outgoing but was said (not surprisingly) to have become withdrawn and moody. "It would be easier on my family and I would not have to face it any more."

Three of the five gang members received sentences of five years. The other two received 18 month sentences.

Oddly enough, the collected sentences of these five gang members – who wrecked a young girl's life – added up to the same sentence given to the single animal rights supporter who damaged some shops.

A circus worker who was convicted of using an iron bar to give an elephant a vicious and sustained beating was sentenced to four months imprisonment. But a pro-animal campaigner who pleaded guilty to beating a metal fence with a wooden stick, outside a farm where animals were bred for animal experiments, was sent to prison for a year.

What sort of society values a fence more highly than an elephant?

Prisoners Of The System

Men and women who have been sent to prison for caring for animals can expect a rough ride.

Here, for example, a letter I received from the mother of an animal rights prisoner in the summer of 1998.

"On Wednesday...after 9 pm, six black clad riot squad officers armed with batons and shields kicked open X's cell door and ordered him to "Get up and follow us'. Dressed only in under shorts he asked if he might put on a shirt. This was refused and he was ordered not to speak but "follow in our footsteps' . He was taken to the segregation unit (punishment block). He remained there until 6 am on Thursday, still in under shorts. (He was) then given a track suit and taken from A to B and locked in the segregation unit without any of his property which to date remains at A. He is told his property will not be brought to him for a few weeks and so he sits in a punishment block for 23 hours a day without even toiletries, change of clothing or reading material etc. The reason he has been given for his punishment is that his girlfriend who was sexually abused by a female member of staff at A has taken legal advice. Do you understand the mentality of these brutes, Vernon? Although we have sent him money he has no opp ortunity to buy anything like stamps, stationery, food etc as he arrived too late for the prison shop which is open one day each week so he is totally isolated apart from guards with an attitude that would have embarrassed Hitler. "

Using recorded delivery I sent a copy of this letter to the Governor of the prison involved and asked for his comments.

Despite the specific nature of the letter, and the fact that I wrote for information as a columnist on a national newspaper with a readership in excess of six million British voters, the Governor of the prison told me that he was: "not prepared to comment on the individual circumstances of any prisoner".

Huge Police Presence

When I spoke at a rally (to protest about the Labour Party's failure to stand by its pre-election promises) in Trafalgar Square in August 1998 there was a huge police presence.

Immediately before the pro-animal rally at which I spoke there had been a religious rally on exactly the same spot. I didn't see any noticeable police presence for that. Are the authorities really saying that there is no link between religion and violence?

(I mentioned this anomaly, when I spoke in Trafalgar Square, and received a letter telling me off for having dared to suggest that there is any link between religion and violence. I wrote back pointing out that I was personally aware of approximately forty wars currently going on in different parts of the world as a result of religious conflict. I added that as far as I was aware pro-animal campaigners have not been responsible for any wars.)

Censorship? Repression?

Power has corrupted our politicians in extraordinary ways in recent years but the Labour government's crude and roughshod ride over our traditional right to freedom of speech is perhaps the most extraordinary and flagrant example of corruption I have yet come across. The Labour Party has accepted the aged and evil trinity of lies, dirty tricks and censorship with open arms.

On July 10th 1998 I travelled to Witney, in Oxfordshire to speak at a protest organised by Save the Hillgrove Cats. (As I have mentioned earlier cats are bred at Hillgrove Farm to be sold to vivisectors). The area's other incidental claim to fame is that the Home Secretary, Jack Straw MP, who is perhaps not widely recognised as an ardent supporter of animal rights, has a home there.

My intention, when I arrived at Witney, was to talk about the Labour Party's failure to fulfil its pre-election promises. But unknown to me the local police had asked for an exclusion zone around the area.

The ban was authorised by Home Office Minister Alun Michael MP on Friday 10th July. The ban, which extended to a five mile radius around a point allegedly marked X on a map (I say allegedly because I couldn't find the point X on the map I was later sent) was made from 8.00 pm on Friday 10th July until 8.00 am on Monday 13th July 1998. But details of the ban were not released until 10 am the following day, Saturday 11th July, the day of the demonstration. This meant that for 14 hours a legal order was in existence without the public being aware of it.

The inevitable result was that thousands of pro-animal campaigners travelled to Oxfordshire unnecessarily. Police road blocks ensured that there were huge traffic jams and thousands of motorists were delayed and inconvenienced.

Why was the ban not announced until Saturday 11th July?

Some pro-animal campaigners have asked if this might have been because the authorities knew that this would maximise the disruption and inconvenience and create anger and confusion. Rightly or wrongly, somehave asked if it could be possible that the police wanted to annoy the public in order to create antagonism towards animal rights campaigners. Justifiably or not some wonder if the police may have suspected that many protestors would not be able to afford to attend a second demonstration.

I could not possibly comment on any of this conjecture but with an unannounced ban in place the organisers of the banned demonstration did, inevitably, have great difficulty in coordinating or controlling the crowds of pro-animal campaigners who arrived in the area. There were, subsequently, a few arrests in Oxford when disappointed campaigners went there to express their anger.

The West Oxfordshire District Council, and the Secretary of State at the Home Office who had made the order, are all elected individuals, acting on behalf of the public who gave them all the power they have. The police, who executed the order, are employed by the public to protect and serve the public. It seemed to me that the delay was both unnecessary and discourteous.

Others shared my view and I found no one who thought that the police had acted fairly or reasonably. Indeed, after hearing from me at least one Member of Parliament went so far as to ask the Home Office to explain why there was a delay between the authorisation of the exclusion zone and the announcement about it.

I issued a summons against Home Secretary Jack Straw for my train fare in my local small claims court. But I was told that I could not sue the Labour Home Secretary (who is apparently above the law) and that the government was applying to a Crown Court judge to have the action struck out.

In the hope and assumption that someone must be available to take responsibility for the decision to delay the announcement of the ban I then used the small claims court scheme to issue a summons against the Chief Constable of the local police force. I issued the summons at Barnstaple County Court because that is the court which is closest to my office. A Legal Adviser to the Thames Valley Police force then wrote to that court saying:

"We anticipate that this matter will now automatically be transferred to the Oxford County Court. We would be most grateful if that Court could be asked to list the matter for a preliminary appointment, in order that the District Judge can consider striking out the action under Order 13 Rule 5. It seems to us that this is a clear case where the particulars of the plaintiff's claim disclose no reasonable course of action. "

On 30th September 1998 I sent this letter to the Court Manager at Oxford County Court: "In support of my case against the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police I enclose the following items of evidence:

a] a copy of a press release from Thames Valley Police, dated 11th July 10 am. This shows that the five mile exclusion zone around Witney was granted by the Home Secretary on Friday July 10th – the day before the information was made public.

b] Proof of the expense incurred.

(If Thames Valley Police had released details of the five mile exclusion zone on Friday 10th July (when they received them) I would not have travelled to Oxford. It seems to me logical and just that the police be responsible for my train fare. It was their delay which led to my wasted journey. Since this is a small claims court claim I ask the court to consider written evidence in order to minimise costs and expedite a decision. I understand that this is in accordance with the philosophy of the small claims court scheme. I am very happy for this case to be considered by an arbitrator."

I subsequently received a letter from Oxford County Court thanking me for a letter I was not aware I had sent and telling me that the District Judge had directed that "the matter is to stay listed". (This presumably referred to the request from the police that the action be struck out.)

On the 20th October 1998, as instructed by the District Judge, I wrote to the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, explaining my case.

"My complaint, as I think you know, is an extremely simple one." I wrote. "On July 10th 1998 Alun Michael MP (a Minister at the Home Office) granted an application for a five mile exclusion zone around Hillgrove Farm under the Public Order Act. "

"You did not release the information about this ban to the press until 10 am the following day (11th July). (See the enclosed press release – dated by Thames Valley Police). "

"I travelled to Oxford to speak at the rally about the government's failure to fulfil pre-election promises. The ban meant that my journey was wasted. If I had known on Friday the 10th July that the meeting had been banned I would not have made the journey. My second piece of evidence confirms the details of my travelling expenses. "

"My claim is simple but, I think, important. If you had released the information about the ban when it was available to you I would have not have made a wasted journey. (The release was reported on radio and in newspapers. I have absolutely no doubt that if it had been made public on Friday 10th July I would have heard about it. I study Ceefax/Teletext and listen to news bulletins regularly and even if I had missed the news myself I would have been told about it either by people in Oxford or by the news desk of the national newspaper for which I write a column which knew I was attending the event. I heard about the release on Saturday 11th July (by telephone) within minutes of it being made public even though I had just arrived at the railway station in Oxford at the time. "

"I have received no explanation as to why there was a delay and I cannot think of any such explanation."

The case was heard before District Judge Payne, sitting at Oxford Combined Court Centre in Oxford on 7th December 1998. Judge Payne ordered that my claim be struck out and that I should pay the defendant's costs "in the sum of £150'.

The Judge explained that the Court considered that: "such costs have been occasioned by the Plaintiff's unreasonable conduct in issuing proceedings without any cause of action whatsoever."

In the end it seemed to me that justice, not I, was the loser in this at once both trivial but important case. No one has yet come up with an explanation as to why there was such a lengthy delay between the granting of the exclusion zone and the publicising of the ban.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this minor case was a discovery which I made as a result of my protests.

On 7th October 1998 Liberal MP Nick Harvey wrote to Paul Boeteng MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office at the Home Office, to ask why there had been a delay between the decision to authorise the exclusion zone at Hillgrove Farm and the announcement that this had happened.

Boeteng replied: "the decision as to whether or not to announce that such an Order has been made would be for the district council to make. There is no requirement under the Act for such an announcement to be made."

So, it seems that the police and the politicians have somehow acquired the power to stop British citizens moving freely around their own country – without any need to tell them that they cannot move around, or what restrictions exist. The police could, it seems to me from Boeteng's letter, quite legally obtain an exclusion Order, not tell anyone about the Order and then arrest any citizen who unwittingly breached the Order. I wonder if I am alone in finding all this rather reminiscent of Kafka's The Trial.

My complaint about what I still perceive to be a lack of courtesy shown to demonstrators is important but obviously not as important as the free speech issue. The unavoidable bottom line is that I was prevented from travelling on a public road, in my own time and at my own expense, to speak in a public place on a subject of public interest to innocent, law abiding citizens who had travelled in their own time and at their own expense to hear me speak.

My words would undoubtedly have embarrassed the government but were intended to help save human and animal lives. I was prevented from travelling to my destination because I am opposed to pointless cruelty to animals and I intended to criticise the government for failing to fulfil its clear, pre-election promises. Motorists travelling to the site of the ban and who did not wish to criticise the government or protest about what happens at Hillgrove Farm were not prevented from travelling on that road or to the same destination.

If all this had happened in Chile or China the broadsheet editorial writers would have exploded with indignation. If it had happened in Russia in the 1960s there would have been much rattling of pens by politicians and academics. But it happened in England in 1998, in the leafy lanes of Oxfordshire, and to its eternal shame the British media was only interested in the fact that when a number of the several thousand people who had made pointless journeys travelled into Oxford there were some arrests.

When I subsequently tried to take legal action against the Home Secretary a press release was sent out by a news agency to every British newspaper. Not one of them printed it. Numerous Members of Parliament wrote to me saying that they agreed that there had been a fundamental breach of civil liberties but no government Minister apologised.

The Helicopter

On September 6th 1998 I returned to Witney. This time, as I had suspected, there was no ban. I had written to every MP in Britain to complain about the government banning my attempt to criticise it in public and many MPs had written to the Home Office to complain. I suspect that the government didn't know whether it was more embarrassed by the criticism of its failure to fulfil pre-election promises, or by the fact that its ruthless suppression of my freedom to speak out had becomeknown to MPs of all parties.

But when I spoke at Witney a police helicopter hovered right overhead and, despite an excellent loudspeaker system, the noise made it difficult for those at the back of the crowd to hear what I was saying. Many of those in the audience noticed that the helicopter was not present before I started to speak and that it disappeared shortly after I stopped speaking.

Absurd Attitude

The absurdity of the attitude of the police (and supporting evidence for my contention that politicians are targetting pro-animal campaigners) is in my view well illustrated by the fact that shortly after the Home Office had given the police authority to ban the pro-animal demonstration in Oxfordshire the police in the Midlands did not ban an event, due to take place a few weeks later at Long Marston, Stratford, even though they claimed they knew that a violent attack could happen.

"There is currently a serious and on going feud between Hells Angels and the Outcasts – a separate motor cycle group – and elsewhere in the country there have been incidents of murder and discovery of firearms and explosive devices which may be linked to this feud," said the Warwickshire constabulary in a press release. "Very recently information has been received that a violent attack between rival gangs could happen at Bulldog Bash, possibly using explosives."

The police in Warwickshire announced that they were concerned for the safety of the public during the event and had made a formal request to the Hells Angels to cancel the event. The Hells Angels refused to accede to this request and so the event went ahead.

Some might find it difficult to understand how the Home Office could excuse granting a police ban in Oxfordshire – given that nowhere in the world has anyone ever been killed by an animal rights protestor – but allow the allegedly potentially dangerous Hells Angels event to go ahead in Warwickshire.

But, of course, I very much doubt if the Hells Angels event was likely to involve active criticism of the government.

"It is the strength of a democracy that an individual can attack the government," admitted Alun Michael MP, the Home Office Minister who gave consent for the Order prohibiting a trespassory assembly at Witney in July 1998. (The Home Office used Section 14A of the Public Order Act 1986, which was introduced by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.)

The Truth Is Simple

It seems to me that the truth is simple: pro-animal campaigners are dangerous to the status quo, and to the influential animal abusers who make big profits. I believe the police turn out in huge numbers not because they honestly expect much trouble but simply to try to stop animal rights protests. I suspect the authorities are frightened of long term financial losses rather than short term civil disorder.

The police are mere pawns in the hands of politicians who are themselves controlled by civil servants who are bullied and bribed by industry.

It was, I think, Lenin who wrote that: "to find the culprit see who gains".

In practice I believe that the police in Britain today are being used as though they were the Labour Party's private security force – hired to protect its paymasters.

You and I pay the wages of the police. But the politicians use the police to protect the interests of corporations which have absolutely no interest in our health or welfare. The police in Britain today are protecting evil doers and a corrupt regime just as surely as the police who worked for the white supremacists in South Africa were protecting evil doers and a corrupt regime. Protecting those who abuse animals is little different to protecting those who want to perpetuate apartheid. I believe that the policemen and women who line up to confront pro-animal campaigners are guilty of serious crimes against society, humanity and decency.

Because the average policeman may no be particularly intelligent or well informed and may, indeed, be little more than an authorised thug, there is a tendency for him (or her) to take advantage of the contrived confrontational situation to 'have a bit of fun' and 'break a few heads'. No one seems to make any effort to restrain the police from acting in a wholly insensitive, inappropriate and violent manner. It is my view that far too many policemen and women turn up at pro-animal rallies looking for trouble and action.

Death Threats

As a footnote to all this I think it is worth repeating that I have received many death threats from animal abusers.

In one neatly typed letter the writer (who gave a false name and address) explained in precise and demented detail what would happen to me unless I gave up my campaign to stop scientists performing experiments on animals. The envelope in which the threat arrived also contained a death benefits policy on my life which had been completed with all the appropriate details.

I received a letter from Malta in which the writer told me that he and some fellow hunters had hired a hit man to kill me. I sent the letter to the police who asked Interpol to investigate. The police eventually wrote back to tell me that they had not been able to identify the sender of the letter.

At no point was I ever offered police protection. (Nor did I ask for it.) I suspect that if I had been an animal abuser I might have been offered round the clock protection.

The Police As Enemy

The end result of all this is that many people who care about others, who are passionate and kind and sensitive and who want to improve the world in which they live, now regard the police as the enemy. This is sad, dangerous and disturbing. The fact that sane, sensible taxpayers are frightened of the police says more about the police than about the taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the process of marginalisation and misrepresentation continues, with politicians using the police and the media to make the general public believe that those protesting on behalf of animals are dangerous, deluded misfits who love animals more than people.

Controlling The Citizens

governments have for years now used the drugs war to control their citizens. Fighting drug use has been their constant excuse for spending more money on policing and removing freedom and privacy.

Because they could not use the drugs war excuse to control the internet our politicians devised a new excuse: pornography. And when it became clear that pornography alone was not regarded as a serious enough threat to the survival of the free world the politicians came up with the threat of child pornography. They are now using paedophilia as an excuse for policing computer networks worldwide. (The real irony is that the internet – now regarded by many as a tool for freedom – was originally invented by the US military in case a major nuclear war took out their central military bases.)

Most sensible, Coronation Street viewing, comfortably double glazed citizens used to respond in Pavlovian fashion to talk of government conspiracies and of powerful lobbyists and pressure groups controlling our lives. Conspiracies, they used to think, were part of that world which is populated by people who believe in flying saucers, telepathy, bending spoons and kidnapping by aliens.

But much of that scepticism disappeared when Princess Diana died.

Since then poll after poll has shown that the vast majority of ordinary people believe that Diana was killed. They don't know whether she was killed because she might have been about to marry a Moslem or because of her campaign to ban land mines. But they believe that she was killed and they believe that the British government probably ordered the killing.

Psychiatrists who examined Theodore Kaczynksi (the US Unabomber) said he was convinced: "that every aspect of his existence is controlled by an omnipotent organisation against which he is powerless". The psychiatrists described him as "deeply delusional, paranoid schizophrenic".

But although Kaczynski's response may be described as extreme and anti-social who can argue that his analysis of his condition was not completely accurate?

The Deliberate Marginalisation Of Pro-Animal Campaigners

Politicians in the Soviet Union, the United States of America, Europe and just about everywhere else have for many years dealt with their opponents by 'marginalising' them – or pushing them outside the rest of society by simplifying and falsifying the issues and the facts. Politicians in Britain use this technique in order to control and minimise the effect of those who oppose them, and who might be considered a threat.

The animal abusers (and their supporters) use the media and the police to keep pro-animal campaigners constantly on the defensive, to suppress their views and to push them to the very edges of our society.

Marginalisation is not a new technique. It was used with great effect in the 1930s in the US where steel firm bosses were having a great deal of difficulty with striking steelworkers. Having found that breaking heads and bones tended to antagonise the public, the steel bosses decided to use the media as a subtle alternative. The argument they used was that strikes (and strikers) were hurting everyone. Union activity was equated with communism. Newspapers were used to tell ordinary citizens that the strikers were damaging their future, their children and their country. "Striking is un-American', said the bosses, in what was probably the first sound-bite in history.

The simple but extremely effective technique of marginalisation – which usually relies on triggering an instinctive or emotional response – is used by governments whenever they are at war. Anyone who speaks out against any sort of military conflict will quickly be attacked as being 'against our troops' and 'putting our boys lives in danger'.

During the Gulf War anyone who complained that the war was only being fought to help keep down the price of oil was accused of 'endangering our troops' and of being 'unpatriotic'. Instead of attempting to explain or justify the war the politicians produced and stuck with simple slogans such as 'support our troops'. The electors were not given a chance to discuss the war and anyone who dared to point out that modern wars do seem to break out at convenient times for politicians (when an election is due, when there has been a dip in the polls or when a scandal is breaking) was quickly marginalised as 'unpatriotic'.

The British and the American governments were not the only ones to use marginalisation to good effect during the Gulf War; the Kuwaitis are alleged to have hired public relations experts to spread rumours about the terrible things done by the Iraqis.

Anyone who promotes gay rights will be marginalised as being 'opposed to family values' and "trying to corrupt the young'. And anyone who speaks out against the war on drugs will be attacked for supporting drug use. (A few years ago I wrote a book called The Drugs Myth in which I explained in some detail why the drugs war has not worked, does not work and will not work and why the decriminalisation of illegal drugs would result in less drug use and fewer deaths. I was, inevitably, attacked with some venom by many who didn't bother to read the evidence which I had compiled – but merely attacked me for daring to oppose the officially accepted theory that the only way to reduce drug use is to wage war on the streets. I was, said my critics, obviously keen to see more young people taking drugs!)

Marginalisation claims and accusations work by turning the rest of the community against the targeted individuals or groups. Protesters and dissidents are made to feel alone; members of a tiny, out of step and insignificant minority. (It is, incidentally, for this reason that politicians and the police – and the controlled areas of the media – usually under-estimate the number of people taking part in a demonstration or public protest.)

'Demonising'

Pro-animal campaigners are marginalised in a number of ways.

The simplest technique used is to 'demonise' pro-animal campaigners by branding all animal lovers and activists as 'violent'. The very word 'activist' is now used in a derogatory way and people have been encouraged to be wary of anyone described as an 'activist'.(I have used the word 'demonise' because it seems appropriate. Journalists who are given the job of trying to make someone seem mad, bad and dangerous – whatever the truth – often describe the technique as 'monstering'.)

Although I have never taken part in or supported any violent activity (and have, indeed, frequently opposed violence and called for animal rights to be won through peaceful means) I have been frequently (and entirely inaccurately and dishonestly) accused of supporting violence. Attempts have, in this (and other ways), been made to marginalise me and reduce the level of any public support I might win through books, articles, broadcasts or speeches.

Marginalising pro-animal campaigners in this way is, of course, rather ironic since most people who care about animals do so because they are peaceful, gentle and sensitive individuals who find it difficult to accept the cruel way in which animals are so often treated. It is, however, for this reason that politicians make sure that pro-animal demonstrations are attended by vast numbers of police officers – often dressed in full riot gear and supported by anti-terrorist style vehicles and helicopters. I do not believe that the police are there because there is any genuine danger of violence. I believe they are there because it serves the politicians' purpose for pro-animal campaigners to be marginalised as violent. The police have been described by one campaigner, as being: "the security guards for institutionalised cruelty". They are more than that; they are an essential part of the marginalisation process.

Total Nonsense

Perhaps the most potent technique used by the opponents of pro-animal campaigners is to claim that anyone who protests on behalf of animals must automatically love animals more than he or she loves people. This is, of course, a total nonsense and anyone who has studied history will know that just about every individual who has campaigned on behalf of animals has also campaigned on behalf of people – and that the vast majority of those who have campaigned on behalf of (and genuinely cared about) people have also campaigned on behalf of animals.

Those who care about animals care because they are sensitive and caring individuals. It is a nonsense to suggest that they might care exclusively about members of another species. But those who use this particular marginalisation technique know that if they say something often enough, and firmly enough, many people will eventually believe them.

The technique is sometimes used with clever (but exceptionally cruel and unjust) refinements. For example, the individual who wishes to marginalise pro-animal campaigners will produce a child, or a photograph of a child, whom they claim has been 'saved' in some way as a result of animal experiments. The implication (which is usually spelt out in precise and heart warming detail) is that the pro-animal campaigner would rather save a rat, a mouse or indeed any animal than save the named child's life. Indeed, it is by no means unknown for the animal abuse supporter to claim that the pro-animal campaigner doesn't care if this (and other) children die. This technique has the added advantage for the animal abuser that while marginalising and brutalising the image of the pro-animal campaigner it also spreads the entirely false and discredited notion that there is a link between animal experiments and saving human lives.

Anyone who dares to oppose animal abuse must expect to be marginalised and demonised (or monstered). I have seen animal abusers claim that individuals who protest on behalf of animals are all dangerous lunatics who are out to overthrow our stable society and will ally themselves with any cause which is a threat to the status quo. I have even seen it said that people who campaign on behalf of animals do not themselves particularly like animals, but have chosen to join the animal rights cause in the absence of any other cause to support. (The argument here is that our society is so perfect that protesting on behalf of animals is the only thing left for those who are irrational and alienated.)

Sticks And Stones (And Petrol Bombs)

In his annual report for 1997-8 the Thames Valley police force Chief Constable Charles Pollard wrote about Hillgrove Farm, a cattery in Oxfordshire which, he said, had become: "a target for demonstrations against breeding animals for experimentation."

"Many of those who protest wish to do so peacefully and legally," wrote Pollard, "but, as with so many other demonstrations in recent years, their good intentions are often lost as rallies are hijacked by those who are indifferent to the law: criminals who hurl rocks and petrol bombs at police officers – and police horses – and who appear to have no respect for people, property or, indeed, the animals they claim they are protecting."

An opponent of vivisection wrote to Pollard to ask him if police officers and their horses on duty at Hillgrove really had ever been subjected to petrol bomb attacks.

"I accept that the reference to the use of petrol bombs specifically against police officers and horses is inaccurate," replied Pollard. "Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention."

In January 1999 I wrote to Pollard saying: "In a letter written last October you admitted that your reference to the use of petrol bombs against police officers and horses (in your Annual Report for 1997-8 was untrue. Do you intend to publish a correction and apology in your next annual report?"

I received a reply, on Pollard's behalf, from Inspector Georgina Perkins. She wrote: "The next annual report will be repared at the end of the current financial year for publication in July. Due consideration will be given to all feedback and correspondence received following last year's report, and any information published in error will be rectified."

I wrote back, once again asking Pollard whether he intended to publish a correction and apology in his next annual report. I also asked him why the inaccurate allegation had been made in the first place.

This time the Chief Constable replied saying: "This was a genuine error, regrettably not picked up prior to publication."

And I am delighted to say that Mr Pollard confirmed that he would: "be happy to apologise" in his next annual report.

(Incidentally, I was a little surprised at Pollard's use of the word 'rocks'. I would have expected the word 'stones' The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary definition of rock is: "a large rugged mass of stone forming a cliff, crag or natural prominence on land or in the sea". I find it difficult to conjure up a picture of small children and little old ladies hurling crags or natural prominences at police officers.)

The same reader who had written to Pollard also complained to me that when he wrote to the Labour Home Secretary, Jack Straw MP, objecting to Straw's description of animal rights campaigners as 'terrorists' in a House of Commons speech, he received a reply from the Home Office Organised and International Crime Directorate.

"Animal welfare campaigners I have met," wrote my reader, "have been far from organised, have no international connections and, so far as I am aware, are not criminals. Is it significant that we who campaign on behalf of innocent animals are deemed to be suitable subjects for the attention of such a government department? Does this reflect the government attitude to us?"

Part Five:

The Big Picture

"The cause of each and all of the evils that afflict the world is the same – the general lack of humanity, the lack of the knowledge that all sentient life is akin, and that he who injures a fellow being is in fact doing injury to himself. "

Henry Salt

Chapter One:

The Great Betrayals

The way that the abuse of animals continues, and is defended, is but a single vital illustration of what is wrong with our society. The politicians have not just betrayed those who love and care for animals: they have betrayed every citizen in many different ways.

Betrayal has become a habit among politicians and the government's betrayal of pro-animal campaigners (and of animals themselves) is simply the visible tip of a very large iceberg. Politicians don't care about animals (and they don't listen to the people who do care). But they don't care about people either (and once again they don't listen to the people who care). Alliances between politicians, big business and the media threaten us all in many different ways.

For the sake of brevity I have chosen to deal here with but a few of the ways in which the government has protected the interests of big industry at the expense of the people who put it in power.

There are some who might find it strange that the government seems to take little or no interest in improving the health, welfare and happiness of its citizens.

But, in the harsh world of politics and economics, this is not as crazy as it might sound.

Politicians are desperately concerned about the increase in the size of the elderly population. They do not want more people living to a ripe old age – because people who live to a ripe old age tend to be a 'drag' on the economy. They do not produce but, instead, demand to be given pensions.

Politicians have a vested interest in making sure that their citizens do not live too long. Politicians deliberately ignore the facts about food and health – and often take action which they know will result in millions of people dying prematurely.

If you feel sceptical about this claim let me just remind you that although politicians have made no attempts to improve our drinking water supplies (I believe that drinking water in Britain is now often not fit for drinking), have done nothing to stop big companies polluting food supplies with chemicals (despite the evidence linking chemicals in foods with cancer) and have allowed big companies to produce and sell genetically engineered food (when there is no evidence that these foods are safe to eat) those same politicians, when eating in the House of Commons restaurants, consume organic food that has not been genetically engineered and they drink bottled spring water rather than the stuff that comes out of the tap.

Honour And Politics

When I was very, very small and believed in fairies and Father Christmas I used to think that the government was made up of clever and compassionate men and women who were dedicated to looking after us all.

I am still prepared to believe in fairies and Father Christmas but I have long since grown out of my pitifully naive notion that the men and women in London who run the country are using the money we give them to make our world a better, safer place.

Tony Blair's Labour government has shown, with a veritable catalogue of broken promises and misleading statements, that the words 'honour' and 'politics' no longer fit comfortably into the same sentence.

The British Labour Party's betrayal of its supporters is nothing new. Throughout the world socialist groups have often promised much for animals – but always failed to deliver. In Britain the Labour Party has, over many decades, consistently failed to support attempts to improve the lot of animals – and has consistently broken promises in order to avoid upsetting influential minorities. The Labour Party's post war administration ignored calls from its members for a ban on hunting. The Labour Party of the late 1990s has ignored the will of the people and their elected representatives with a breathtaking arrogance.

The men and women in London may be clever but they are certainly not compassionate. And they have but one aim in life: to remain in power. It is said that when the Labour Party came into power in 1997 their first act was to start thinking about how to win the next election in five years time.

Before the 1997 election numerous Labour politicians spoke out on animal welfare and animal rights issues. I spoke on public platforms with many of them. But after Labour failed to keep its pre-election promises those MPs fell strangely silent. I wrote to some of them when it became clear that the Labour Party was breaking its pre-election promises. I asked if they felt let down (or even embarrassed) by the government's failure to stick to the promises which helped it win power. I did not receive a single reply.

If you think I'm being unduly cynical just look at the various responsibilities held by the government – and the way the government deals with those responsibilities.

First, and perhaps most important of all, it is the government's job to defend the nation's health and to make sure that people who fall sick are well looked after.

But in practice the government does far more to help defend the drugs industry than it does to help patients.

What other explanation could there be for the fact that drug company profits remain high while the NHS is being bled to death? How else do you explain the fact that drug companies are allowed to sell drugs which so often turn out to be neither safe or effective?

If the government really wanted to keep people healthy they would fight hard to stop the sale of tobacco – still a major cause of illness and death. But in practice the government has opposed a proposed ban on tobacco advertising

Modern politicians seem to have absolutely no sense of shame. For them hypocrisy is a way of life. Honesty and responsibility are alien concepts to moders politicians. Did you know, for example, that although European governments force tobacco companies to publish health warnings on cigarette packs and advertisements, they still give massive subsidies to tobacco farmers?

Ten years ago, in my book The Health Scandal I revealed that the European Economic Community's Agricultural Policy was handing over $667 million a year in subsidies to tobacco farmers. Today the subsidy has grown to $1,100 million a year or approximately $3 million a day – far, far more than governments spend on programmes designed to help people stop smoking.

The result is that the tobacco plant is today the most highly subsidised cultivated plant in the European union, with tobacco growers guaranteed a minimum income per kilogram of tobacco. There are now countries in the EU where farmers have given up planting wheat and started growing tobacco because the subsidies mean that they can earn more money. ubsidies mean that tobacco farmers receive five times the price they could receive on the open market.

The real irony in all this is the fact that European farmers grow tobacco plants with such a high tar content that the product cannot be sold on the European market. The tar rich tobacco products grown in Europe are exported to Eastern Europe or North Africa at giveaway prices. European cigarettes are manufactured from tobacco which is imported. But European subsidies must help keep down the world price of tobacco.

Every taxpaying citizen in Europe is helping to support the world's richest and most successful industry of addiction. Taxpayers' money is used to subsidise tobacco growing farmers and it is used to pay for the health problems caused by tobacco consumption.

The end result of all this is that despite everything we know about the dangers of tobacco, smoking is not becoming less fashionable. Astonishingly 42% of men and 28% of women still smoke in the European Union. And for the tobacco companies the future looks rosy since smoking is now increasingly popular among 11 to 15 year olds. Every time I walk through a European town or city I am horrified at the number of young girls smoking cigarettes.

Subsidising the production of tobacco isn't the only way in which the British government seems to be deliberately trying to kill its citizens. If the government wanted to cut the cancer rate in the UK it would encourage people to cut their intake of fat and to stop eating meat – both known causes of cancer.

But instead of discouraging the consumption of fat and meat the government does everything it can to help farmers breed and slaughter more fat filled animals.

Next, look at the world of 'defence'.

It is the government's job to defend us all from outside aggressors. We have a navy, an army and an airforce and the sailors, soldiers and airmen have lots of boats, guns and planes to play with. Naturally, the government encourages British industry to make many of the boats, guns and planes which are required.

But the politicians aren't satisfied with our making enough guns and boats and planes for our own armed forces. The politicians and the civil servants encourage our arms industry to make guns, boats and planes to sell to other peoples armies.

Now, maybe I've missed something here but if the idea of making weapons is to enable us to defend ourselves against possible aggressors isn't it just a teeny, weeny bit stupid to sell weapons to people who might turn out to be our aggressors?

Well, of course it's stupid. And it certainly isn't in our long term interests. But international arms sales are in the short term interest of the big companies which make all the guns and boats and planes, and the toxic nerve gases, and the land mines which are made of plastic so that the bits and pieces of shrapnel which end up inside human victims do not show up on X rays, and the fiendishly clever land mines which are specially designed to blow the legs off little children who happen to tread on them by mistake. (The theory behind this is that when children are injured parents, grandparents and other relatives become demoralised. "What did you do today, daddy?" "Well, my little darling, I sold some really horrid nerve gas which makes men and women and little children vomit and have fits." "Oh, daddy you are clever." "That's nothing my little one! I sold another huge load of really clever mines which will blow lots of lovely little boys and girls like you into bloody pieces small enough to go through a basketball hoop!" "Oh, how wonderful you are, daddy! I'm so proud of you.")

The Ministry of Defence should be renamed the Ministry of Making Money Through Selling Things That Kill.

Second only to its own survival the government's aim is to keep businessmen happy. Politicians know that big businesses pay lots of tax, pay contributions to political parties and, if they have strong media connections, decide who gets voted into power at the next election.

The real tragedy is that I don't think any of our existing political parties will ever make any difference at all to this sorry, savage state of affairs.

When the Labour Party roared into power in May 1997 Tony Blair and his colleagues were among the most popular politicians Britain had ever seen. Blair was, for a while, the most popular Prime Minister of modern times and had the highest personal rating of any Prime Minister since polling began in Britain back in the 1940s.

But by September 1998 the electorate had realised the truth: the Labour government consists of just another bunch of ambitious self serving politicians, unconcerned about anything but their own status and success. Many of the voters had realised that Blair was no more honest than other politicians. Numerous people were beginning to regard him as arrogant. The number believing he understood the voters was falling sharply.

The nation's politicians and civil servants are not selfless, dedicated people striving to protect the people of the nation. Expecting today's politicians to be honest and fair is like expecting the average second hand car dealer or estate agent to tell you the truth and look after you.

We live in a corrupt, disgusting, dirty world. And for that we can be grateful to the politicians and the civil servants who daily abuse the power we have given them.

Not Just About Animals

So far this book has been largely about animals. I have written about the way animals are mis-treated in our society and the way that our politicians have broken their promises to improve the way animals are treated.

But it is vitally important to remember that it isn't just animals who are abused and it isn't just animals who have been betrayed.

The ruthlessness, callousness and brutal insensitivity with which those who are in superficial control of our society treat animals are also apparent in the way that those same people deal with issues which have an effect on human beings.

Time and time again Labour Party politicians have made it abundantly clear that their primary loyalty is to powerful big business (in its many and varied forms) rather than people. The Department of Health exists not to protect the health of the ordinary citizen but to pander to the whims of the mega rich international pharmaceutical industry. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries exists not to ensure that citizens can purchase good, wholesome food but to defend and protect the interests of farmers, food manufacturers and food distributors. And the Ministry of Defence is, of course, very little more than a marketing department for the arms industry.

Politicians Have Allowed Modern Medicine To Become A Major Health Hazard

Doctors and drug companies have for some time excused their errors and successfully distracted attention away from their incompetence by arguing that their efforts have resulted in a consistent and impressive improvement in life expectancy during the last century or so.

The truth, however, is very different. The medical profession and the drug companies are guilty of a confidence trick of gargantuan proportions. During the last century doctors and drug companies have become louder, more aggressive, a good deal richer and far more powerful but life expectancy has not gone up.

Improved sanitation facilities have meant that the number of babies dying – and the number of women dying in childbirth – have fallen dramatically, and this has had an apparent (but misleading) effect on life expectancy. For adults life expectation has not risen noticeably.

To prove my point I prepared a list of 111 famous individuals – all of whom lived and died before the start of this century. I then checked to see how old these individuals were when they died. I'm printing the list below because it illustrates the point I'm making – and it is an important point. The results prove my argument: life expectation (now between 70 and 75 years in developed countries) has not risen appreciably during the last century. You may find it illuminating to think of any other individuals who died before the start of this century – and to then check up to see how old they were when they died.

Andersen, Hans Christian. Died 1875 aged 70 years.

Aristotle. Died 322 BC aged 62 years.

Attila the Hun. Died in 453 BC aged 47 years.

Audubon, John. Died in 1851 aged 66 years.

Augustine, St Aurelius. Died in 430 aged 76 years.

Bach, JS. Died in 1750 aged 65 years.

Beethoven, Ludwig van. Died in 1827 aged 57 years.

Bentham, Jeremy. Died in 1832 aged 84 years.

Berlioz, Hector. Died in 1869 aged 66 years.

Bernini, Gian. Died in 1680 aged 82 years.

Bizet, Georges. Died in 1875 aged 37 years.

Blackmore RD. Died 1900 aged 75 years.

Blake, William. Died 1827 aged 70 years.

Botticelli, Sandro. Died in 1510 aged 66 years.

Brahms, Johannes. Died in 1833 aged 63 years.

Browning, Robert. Died 1889 aged 77 years.

Bruckner, Anton. Died 1896 aged 72 years.

Brummell, Beau. Died in 1840 aged 61 years.

Brunelleschi, Filippo. Died 1446 aged 69 years.

Canaletto. Died 1768 aged 71 years.

Cardigan, James , 7th Earl of. Died 1868 aged 71 years.

Carroll, Lewis. Died 1898 aged 66 years.

Casanova, Giovanni. Died 1798 aged 73 years.

Catherine the Great. Died in 1796 aged 67 years.

Charlemagne, (Charles the Great). Died 814 aged 67 yrs.

Charles 11. Died 1685 aged 55 years.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Died in 1400 aged 60 years.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Died 1834 aged 62 years.

Confucius. Died 479 BC aged 72 years.

Constable, John. Died in 1837 aged 60 years.

Copernicus, Nicolaus. Died in 1543 aged 70 years.

da Vinci, Leonardo. Died 1519 aged 67 years.

Daimler, Gottlieb. Died in 1900 aged 66 years.

Darwin, Charles. Died in 1882 aged 73 years.

de Cervantes, Miguel. Died in 1616 aged 69 years.

de Sade, Marquis. Died in 1814 aged 74 years.

Defoe, Daniel. Died in 1731 aged 71 years.

Dickens, Charles. Died in 1870 aged 58 years.

Disraeli, Benjamin. Died in 1881 aged 76 years.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Died 1881 aged 60 years.

Dryden, John. Died 1700 aged 69 years.

Dumas, Alexandre. Died 1870 aged 68 years.

Eliot, George. (Marian Evans) Died 1880 aged 61.

Elizabeth 1. Died in 1603 aged 70 years.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Died 1882 aged 79 years.

Engels, Friedrich. Died 1895 aged 75 years.

Epicurus. Died 271 BC aged 70 years.

Euripides. Died in 406 BC aged 78 years.

Francis of Assisi. Died 1226 aged 45 years.

Franklin, Benjamin. Died 1790 aged 84 years.

Galilei, Galileo. Died 1642 aged 78 years.

Garibaldi, Giuseppe. Died 1882 aged 75 years.

George 111. Died in 1820 aged 81 years.

Gladstone, William. Died in 1898 aged 88 years.

Goethe, Johann Wolfganag von. Died 1832 aged 83 years.

Gounod, Charles. Died 1883 aged 65 years.

Greco, El. Died 1614 aged 73 years.

Grimm, Wilhelm. Died 1859 aged 73 years.

Grimm, Jacob. Died 1863 aged 78 years.

Handel, George. Died 1759 aged 74 years.

Hansard, Luke. Died 1828 aged 76 years.

Haydn, Franz Joseph. Died in 1809 aged 77 years.

Henry V111. Died in 1547 aged 56 years.

Herod, the Great. Died 4BC aged 70 years.

Hippocrates. Died in 377 BC aged 83 years.

Hobbes, Thomas. Died 1679 aged 91 years.

Hogarth, William. Died in 1764 aged 67 years.

Humboldt, Alexander Baron von. Died 1859 aged 90 yrs.

Johnson, Samuel. Died in 1784 aged 75 years.

Jones, Inigo. Died 1652 aged 79 years.

Kant, Immanuel. Died 1804 aged 80 years.

Khan, Ghengis. Died in 1227 aged 65 years.

Khayyam, Omar. Died in 1123 aged 73 years.

Kublai Khan. Died 1294 aged 80 years.

Liszt, Franz. Died 1886 aged 75 years.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Died 1882 aged 75 years.

Macintosh, Charles. Died 1843 aged 77 years.

Marx, Karl. Died 1883 aged 65 years.

Michelangelo. Died in 1564 aged 89 years.

Milton, John. Died 1674 aged 66 years.

Montefiore, Sir Moses. Died 1885 aged 101 years.

Monteverdi, Claudio. Died 1643 aged 76 years.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Died in 1791 aged 35 years.

Nash, John. Died 1835 aged 83 years.

Newton, Isaac. Died in 1727 aged 84 years.

Nobel, Alfred. Died in 1896 aged 63 years.

Nostradamus. Died 1566 aged 63 years.

Offenbach, Jacques. Died 1880 aged 61 years.

Palladio. Died 1580 aged 72 years.

Pepys, Samuel. Died 1703 aged 70 years.

Plato. Died c.348 BC aged 80 years.

Polo, Marco. Died 1324 aged 70 years.

Rousseau, Jean Jacques. Died 1778 aged 66 years.

Ruskin, John. Died in 1900 aged 80 years.

Sandwich, John Montagu, 4th Earl of. Died 1792 aged 74.

Shakespeare, William. Died in 1616 aged 52 years.

Sophocles. Died in 406 BC aged 90 years.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Died in 1896 aged 85 years.

Stradivari, Antonio. Died in 1737 aged 93 years.

Tennyson, Lord Alfred. Died 1892 aged 83 years.

Thackeray, William Makepeace. Died 1863 aged 52 years.

Titian. Died in 1576 aged 99 years.

Turner, Joseph. Died in 1851 aged 76 years.

Victor Hugo. Died 1885 aged 83 years.

Voltaire, Francois. Died 1778 aged 84 years.

Washington, George. Died in 1799 aged 67 years.

Watt, James. Died in 1819 aged 83 years.

Wesley, John. Died in 1791 aged 87 years.

Whitman, Walt. Died 1892 aged 73 years.

Wordsworth, William. Died 1850 aged 80 years.

Wren, Christopher. Died in 1723 aged 90 years.

There are 111 names on this list. The average age at death was: 72.39 years. And, on average, it is 433 years since these each of these individuals died.

The conclusion is simple: despite all the expensive razzmatazz of modern medicine, life expectation for individuals who have survived infancy has simply not increased in the last century or so. The biblical promise of three score years and ten has been fairly steady for centuries.

Doctors And Hospitals Should Carry A Health Warning

Back in the middle ages people were reluctant to go into hospital. They knew that they were unlikely to get out alive. Those patients who survived the incompetent ministrations of doctors and nurses were likely to die of infections contracted on the ward.

Things didn't get much better until well into this century when the discovery of anaesthetics, antiseptics and antibiotics gradually meant that patients going into hospital had a reasonable chance of benefiting from the experience.

But the good days are now over for modern medicine has again become a major hazard. And doctors are again one of the most significant causes of death and ill health.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association the overall incidence of serious Adverse Drug Reactions is now 6.7% and the incidence of fatal Adverse Drug Reactions is 0.32% of hospitalised patients. JAMA estimates that in 1994 alone 2,216,000 hospitalised patients in the US had serious Adverse Drug Reactions and 106,000 had fatal Adverse Drug Reactions. According to JAMA these figures mean that Adverse Drug Reactions are now between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death in the US. In compiling this data JAMA excluded errors in drug administration, noncompliance, overdose, drug abuse, therapeutic failures and possible Adverse Drug Reactions. Serious Adverse Drug Reactions were defined as those which required treatment in hospital, were permanently disabling or resulted in death.

Doctors now cause more serious illness than cancer or heart disease. One in six patients in hospital are there because they have been made ill by doctors. (If you want to see the evidence for this staggering but nevertheless entirely accurate assertion take a look at my book Betrayal of Trust which is published by the European Medical Journal.)

The inescapable conclusion is that today's doctors and nurses should carry a health hazard warning stamped on their foreheads. Each hospital should have a health warning notice hung over its entrance.

But our politicians – terrified of taking on the medicine 'industry' – have done nothing to try to improve the quality of care provided to patients. The politicians have bent over backwards to keep the drug industry happy. Successive governments have done nothing to protect patients.

Politicians Have Ignored The Danger Of Superbugs

By recklessly ignoring the problem of superbugs politicians have ignored a major threat to people in order to keep big companies happy.

The introduction of antibiotics, just half a century or so ago, and their subsequent development, led many people (including most doctors) to believe that infectious diseases had been defeated.

But during the last two decades simple, widespread infections have been striking back and once again re-establishing themselves as serious threats to our health – as serious as cancer and heart disease.

In 1952 virtually all infections caused by staphylococcus could be cured by penicillin. But by 1982 a frightening 90% of patients infected with the staphylococcus bug needed treatment with other antibiotics. Penicillin – the best known, cheapest and most widely available antibiotic in the world – no longer worked against staphylococcus. This had happened simply because the staphylococcus bug had become resistant to penicillin.

With its usual arrogance the medical profession assumed that it could always stay one step ahead of the bugs. What many doctors failed to realise was that yeasts, fungi and bacteria have been producing antibiotics more or less since time began. They use the antibiotics they make to protect themselves. Other yeasts, fungi and bacteria mutate naturally in order to protect themselves against the antibiotics. And they, in turn, produce their own antibiotics. Not realising what they were doing doctors were merely speeding up the whole process by spreading antibiotics around with reckless abandon.

By the mid 1980s it was already becoming clear that all this arrogance was misplaced. Strains of staphylococcus were appearing which were resistant to many other antibiotics – as well as penicillin. At first the new superbugs only caused problems within hospitals – where they caused many deaths among patients whose immune systems had been compromised by other diseases or by physical or mental stresses. It was in the US (where antibiotics had been particularly widely prescribed by doctors and abused by farmers in vast quantities) that many superbugs first started to appear.

(Farmers in Britain have also been major contributors to the antibiotic problem. More than half of all the antibiotics sold in the UK are given by farmers to healthy animals. I first wrote about this grossly irresponsible but profitable habit back in the 1970s but politicians have steadfastly refused to take on the farming community and ban the use of antibiotics in this way.)

By the early 1990s the staphylococcal superbugs were appearing inside and outside hospitals all around the world. The problem was so great that the extra costs incurred when doctors had to prescribe increasingly expensive antibiotics was beginning to add an enormous burden to all those responsible for providing health care facilities. In America the extra cost of dealing with antibiotic resistant organisms was, by the end of the 1980s, estimated at being in excess of $30 billion a year.

The staphylococcus bug is widespread and constantly being passed from one person to another. It also affects some mammalian pets. It is possible to pick up staphylococcus simply through a handshake. Most of the time the body's immune system deals with the bug fairly quickly and effectively. The staphylococcus only becomes a problem when it is picked up by a human being with a wound of some kind – or an immune system that is out of condition or already stretched so much that it cannot cope.

In order to try to stop staphylococcus bugs causing so many deaths in hospitals doctors started routinely giving antibiotics to all patients whom they thought might be at risk – this category naturally including all patients destined for surgery. The prescribing doctors either didn't realise or didn't care that by dishing out antibiotics so freely they were giving the bugs an ever greater chance of acquiring immunity.

Staphylococcus was not, of course, the only bug to become resistant. In 1990 doctors suddenly started to report the existence of antibiotic resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae – which were new enough and virulent enough to kill individuals with weakened immune systems. Leprosy, easily treated until the late 1970s, became a major problem again when a new, resistant type of the bacterium mycobacterium leprae appeared in Ethiopia. Gonorrhoea acquired worldwide resistance to penicillin and other drugs. By 1990 eight out of ten illnesses caused by shigella were resistant to antibiotics. Malaria, apparently almost under control in the 1950s, has become a major killer because of the drug resistant plasmodium falciparum parasites. Tuberculosis, still apparently regarded by many doctors as a disease of the 19th century, has come back with a vengeance with the development of a drug resistant strain.

Salmonella became a more or less untreatable disease in 1993 and now poses a serious health threat. According to the US Department of Agriculture 661,000 people are made ill every year by salmonella infected eggs. Of those around 400 die. The Department of Agriculture's original count was considerably higher. The figure of 661,000 was obtained after a recount. I don't have any figures I trust for any other country. In the UK. I certainly wouldn't trust any figures produced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. (The Labour government – which seems to be almost as terrified of farmers and the food industry as it is of drug companies – has consistently failed to introduce a Food Standards Agency to protect the quality of food sold in Britain and to ensure that the British people are given honest information about the food they eat.)

The big problem with salmonella bacteria is that some strains are already resistant to ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, sulphonamides and chloramphenicol. It won't be long before some salmonella bacteria are resistant to all known antibiotics. When that happens the death rate from salmonella will rocket.

Most salmonella antibiotic resistance develops on farms where half of all antibiotics produced are used. Naturally, the salmonella bacteria in chickens affect the flesh of the birds as well as their eggs. And the bacteria can easily spread from chicken flesh to other products.

My own considered view is that if you are an egg eating heterosexual and you don't mainline illegal drugs with dirty needles then you are probably more likely to contract and/or die of salmonella poisoning than you are to contract and/or die of AIDS.

Moreover, there seems little doubt that unless the mass use of antibiotics on farms is stopped then salmonella poisoning will pose a considerably greater threat to future generations of the human race than AIDS. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that governments will continue to spend billions on researching still fashionable AIDS but will not risk offending the rich farming lobby by suggesting that antibiotic use be reduced.

Every time you read about a hospital infection which cannot be controlled by antibiotics I think you should give thanks to the farmers. In Britain around 1,250 tonnes of antibiotics are used each year – and 60% of that staggering quantity is used on animals. Farmers use antibiotics to treat infections (which are far more common than they need be because of modern battery-farming techniques), to prevent infections developing (once again intensive farming techniques mean that the widespread use of antibiotics is considered essential – if one cow has an infection a vet will prescribe an antibiotic for the whole herd) and as growth boosters. I don't think anyone knows why but antibiotics increase the muscle bulk of animals – and therefore increase their value and the farmer's eventual profit. It was reported in 1998 that some 10,000 pig, poultry and beef farms in the UK were illicitly mixing antibiotics, which were meant to be used only in the treatment of infection, into their animals feed in order to promote growth. Animal waste, often containing active antibiotic residues, contaminates rivers and soil.

Throughout the early 1990s doctors in the developed world tried to combat new outbreaks of infectious disease by prescribing antibiotics in ever-increasing quantities. They also tried to protect patients against infection by prescribing antibiotics for healthy patients. Naturally enough the drug industry, which was making huge profits out of the sale of antibiotics, did not object. Politicians, constantly afraid of offending the drug companies, did everything they could to stifle protests by people like me who wrote about this problem and warned about the future consequences.

In the developing countries, where doctors were not always available, patients simply bought their own antibiotics. (Ironically – and in my view with considerable cheek – some observers in the so called developed world are now blaming the overuse of antibiotics in the developing world for the fact that new antibiotic resistant bugs are now a serious worldwide threat.)

Thanks to doctors, drug companies, farmers and politicians the future is truly bleak. Infectious diseases which we thought we had conquered are coming back with a vengeance. More and more people are dying of simple, uncomplicated infections. The bugs are getting stronger. And our ability to zap them is diminishing almost daily.

Scientists messing around with genes are making things considerably worse.

Our politicians are doing nothing this major problem – which affects every one of us. They do not want to annoy the drug companies, the companies using genetic engineering or the farmers.

In December 1998 the European Union proposed a ban on the use of some antibiotics by farmers. The British government said it would probably support such a ban but it was clear that any such move would probably prove pointless when drug companies said they would challenge a ban in the courts. A legal battle on such a complex issue would, with all the appropriate appeals, probably last for at least a decade.

In the end the EU announced with a great fanfare that it had banned farmers from using just four antibiotics. They did not introduce a general ban on the use of the tetracyclines and penicillins – the drugs which are most commonly used both on animals and for human patients.

Politicians Close Their Eyes To The Real Causes Of Cancer

Cancer is the major league killer of our age but successive governments have deliberately hidden the truth about how cancer is caused and have suppressed possible cancer cures. They have done this – coldbloodledly sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people – solely to protect the interests of a number of major industries.

When a government puts the wealth of a minority above the health of the majority it is fair to conclude that the government is no longer of the people or for the people but has abdicated all responsibility and forfeited the right to respect.

The most repressive, more prejudiced and most obscenely intolerant branch of the international medical industry is undoubtedly that part of it which claims to deal with cancer. Members of the cancer establishment are committed to supporting long established theories partly because they do not have the breadth of intelligence to cope with anything new, and partly because personal and professional jealousy makes them unwilling to acknowledge any genuinely new and creative ideas which might result in non establishment scientists acquiring public respect and honour. This small town mindset paradigm is made even more repressive by the fact that the cancer industry is now so huge that it requires vast amounts of money simply in order to stay alive. Since a good deal of that money comes from the drug industry (which is, not surprisingly, only interested in pharmacological solutions) the cancer industry's aims, methods and motives are now indistinguishable from the drug industry's aims, methods and motives. The drug industry has so much control over the private cancer charities (because it gives them money) that many private cancer charities seem almost exclusively interested in research that is likely to uncover drug-based cures. (How could a drug company ever make money out of a treatment programme that involved meditation or a change in diet?)

In addition to being the most intolerant the modern cancer industry must surely be the least successful branch of medical science ever to have existed. (In my view it is also probably the most corrupt and self serving. If the cancer industry ever accidentally hit upon a cure for cancer I honestly very much doubt if anyone would hear about it. Finding and publicising a cure for cancer would put the cancer industry employees out of business.)

In order to ensure that money continues to pour in the cancer industry must persuade potential contributors and supporters that it is making progress in the fight against cancer.

But despite the expenditure of billions of dollars on research the cancer industry has consistently and reliably failed to find any answers. Indeed, as has been well-documented, the incidence of cancer has been steadily increasing for decades. Chemotherapy does not work and has never worked for the cancers which kill nine out of ten cancer patients. Many patients given chemotherapy and classified as 'cured' go on to develop another cancer within a short period. The cancer establishment has insisted on sticking with radiotherapy and chemotherapy despite the fact that there is now so much evidence that these approaches do not work that even ordinary patients who have no idea that there are alternatives are turning them down; preferring to die quietly and in peace rather than to die of a painful and pointless treatment programme.

The mortality figures show that as many people (if not more) are dying from the commoner forms of cancer now as were dying a generation ago. One in three people already have, or will develop, cancer. And figures from around the world show that the picture is much the same everywhere.

In the US around $110 billion a year is spent on cancer research and treatment. That is more than ten per cent of the US's entire health care bill. But in the US, during the last fifteen years or so, the incidence of cancer has steadily risen as has the number of people dying of cancer.

Writing in the European Medical Journal Dr Jack Tropp pointed out that: "despite the billions of dollars spent each year for cancer research and treatment, using the traditional methods of choice: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, in the overall picture nothing has changed in the mortality rates in the last thirty five years."

The only people who benefit from the modern cancer industry are doctors, drug companies and the people who make radiotherapy equipment.

The effort, the money, and all the misguided hope and faith that has been poured into cancer research by the international cancer industry simply hasn't worked.

The cancer industry has failed because it has deliberately and cold bloodedly concentrated its efforts on the wrong targets. Millions of pounds have been spent on giving cancer to animals despite the fact that the evidence proves that animal experiments are a total waste of time (as well as being immoral).

We know what causes most forms of cancer. Cancer is created by chemical pollutants, by unhealthy, fatty, food and by tobacco. Poisoned water supplies, dangerous prescription drugs and the over use of X rays have also contributed to the incidence of cancer. With immune systems constantly battered by polluted air, adulterated and chemically impregnated food and a constant onslaught from the drugs we buy for ourselves, or allow our doctors to prescribe for us, it is not surprising that increasing numbers of people succumb to one of the many different types of cancer. Eight out of ten people who develop cancer could have been saved if money and effort had been put into prevention.

If I had the annual income the cancer industry enjoys I could turn cancer into a minority disease within five years.

But politicians have done nothing to spread the truth about how cancer can be prevented and avoided. Indeed, throughout the world, politicians have made sure that the modern cancer industry is protected by law. Bizarrely, in most western countries it is now actually illegal to offer a treatment for cancer that stands a chance of working. Even qualified doctors are only allowed to prescribe chemotherapy or radiotherapy or to send their patients for surgery – despite the fact that the evidence shows that these so-called 'therapies' frequently do more harm than good. The authorities relentlessly persecute those who offer new and possibly effective and non-toxic therapies (ignoring the wishes of patients who wish to try those therapies) while condoning, paying for and protecting by law therapies which are known to be often toxic and frequently ineffective.

It is bizarre to see the way that governments tell their citizens that vaccines are all safe, that beef is safe to eat and that chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for cancer. I suspect that most politicians would tell their citizens that hitting yourself on the head with a hammer was safe if the hammer industry told them to say this. It would be funny were it not so tragic.

Doctors who dare to offer patients new hope and new treatments are scorned, abused, persecuted, vilified, forced to go into hiding or threatened with imprisonment. I could fill pages with the names of honest, well meaning, caring doctors whose work with cancer patients has won them many followers among the sick and their relatives but has earned them nothing but trouble from the authorities.

The problems faced by the proponents of remedies not made by drug companies have been well documented. Anyone who dares to offer an unofficial remedy for cancer is accused of being simply out to make money. This accusation is, of course, never made about doctors or drug companies, whose work is all apparently done exclusively in the public interest.

The list of doctors who have been persecuted for offering non-orthodox cancer treatments (which often seem to work much better than anything offered by the official cancer industry) is as long as the list of alleged cancer 'cures' offered or promised by the cancer industry, which have been proven to be of no value, or quietly forgotten once those making the promises had acquired the grants they wanted.

In Britain it is illegal for anyone to claim to have a cure for cancer that is not approved by the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry. Countless cancer pioneers – including some of the brightest medical brains of the century – have been hounded out of the US and forced to open clinics elsewhere.

One district attorney who arrested successful alternative cancer clinic operator Harry Hoxsey over a hundred times within two years is said to have changed sides when his brother – allegedly suffering from terminal cancer – was successfully treated at a Hoxsey clinic. The FDA finally padlocked all 17 Hoxsey clinics on the same day and he was stopped from practising in the US.

Dr Max Gerson, the brilliant German physician who moved to the US and devised a fruit and vegetable juice based cancer treatment was rejected by the American cancer industry. Hoxsey and Gerson therapies are now available in Mexico.

With the wholehearted support of politicians being given to the cancer industry, rather than to the welfare of the people who put them in office, the war against cancer will continue to fail. Avoidable cancers will continue to become commoner and commoner and the establishment will continue to ensure that only the toxic (but highly profitable) alleged treatments of cancer which are produced by the pharmaceutical industry will be authorised by governments.

The Doomed Search For A Magic Bullet Cure

The cancer industry will not find the all powerful magic bullet cure for which it has been searching now for decades.

It will fail because it is wedded to an interventionist paradigm which depends upon treating the body as a battlefield and the disease as an enemy, and which is modelled upon the way that medicine was practised at the start of the twentieth century when the diseases which worried doctors most were those which were caused by infections (tuberculosis, smallpox, influenza, pneumonia, syphilis, cholera, typhoid fever and so on).

The incidence of these diseases fell to a certain extent at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and as a result the medical profession as a whole made two crucial and fundamental mistakes.

The first mistake was a retrospective one: it was to assume that the reduction in death rate from these diseases was a result of things which doctors had done. This was quite wrong. The reduction in the incidence of infectious diseases (and, more importantly, the reduction in the number of deaths from those diseases) was a result of better water supplies, better sewage facilities, better transport and better food. The man who invented the water closet saved far more lives than any dozen members of the medical establishment. Mortality rates from infectious diseases had fallen long before the introduction of vaccines and antibiotics (the two remedies favoured by the medical establishment).

As I have already shown life expectancy for adults has not risen much, if at all, in recent decades or even centuries. The improvement which has been made has been a result of better living conditions rather than better medicine.

The second fundamental mistake was a prospective one: it was to assume that the interventionist 'magic bullet' approach which appeared to have worked in the war against infectious disease would enable doctors to tackle all other health and life threatening diseases – including cancer. This was a pretty daft mistake to make because most modern killer diseases develop in a very different way to infectious diseases. People get heart disease because they eat too much of the wrong sort of food and not enough of the right sort of food, and because they take too little exercise. And people get cancer because they eat too much of the wrong sort of food and not enough of the right sort of food and because their bodies steadily become increasingly contaminated by toxic, carcinogenic chemicals.

One might have thought that some of the brighter members of the medical establishment might have realised that since modern killer diseases are plainly different to the infectious diseases it might be necessary to think up a different type of treatment approach. But that hasn't happened yet. And it is this error (no doubt encouraged and compounded by the affection of the medical profession for the money so generously distributed by the pharmaceutical industry) which has led researchers (and doctors) to experiment with increasingly toxic drugs (chemotherapy) in order to try and 'kill' cancer.

Chemotherapy has repeatedly failed. The medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry and the cancer industry are so desperate to hide this fact that they now probably consider it a success if the survival rate of patients who take chemotherapy actually matches the survival rate of patients who don't take chemotherapy.

The two most fundamental problems with chemotherapy are:

1. In order to kill the cancer cells (which are, after all, merely ordinary human cells which have got out of control) the drug must be so toxic that it inevitably causes a great deal of damage to other, healthy, cells. When chemotherapy is given by mouth (or by any other general, system route) the whole body may be affected – even though the drug is aimed only at one very specific site in the body. When chemotherapy fails to work (which it usually does) the doctors invariably respond by increasing the dose or making the chemotherapy even more toxic. The end result is that the chemotherapy may well kill the cancer cells but it will probably also kill the patient. (This helps to perpetuate the old medical comment about the treatment being a success but the patient dying.)

2. Even when chemotherapy (or radiotherapy) does succeed in apparently 'killing' a cancer (and doctors like to give themselves a decent chance at a good cure rate by claiming that any patient who survives an extremely modest five years has been cured) there is a considerable risk that the cancer will recur. When you stop and think about it this isn't difficult to understand for chemotherapy (or radiotherapy or surgery for that matter) does absolutely nothing to alter the circumstances which led to the cancer developing in the first place. When a cancer recurs it isn't necessarily because the surgeon, the radiotherapist or the physician prescribing the chemotherapy has failed to kill all the cancer cells (this is the excuse usually given by surgeons, radiotherapists and physicians and since I try to retain an open mind I will happily agree that it may sometimes be true) but because nothing in the body has changed. The circumstances which led to the development of a first cancer can just as easily lead to the development of a second cancer.

It is for this reason that one often hears of extremely unfortunate individuals who have developed two or even three cancers in separate organs.

However, here's an interesting observation which I bet you won't see plastered all over the official medical journals: twenty years ago when a group of leukaemia patients were treated by wiping out their own bone marrow and giving them bone marrow from a donor, the leukaemia returned in a number of the patients. But – and this is the fascinating bit – DNA checks showed that the new, second bout of leukaemia, consisted of cells which had belonged to the healthy donor. The patient's original bone marrow had all been removed and this time it was the donor's bone marrow which had turned into leukaemia cells.

It seems to me pretty clear from this that there must have been something within those patients' bodies which was turning healthy cells into cancer cells.

And the simple answer is that the cause of the cancer is inside the patient and is untouched by a treatment which simply attacks the cancer cells. It is because the cancer industry either fails to understand this (or doesn't want to believe it) that the cancer industry will never succeed in beating cancer.

All those billions of dollars being pumped into cancer research are being wasted because scientists and doctors insist on attacking an enemy they cannot see and do not understand.

The real problem for the cancer industry is that the real enemy isn't just invisible – it simply doesn't exist in the same way that smallpox, tuberculosis or influenza exist. The real problem, the real enemy which has to be confronted, is not a bunch of malignant cells but a weakened, toxin infiltrated body. And since cancer develops when a body is ill and weak it seems pretty obvious to me that the very last thing the body needs when it is ill is to be attacked with toxic chemicals.

(Ironically, some of the same huge multinational corporations which produce the toxic chemicals which weaken and damage the body and cause cancer to develop also sell the toxic chemicals which are prescribed as a 'cure'. This is the ultimate, exclusively self serving perpetual motion money machine.)

Alternative Cancer Remedies

There are now many alternative therapies available for the treatment of cancer. Some are available very cheaply. Some are extremely expensive. Some are simple to follow. Some are extremely complex. But the one thing that the successful anti-cancer therapies all have in common (and the multi billion dollar a year cancer industry either hasn't realised this yet or else refuses to act on it) is, it seems to me, that, whether they are designed to do this or not, the so called alternative therapies which work, and which often have extraordinary and dramatic results when applied to seriously ill cancer patients, all improve the health and vitality of the body's immune system and help eradicate chemical toxins from the body.

I believe that the alternative cancer therapies which work offer diets which are rich in vitamin packed organic fruit and vegetables and low in toxic chemicals and encourage patients to learn how to relax and to find some peace in their lives. It doesn't matter whether the peace comes through meditation, relaxation, religion or love and comfort applied by people who care.

Those are the stable, ever present qualities of the effective anti cancer cures which work.

The coffee enemas, the hormone injections and the obscure herbal additions may, in my considered view, be little more than bits of fine tuning which may or may not have an additional healing effect superior to that which would be offered by a placebo. There is some evidence suggesting that herbal remedies do contain substances which have effective anti-cancer properties but I believe that it is the immune system which is the real key to cancer treatment. I believe that the real benefit from these alternative approaches to cancer comes from the boost the immune system gets from the absence of stress and the high natural vitamin content of the fruit and vegetable enriched diet.

I believe that cancer develops because the body is a wreck. (Although the owner of the body may not be aware of this. Many people who have been under stress and over-exposed to toxins for long periods succeed in suppressing and ignoring the physical and mental signs of distress. They don't feel 'well' but they don't feel 'ill' either – until, one day, a lump is found or an unmistakeable symptom of cancer appears.) Because of the accumulated stresses the immune system doesn't work properly and so the toxic chemicals and other irritants which have collected in the body trigger off the development of a cancer. (There are thoughtful scientists – not surprisingly they are derided by the hugely rich AIDS industry – who claim that AIDS develops for similar reasons).

Where do the toxins and irritants come from?

There is pretty convincing evidence showing that tobacco and toxin contaminated food are by far the two biggest causes of cancer. (It is, I believe, because they eat more than their fair share of contaminated food and have toxin rich fat deposits that overweight individuals are more prone to cancer). Other possible irritants include radiation, polluted air and water, alcohol, drugs, toxins in household and industrial chemicals and electrical fields.

If you don't want to get cancer – or you have cancer and you want to get rid of it – then I believe that the answer is clear: you must reduce your intake of, and exposure to, toxins and build up your immune system so that it can work harder to defend your body. With an immune system working well you will be less likely to develop cancer. And if you develop cancer then it is my belief that your body will be better able to turn up the boost on its bodypower if you improve the efficiency of your immune system and reduce your exposure to toxins.

The importance and vulnerability of the body's immune system cannot be exaggerated. I believe that it is because they overwork their bodies and damage their immune systems that top international athletes suffer so much from illness – and tend to die earlier than non athletes. There is, as I have pointed out before, a huge difference between fitness and good health.

Sadly, I rather doubt if the medical establishment will ever support this approach for it is an approach to cancer which offers little or nothing in the way of profit to the shareholders and employees of large international companies.

Our existing sad and ineffectual politicians, beholden to big business, will continue to support the cancer industry. For the foreseeable future the official answer to cancer is likely to remain the same as it is at the moment: blast the body with toxic chemicals in the hope that these will kill the cancer tissue. Ironically, the medical establishment, committed as it is to supporting the pharmaceutical industry and the cancer industry, seems unlikely or unwilling to recognise that the other effect of this approach is to damage the immune system, weaken the body and make the organs and tissues within the body more vulnerable not only to the existing cancer but to the development of new cancers too.

Politicians Protect Cancer Causing Industries

It isn't just the drug industry and the cancer industry which the politicians are trying to protect by denying and suppressing the truth about how cancer develops.

Astonishingly, politicians have also shown themselves to be keen to protect the industries which are known to cause cancer. Of these the two most obvious are the tobacco and food industries.

Despite the fact that the link between tobacco and cancer has been well established for many years politicians have protected and subsidised the tobacco industry for a considerable time. Modern politicians seem to have absolutely no sense of shame. Although European governments force tobacco companies to publish health warnings on cigarette packs and advertisements they still give massive subsidies to tobacco farmers. And, of course, as I have explained elsewhere in this book the Labour government which came into power in 1997 decided to allow tobacco companies to continue promoting their product.

Politicians protect many parts of the food industry but I have selected one example: the meat industry.

Those of us who prefer to study the evidence and make our own judgements about health issues, rather than listen to and take advice from the various facets of the industry controlled medical and health care establishment, were entitled to feel well justified when the British government at long last seemed to be about to warn its citizens that the consumption of meat is linked to the development of cancer.

But after considering the (incontrovertible) evidence for some months Britain's much welcomed Labour government responded instead to a plea from the meat industry that such a warning would result in lost jobs and a blow to the economy. The financial threat was enough to end the possibility of the government officially publicising the truth about the link between meat and cancer.

Politicians have actually gone further than simply refusing to publicise the true facts about meat and cancer – I believe that they (and other members of the establishment) have done everything they can to suppress the truth – purely because of the fear that the truth might damage the meat industry.

I have repeatedly warned readers that eating meat can lead to the development of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, endometrium (lining of the uterus), rectum, pancreas and kidney (see my book Power Over Cancer, published by the European Medical Journal for the evidence) but to their eternal shame, politicians, doctors and bureaucrats have insisted on ignoring the evidence – and protecting the meat industry – for far too long.

The Press Complaints Commission (which I wrote about earlier in this book) is not the only organisation to have objected to the publication of the truth about the link between meat and cancer.

Advertisements for my book Food for Thought are, I beleive, still 'banned' by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (it seems to me that this is a rather grandiose title since as a non statutory body I don't think it has much 'authority' at all) because the book contains advice on what sort of diet to eat in order to reduce the chance of developing cancer. (I have detailed the story of this ban in my book Fighting for Animals, published by the European Medical Journal).

The advice in the book isn't even controversial: I simply list the foods that are known to cause cancer and the foods which are known to provide some protection.

(Because we refused to accept the ban the ASA – which, I understand, will not accept scientific references in evidence – has warned newspapers not to accept our advertisements. The ASA claims to exist to protect the public but I find it difficult to see how banning a book that contains a summary of proven clinical advice on how to avoid cancer can possibly protect the public. It seems to me that the ASA is simply protecting the cancer establishment.

In November 1998 C.A.Ling, the Managing Director of Plamil Foods (which specialises in the manufacture of vegan foods), sent me a reply which had been received from the Advertising Standards Authority. Ling had complained about an advertisement by the British Meat Nutrition Education Service and the Advertising Standards Authority had written back saying: "We consider readers will generally be aware that vegans and vegetarians have to take extra care with their diet to ensure they obtain the correct nutrients'. This is, it seems to me, exactly the sort of myth which the meat trade is keen to perpetuate. What hope can there be of 'fairness' in judgements when the ASA istelf perpetuates the idea that "vegans and vegetarians have to take extra care with their diet to ensure they obtain the correct nutrients"?

Some people who campaign for animals are beginning to question the Advertising Standards Authority's impartiality. (The winter 1998 Plan 2000 Newsletter had a small item about the Advertising Standards Authority headlined Advertising Double Standards).

Pro-animal campaigners have pointed out that complaints made by animal abusers about pro-animal campaigners are frequently upheld while many complaints made by pro-animal campaigners about animal abusers seem to be rejected.

In the summer 1998 edition of Outrage, the journal of campaigning group Animal Aid, Andrew Tyler pointed out that: "In recent months the Authority has ruled against ads by the Vegetarian Society (twice), the anti-vivisection group Uncaged; the League Against Cruel Sports; and Respect for Animals. By contrast, it has rejected complaints by animal welfare interests and ruled in favour of the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, the National Farmers' Union and Anchor's 'free range butter' ad."

Tyler reported how Animal Aid had "grappled long and frustratingly" with the Advertising Standards Authority "following a complaint put to it by the Meat and Livestock Commission over our recent Veggie Month advertising poster. The poster bore the slogan "Meat Kills – Just Say No!". It then elaborated with the message "850 million animals slaughtered in the UK every year". The plain, simple truth."

But Tyler went on: "the ASA upheld the meat trade's complaint on the grounds that the poster was "simplistic and misleading and therefore caused unnecessary fear and distress"."

"So," he wrote, "here we are again being obstructed from saying the unsayable in a society that finds the mass slaughter of animals acceptable and explicit objection to such carnage as objectionable."

The public is exposed to a seemingly endless variety of commercial propaganda and if the susceptible and the naive are to be protected from exploitation the country needs a strong, independent watch-dog capable of providing protection for innocent consumers from the most misleading and manipulative advertisers.

But I don't believe the Advertising Standards Authority is the watch-dog the country wants and needs. I believe we would be much better off with an independent but statutory body with real authority and real responsibility.

I continue warn of the association between meat and cancer because I know that I have the evidence to back up what I am saying.

But I believe that the absurd and inexplicable actions of the PCC and the Advertising Standards Authority may have helped to delay the dissemination of the truth and may result in thousands of unnecessary and avoidable deaths. Other writers (and editors and publishers) may well have been influenced by the attitudes of these two organisations – organisations which seem to me too often to appear absurd, out of touch and one-sided.

Politicians Support Genetic Engineering

Science has, during the last few decades, presented us with a steadily increasing and apparently endless variety of moral dilemmas and practical threats. The subject of genetic engineering is a perfect example of how politicians have betrayed us all and are, through their refusal to take on big industry, threatening our very future.

Politicians have allowed and encouraged scientists to give us the hazards of nuclear power, toxic waste, carcinogenic agro-chemicals and an endless variety of pollutants. Scientists have given us undrinkable water supplies, damaged our ozone layer, altered our weather and helped large food companies to grow, package and market virtually nutrient free carcinogenic food. But the latest hazard produced by scientists – with the support of the politicians who were elected to protect our interests – dwarfs all these threats.

In two decades or so genetic engineering has evolved so rapidly as a branch of science (if science is the right word for a form of alchemy which seems to pay little or no attention to logic or research) that the future of our species is now threatened. Genetic engineering enables scientists to transfer genes between species in an entirely unnatural way. Human genes can be transferred to pigs, sheep, fish or bacteria. And genes from bacteria, slugs, elephants, fish, tomatoes and anything else can be put into human beings.

Genetic engineering affects every one of us – in many different ways – but our politicians, far too terrified of the money men, seem to me to have been pitifully reluctant to deal with this threat to our survival.

One politician, when offered some of the scientific facts about genetic engineering, wrote back to a reader of mine dismissing the evidence and arguing that: "We must not, however, forget that Genetic Engineering in many different terms has existed for several centuries and has resulted in many of the animal strains we see about us today, and which no longer cause us concern, but do provide us with many of our everyday foods."

I am not sure why this politician felt it necessary to give genetic engineering initial capital letters (as though it were some deity) but I do find it difficult to understand his apparent belief that there any similarity at all between traditional breeding methods and genetic engineering (which involves inter species gene manipulation). It is this level of apparent misunderstanding among people who really ought to know better which will allow genetic engineering to threaten the very survival of the human species.

Sadly, however, this politician is by no means alone. Many others (and many members of the public) have been misled into believing that a ban on genetic engineering would involve a real health risk to people!

A New Science Offers Solutions to All The World's Problems

Genetic engineering started in the 1970s. The technique involves putting genes from one species into another species. In order to do this the genetic engineers put the gene they want to move into a viruse. They then put the virus into the animal or plant which is to be the recipient. Genetic engineering is nothing at all like conventional breeding techniques (such as are used by dog breeders who want dogs with very floppy ears or by people who want to grow black tulips).

Listen to the boastful, extraordinarily arrogant claims of genetic scientists and you might believe that they had all the answers to hunger and disease. They talk grandly about eradicating starvation by creating new high yield, pest resistant versions of existing foods and manipulating genes to banish physical ailments, aggression and depression. They will, they say, be able to eradicate homosexuality, control the overpopulation problem, purify water supplies, remove crime from our streets and deal with deforestation. Genetic engineers have even talked of creating modified strains of bacteria able to eat up plastics, heavy metals and other toxic wastes.

Vast amounts of money (at least $3 billion) have been poured into identifying the human genome (the genetic blue print for human life). There has even been talk that we will be able to clone ourselves so that we need never die.

Genetic engineers have talked about identifying the gene responsible for longevity so that we can all live long, healthy lives. The word 'immortality' has been tossed around by generous scientists. Genetic engineering will, it is said, enable fashion conscious couples to order 'designer' babies with hair colour planned to match their soft furnishings. Genetic engineers offer us a future world populated by beautifully proportioned geniuses (though if genetic engineers are allowed to define intelligence the standard will surely be low).

Moral and ethical questions have been brushed aside as the unnecessary anxieties of ignorant Luddites who either do not understand what is going on or are temperamentally opposed to progress.

But if it all sounds too good to be true – and all rather reminiscent of the sort of cheap promises with which confidence tricksters make their money – that is because it simply isn't true. Genetic scientists don't have the answers to any of our problems. On the contrary they have simply created a hugely successful money making myth which keeps them in fat grants and huge salaries. (It is important not to underestimate the importance of money in the world of genetic engineering. The world market for biotechnology products is growing at 30% a year and it has been estimated that by the year 2000 the market for genetically engineered substances will be worth $100 billion.) None of this would matter too much if what they were doing was as harmless as it is useless. But harmless it is definitely not. Fiddling around with genes is an exceedingly hazardous business. Simply inserting a gene from one creature into another can cause cancer.

Genetic engineering is not something we can simply ignore until the thousands who are making the grand claims are exposed as fraudsters, or until their poorly based pseudoscience falls out of fashion. It is time that the insane burblings of the geneticists were exposed for what they are. I have been writing about the horrors of genetic engineering for many years – since I first realised that scientists were making promises it was clear they couldn't keep – but most doctors, critics and journalists have so far been too frightened (or ignorant) to oppose the torrent of undiluted praise for genetic engineering and point a firm finger at just another invisible suit of clothes for another naked Emperor. The main hazard of genetic engineering is that no one (including the genetic engineers themselves) knows what will happen to their creations and no one knows how these artificial life forms will interact with existing life forms. The only thing we know with some certainty is that the changes will almost certainly be irreversible.

To allow genetic engineers to continue with their absurd experiments is about as sensible as allowing a million drunken bus drivers to drive vehicles from which the brakes have been removed at full speed through cities all over the globe just to see what happens. And yet our politicians are allowing genetic engineers to do virtually anything they want to do – with government support!

Flawed Science, Dishonest Scientists And Greedy Corporations

Genetic engineering really started to hit the headlines in the mid 1990s. Farmers were reported to be feeding their milk producing cows with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone in order to increase their milk yield. Genetic engineers had, we were told, managed to fiddle with a tomato's natural genes so that it would have a longer shelf life. Genetic engineers gave a human growth hormone to pigs to create a breed which would grow faster and make more profit. (But the pigs produced were arthritic, partially blind, impotent and ulcerous.)

Then we were told that genetic engineers had created a special mouse (the oncomouse) which was 'built' to be especially prone to develop cancer. (Justifiable cries of outrage from animal lovers were brushed aside with the nonsensical assurance that the oncomouse would enable scientists to find a cure for cancer affecting human beings. Those who opposed the deliberate tinkering with life in order to produce creatures doomed from birth were, as usual, accused of caring more for animals than people.)

Vivisectors claimed that by putting a human gene into an animal they would be able to investigate (and find a cure for) conditions which threatened human life. But when a human gene is put into another animal everything changes. Cancer is not caused simply by one gene – it is a result of a whole variety of circumstances including genetic susceptibility and environment.

When mice were genetically altered to include a gene that causes tumours in the retina of the eye in humans none of them developed any symptoms of this disorder.

Scientists told us that they could, by mixing human and animal genes, produce creatures who would provide an endless supply of organs for transplantation. For several years now scientists have been introducing human genes into other animals and animal genes (including human genes) into vegetables.

Genetic engineering (the enthusiasts have tried to replace this phrase – which they fear may prove frightening – with such bland phrases as 'genetic modification' but genetic engineering is what it is and that is what I intend to call it) has been constantly presented to, and by, the media as an entirely public spirited alliance between scientists and big business working together for the good of mankind.

Despite the fact that this is rather like trying to present the international tobacco industry as a humanitarian organisation devoted to the health and welfare of mankind, most journalists and observers swallowed this absolutely outrageous lie without a murmur of protest.

Journalists seem ready to believe that geneticists, being scientists, are inevitably honest and honourable people whose motives cannot be questioned. They ignore the fact that the majority of genetic engineers in the world are now working for or with one of the large companies now making vast amounts of money out of genetic engineering. ("Practically all established molecular geneticists have some direct or indirect connection with industry." says Dr Mae-Wan Ho, Reader in Biology at the Open University, U.K and a Fellow of the US National Genetics Foundation. "This inevitably sets limits on what the scientists can and will do research on, not to mention the possibility of compromising their integrity as independent scientists.")

What has happened in the world of genetic engineering should not surprise anyone. It has, after all, been exactly what has happened in the world of medical research.

Genetic engineering is all about money. The possible advantages to mankind are so slight as to be utterly inconsequential. In contrast the possible hazards to mankind are so great that they are beyond exaggeration.

In the constant search for profit some remarkable things are happening. Bending over backwards, forwards and sideways to be nice to genetic engineers the European Commission has published a directive which allows companies or individuals to apply for and obtain patents on human genes, microorganisms and any plant or animal "derived from a microbiological process'. (It has been pointed out that if the current patent laws were available when chemists were first identifying the elements then individuals and companies would have been able to patent the elements. Everyone in the world would have then have to pay a royalty for the right to breathe in, and consume, oxygen.)

Let me give you some simple facts that may surprise you:

¨ Farmers in India have for hundreds of years used a plant which possesses many valuable properties. Because of its value the plant has been 'discovered' and patented by an American company. It is now too expensive for most ordinary people to buy.

¨ Companies have applied for patents on human genes.

¨ Bubonic plague has been given genes which makes it better able to attack.

¨ Genetic engineers are planning to use the AIDS virus as a genetic engineering tool. Scientists claim that they will 'disable' the AIDS virus before using it to transfer genes from one species to another.

¨ Genetically modified material can be discharged into the environment as normal liquid waste.

¨ Genetically engineered foods may contain substances linked to the development of reproductive abnormalities.

¨ Seeds which are now protected by patents cannot be saved by farmers or smallholders (or gardeners) to be replanted the following year unless the farmer, smallholder or gardener pays a royalty to the company holding the patent. The Seed Trade Act makes it illegal to grow or sell non certified natural seeds produced by organic farmers. Genetic engineering agricultural policies seem to me to be designed to put organic farmers out of business and protect the interests of big seed producing companies. Politicians are allowing the genetic engineers and their corporate friends to get away with this. There is, it seems, an insane, bloodcurdling willingness to accept all science without question and to regard progress as an excuse for anything.

¨ The dead bodies of animals used in genetic engineering experiments can be sold as meat for human consumption. Animals used in genetic engineering experiments may contain human genes.

¨ Bacteria in the soil turn atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia which can be used by plants to make amino acids and proteins. Around the world bacteria 'fix' around 200 million tonnes of nitrogen every year. Genetic engineering threatens this process. If these bacteria stop capturing nitrogen and turning it into protein we will be dependant on chemical companies selling chemical nitrogen fertilisers. Chemical fertilisers pollute drinking water.

¨ When a man's spleen was removed as treatment for his leukemia a doctor used the spleen to develop a new cell line which was patented.

¨ An American company has been given a patent on all human blood cells obtained from the umbilical cord of new born babies. In the past these cells were used without charge to treat other patients. In the future licence fees will have to be paid to the company which has the patent on these human cells. (How long before someone patents the gene for red hair and then claims a royalty from the parents of every red haired child?)

¨ There are currently more than 300 applications for patents pending on animals.

¨ Genetically engineered plants frequently contain antibiotic resistant genes. These genes are included as 'markers' to identify the plants. But the antibiotic resistant genes can and do spread to other species. The UK has authorised the marketing of genetically engineered tomatoes which carry a gene for antibiotic resistance.

All this is being done on the understanding that by identifying and manipulating genes the genetic engineers (and the companies they work for) will be able to solve most (if not all) of the world's most serious problems (including hunger and disease).

But this is modern mythology.

The first live transgenic food to be introduced to the supermarkets (a tomato) was withdrawn. It was developed in California and didn't grow properly in Florida. A genetically engineered cotton crop didn't work properly when first planted commercially in Texas because the weather was too hot. The crop didn't grow properly in Australia because it was too cold. And insects rapidly gained resistance to the built in biopesticide.

Two varieties of genetically engineered seeds were withdrawn from the Canadian market (after 60,000 bags of seed had been sold) when it was discovered that at least one of the patented varieties contained an 'unexpected' gene.

Promises And Assumptions

We are told that genetic engineers will be able to identify the genes responsible for some/many/most/all diseases and then, with a little deft gene surgery, remove the genes that are responsible for creating problems and replace them with something more useful. The assumption is that the genetic engineer will remove the gene which would have given your child diabetes/high blood pressure/heart disease/a large nose and replace it with the gene to turn him or her into a chess champion/star tennis player/opera singer/world champion skier.

This myth depends upon the assumption that the development of a disease (and the symptoms it subsequently produces) depends upon a single gene. This is about as well based in scientific terms as the notion that two slices of treacle tart a day will cure deafness.

Genetic engineers are busily struggling to identify the genes which cause diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia and the genes which turn an individual into a burglar, mugger, alcoholic or homosexual.

There are several reasons why this is a waste of money.

First, we already know what causes many of the major killer diseases. We know what causes (and can therefore prevent) most cases of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, preventive medicine is neither glamorous nor profitable and so little or no effort is put into using this widely available, well established and incontrovertible knowledge about how to stay healthy.

Second, when there is no cure available for a disease which has been identified by genetic engineers there is a real risk that the individual will be ostracised, killed or in some way punished by society – simply on the basis of the genetic test. So, for example, individuals who are known to be predisposed to sickle cell anaemia are likely to be discriminated against by insurance companies. And mothers carrying babies who are likely to grow up with some form of disability are already encouraged to have an abortion. This is nothing more or less than a new, sanitised version of eugenics – something which was popular among the Nazis in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s, in South Africa during the apartheid years and in the US between 1924 and 1974 when hundreds of thousands of citizens were forcibly sterilised because they were classified as 'feeble-minded'.

In 1995 China brought in a new law requiring couples planning to marry to be screened for 'serious' hereditary diseases. If one partner is carrying a gene which is considered defective then the marriage must be postponed unless the couple agree to sterilisation or long term contraception. In 1996 the Chinese government introduced legislation for the compulsory termination of pregnancies in which a genetic disorder had been diagnosed. You will, of course, have noted the word 'compulsory'.

There may not be any similar laws (yet) in the west but a survey in the US found that nearly half of the individuals with genetic disorders had experienced some sort of discrimination. And scientists have already suggested giving prophylactic drug treatment to people with genetic disorders.

Third, and most important of all, it is simply not true that the presence of a particular gene is the only factor deciding whether an individual develops a specific disorder. Other genes also play a part. As does the immediate and general environment in which an individual is brought up. And as does the food he eats. It is bad science to claim that a genetic predisposition to a disease means that that disease is bound to develop. Making things even more complicated is the fact that genes work differently according to the other genes that surround them. A gene which causes a disease in one individual may not cause that disease in another individual. Just because an individual has a gene which may cause cystic fibrosis it is not inevitable that the individual will develop cystic fibrosis.

Screening women to see if they have genes which can cause breast cancer has made big news in recent years. But only between 2% and 5% of breast cancer cases are hereditary. Can the expenditure of huge amounts of money on screening for breast cancer genes really be justifiable when we know that if all women are encouraged to follow the right diet their chances of developing breast cancer will be greatly reduced?

There is enthusiasm among genetic engineers for screening for cancer genes but I do not see the point in investigating a diagnostic procedure which is dangerous, expensive and ineffective when we already know what causes 80% of cancers – and could, therefore, prevent four out of five cancers safely, inexpensively and effectively. Meanwhile, there may be some advance warning for us all in the news that six genetic engineers working on cancer related genes at the Pasteur Institutes in France have themselves contracted cancer.

Screening men and women for predisposition to heart disease is likely to become very big business in the near future. Heart disease is, after all, a major killer. But we know that it is lifestyle factors which cause heart disease in most patients. And a good family history provides all the 'genetic' information that is needed. As with breast cancer, heart disease can usually be avoided by following the right lifestyle.

Some scientists have claimed that a gene for schizophrenia has been identified. But doctors can't even agree on the symptoms of schizophrenia (or whether any such disease exists). If schizophrenia is a disease then it seems extremely likely that many other factors (including diet, parents, environment and so on) may also be causative factors.

It has been said that it is possible to seek out genes that are responsible for intelligence. But this is high grade phooey.

Gene screening is a potentially huge business and has already won much political support but is it really in the best interests of the consumer? I think not.

Immediate And Long Term Hazards Threaten Us All

When genetic engineering first hit the headlines, the public was promised that there would be strict rules about just what could and could not be done. But the rules that were intended to protect us have been bent, pushed aside and ignored. Regulations were, it was claimed, slowing down progress, interfering with the competitiveness of the developing new industry and getting in the way of individual scientists keen to get on with their plan for improving the world. It is wrong, say the scientists, to try to ban new thinking or new research.

Genetic engineers claim that there is no need for caution and that only the narrow-minded and the reactionary have reservations about this exciting new branch of scientific endeavour.

The genetic engineering industry has even succeeded in 'persuading' politicians and administrators that there is no need to segregate genetically engineered produce from naturally grown produce.

The risks associated with genetic engineering are numerous and widespread. There is little doubt that genetic engineering is at least partly responsible for the problem of antibiotic resistant organisms. And there is even less doubt that genetic engineering is responsible for some, and possibly many, of the new infective organisms now threatening human health.

Under normal circumstances viruses are species specific. A virus that attacks a cat will not usually attack a human being. And a virus that attacks a human being will not usually attack a cow. But the genetic engineers have changed all that. They have deliberately glued together different bits of viruses in order to cross species barriers. These genetically engineered viruses can then become virulent again. Genetically engineered viruses are extremely infectious. None of this happens by accident – this is how genetic engineering works.

For example, consider the humble pathogen Escherichia coli (known to its friends as E.coli). This little bug is traditionally harmless. It lives in the intestines of most mammals, including human beings. Because it is harmless E.coli quickly became the darling of genetic engineers who fiddled with it incessantly and put genes from a vast number of species into it.

I remember being horrified when I first heard that E.coli was being used in this way. It was always clear that fiddling with such a widespread bug would almost certainly be disastrous. Twenty years ago my fears were scoffed at by scientists and doctors but I was not surprised when I heard that E.coli had changed and that new dangerous versions of it had appeared.

A few years ago a brand new version called E.coli 0157:H7 appeared. This new bug, a direct consequence of genetic engineering, caused dangerous bleeding in the colon, bowel and kidneys of human patients. The first cases occurred in America but outbreaks have appeared all over the world. An outbreak in Japan in 1996 affected 9,000. In 1997 an outbreak in Scotland killed 20 people.

To begin with E.coli only affected meat eaters (since it came via infected cattle) but E.coli has now been found in contaminated soil – and, therefore, in plants grown in the soil.

The whole sorry scenario has been made even worse by the fact that strains of E.coli have also acquired antibiotic resistance. There are varieties of E.coli available now which are resistant to all but one antibiotic. When E.coli becomes resistant to this antibiotic (as will surely happen soon) the bug – one of the commonest known to mankind – will become a major killer. E.coli can acquire antibiotic resistance very quickly. One experiment showed that E.coli can acquire multi drug resistance within twelve days.

Antibiotic Resistant Organisms

Earlier in this book I discussed the problem of antibiotic resistant organisms. In addition to the two obvious causes of this problem (the use of antibiotics by farmers and the overprescribing of antibiotics by doctors) there is another reason for this problem: genetic engineering.

It has been found that the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria is associated with something known as 'horizontal gene transfer' – in which genes move from species to species. You will, I suspect, not be surprised to hear that 'horizontal gene transfer' is exactly what genetic engineers do. Genetic engineers have spent years, and much money, finding ways to break down the natural barriers which prevent the transfer of genes from one species to another. Genetic engineering has enabled bacteria to share their acquired ability to resist antibiotics and to grow stronger and stronger.

Even more frightening is the fact that once horizontal gene transfer starts it is speeded up by the use of antibiotics – which encourage the exchange of genes between different species. So, the more we use antibiotics to try and deal with these new and resistant organisms the more resistant organisms there will be. Things aren't helped by the fact that genetic engineers use antibiotic resistant genes to tag and mark the bits and pieces of genetic material they are moving about.

For a while scientists believed that horizontal gene transfer was something that only happened between bacteria. But this isn't true. It is possible for genes to move from virtually any species to any other species. Genetic engineers have made this process faster and more efficient.

Naturally, the men and women in white coats who were convinced that they knew best ("Trust us – nothing can go wrong') have been releasing genetic material that they have been fiddling with into the environment for years. A year or two ago we thought that the dumping of waste chemicals was bad news. But the dumping of genetic mis-shapes and off-cuts will, I believe, create a problem infinitely larger than the dumping of chemical waste or nuclear waste. Genes, once they start moving and reproducing, can keep spreading, recombining and affecting new species for ever. Once the door has been opened it cannot be shut. And the door has been opened.

"Don't worry!" said the genetic engineers, when this problem was identified. "Genetic material is easily digested by gut enzymes."

Sadly, they were wrong about that too.

Genetic material can survive a journey through an intestine and find its way, via the blood stream, into all sorts of body cells. And once inside a new body the genetic material can begin to affect host cells. If you eat a genetically engineered tomato the foreign genes in the tomato could end up in your cells. Cancer is an obvious possible consequence of this. Exactly what are the risks? I'm afraid that your guess is as good as mine. And our guesses are just as good as the guesses made by genetic engineers. They don't have the foggiest idea what will happen. But they know that something terrible could happen.

Readers will, I am sure, have realised that this poses a new and startling question: what about the altered genetic material in new types of food? What happens to genetically altered food when it is eaten? Will the altered genes find their way into our own genetic material?

Asking the questions is easy. But no one knows the answers.

And our politicians still allow the genetic engineers to do whatever they want.

Creating New Diseases

As part of their research, genetic engineers have deliberately created new viruses that can cause disease. And they are deliberately (and, sometimes, accidentally) releasing new, genetically engineered organisms into the environment without any controls. The organisms they are 'manufacturing' and releasing are, in many cases, themselves deliberately designed to be strong and resistant to disease. It is therefore surely no coincidence that doctors have begun to identify numerous new diseases (such as AIDS and hepatitis C) in recent years. (I pointed out in my book Betrayal of Trust that AIDS probably developed as a result of experiments on animals.) New strains of the rabies virus have recently emerged and new versions of other disease have suddenly been identified.

Risks With Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically engineered foods have already been shown to produce allergy problems – and to be toxic. One major hazard is that plants which have been genetically engineered to be resistant to disease may be more likely to produce allergy problems. A soya bean genetically engineered with a gene from a brazil nut was found to cause allergy problems when eaten by people sensitive to brazil nuts. A strain of yeast, genetically altered in order to ferment more quickly, acquired cancer inducing qualities. Contaminants in an amino acid produced by a Japanese company led to 1,500 people falling ill and to the deaths of 37 individuals.

And yet, amazingly, politicians have done nothing to protect the public. The manufacturers of genetically engineered foods do not have to identify foods that have been genetically engineered. No one tests genetically engineered foods to see whether or not they are particularly likely to cause allergy problems. The new food is tested when it is put onto the market. You and I are the unwitting test subjects. Even drug companies have to do some tests before they can launch new products. Food companies seem to be entirely free of controls.

Amazingly, the politicians and administrators whom we pay to protect us allow the manufacturers to get away with the argument that it would be impossible to separate and identify genetically engineered foods! "Segregation of bulk commodities is not scientifically justified and is economically unrealistic," said the industries involved in genetic engineering. "Certainly!" said the politicians and the bureaucrats. "If you say so." The US government therefore announced that it would not tolerate the segregation or labelling of genetically engineered crops. "We do not find any scientific evidence to support the assertion that bioengineered foods are inherently less safe. Therefore they should not be singled out for special labelling requirements." said the US government. In my view this must rank as one of the most hollow and absurd statements of the century since as far as I am aware no one has done any clinical investigations to find out whether or not bioengineered foods are safe, a bit unsafe or completely deadly. European politicians do not have the guts to stand up to American politicians. They are frightened that if they upset the Americans the Americans will introduce trade embargoes.

The problems are only just beginning but already they are frightening. Potatoes and oilseed rape were genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicide. The resistance spread to weeds within a single growing season. And a genetically engineered soil bacterium, believed to be harmless, turned out to slow down the growth of wheat seedlings.

Xenotransplantation

An area of genetic engineering which has attracted a great deal of public interest (and, to a large extent, uncritical media support) has been the growing of animals to provide organ donor material for human patients (this technique is known as xenotransplantation). It is not surprising that genetic engineers have been attracted to this area. The market for human organs is worth an estimated $6 billion a year in the US alone.

One of the big problems faced by transplant surgeons has always been the rejection of the donor organ because of an immune reaction produced within the recipient patient's body. In an attempt to overcome this difficulty pigs have been bred with human genes. People who care about animals obviously find this use of animals offensive and morally unacceptable but there are other questions to be considered.

First, of course, there is the point that the cost of providing transplant programmes is absurdly high. Whether we like or not there will always be limited amounts of finance available for health care. Is it justifiable to spend so much on this area when many people are dying of diseases which could be prevented or cured for very little money? The entire transplantation programme in wealthy countries has been calculated to add a minute 0.003% to life expectancy.

Second, it is important to recognise that it may be possible to treat these patients without surgery at all. It has been shown that heart disease can be cured without drugs or surgery. Xenotransplantation may, in the majority of cases, be entirely unnecessary anyway.

Third, and perhaps most important, there is the fact that the risks involved with using animal organs may well outweigh any possible advantages. Can pig viruses in these organs cross over into human beings? Putting human genetic material into other animals could produce all sorts of horrific problems. We just don't know what will happen and what will develop. What sort of creatures are we trying to breed?

Breeding human-animal hybrid creatures is also being used for producing animal milk that contains drugs. The animal being used is given hormones to make her lactate early and then made to lactate permanently. Naturally, all this puts the animal concerned under a great deal of stress. The people breeding animals for this sort of purpose will, of course, claim that their animals are clear of possibly hazardous pathogens and are kept in a disease free environment. But I get extremely suspicious when a man or woman in a white coat says that something is safe. How can anyone be sure that an animal is free of possibly hazardous pathogens when genetic engineering means that new organisms may be developing? And I simply do not believe that it is possible to keep animals in a disease free environment. To all this must be added the additional problem that engineered genetic material, when taken into the human body, may then move into human cells.

Surely the use of animals in this way is far too dangerous to allow? It is certainly morally and ethically repugnant. Have we as a species really sunk this low in our desperate search for wealth and eternal life? Do not our politicians have a responsibility to give us moral leadership on issues like this? ` Genetic engineers do not seem to regard 'risk assessment' as something within their responsibility. Hazards to humans, wildlife and the environment are ignored when new 'products' are being engineered. The risks of spreading antibiotic resistance, or creating new allergens, are not assessed by the genetic engineers.

And naturally politicians and bureaucrats, not wanting to annoy this new, wealthy and enormously powerful industry, (or to spend any money themselves) do not allocate any funds to assess risks either. Regulations are weak and are kept weak and when there are changes the changes are usually made to accommodate the industry and make the rules weaker still.

Supressing Fears And Allaying Suspicions

For several years now the food industry has been excited by the possibilities offered by genetic engineering.

Scientists working for or on behalf of the food industry have been busy messing around with foods in an attempt to make them look or taste 'better' or make them last longer. Researchers are alleged to have created tobacco plants designed to be more resistant to disease and a cuboid tomato that will be easier to use when making sandwiches. Scientists have put human genes into plants in order to produce more acceptable food products.

In an attempt to keep up with the world's artificially distorted requirements for food, scientists and farmers are busy messing around with genes in an attempt to grow bigger crops. They claim that modern, laboratory bred crops help boost yields and profits.

But there is a risk because new crop varieties are identical: each ear of wheat, each potato, each tomato is the same as the one next to it. And each farmer grows the same crop variety in order to maximise his profits. This is all very well when everything goes according to plan. But when a bug comes along which affects one plant every plant will be affected. And the result will be a wipeout.

About 150 years ago a fungus caused the Irish potato famine. Today, we are far more vulnerable than the Irish were. One new fungus, or other infection, which affects the latest laboratory engineered crop could cause a worldwide shortage of wheat or potatoes – and a worldwide famine.

I have no doubt that it will happen soon. And when it does happen the farmers whose crops have been destroyed will demand cash so that they don't suffer financially. No one in the food industry will give a damn about the fact that deaths from starvation will rocket – as a direct result of their greedy, selfish, short sighted policies.

Thanks to genetic engineers, farmers and the food industry (and ignorant, uncaring politicians whose only interest is professional self preservation) the long term future for the world is hunger, growing food shortages and wars as the starving fight for food. The clock is running. Before long it will be too late to stop scientists doing irreversible damage to our food.

Genetic engineering is one of the biggest threats any of us face. But no one seems to care. Journalists (most of whom seem to be woefully ignorant about the subjects on which they write) seem besotted with the idea of genetic engineering and the politicians certainly won't stop the scientists because the lobbyists who represent the world's food companies are working hard to suppress fears and allay any suspicions.

When Will We Know The Truth?

I really don't think we will know the truth about the safety of any genetically engineered foods for another generation or two.

As I write this only about 1-2% of the current US crop consists of genetically engineered corn but officials expect the percentage to grow ten fold within the next year alone.

My big worry about the new corn is that, according to information I have received, it contains a third new gene – in addition to the one which provides it with herbicide resistance and the one which allows the corn stalks to produce a naturally occurring insecticide. The third gene protects the plant's cells from ampicillin – one of the most widely used antibiotics in the world. Almost unbelievably the ampicillin resistant gene is apparently being used to identify young corn plants which have been successfully given the other two genes.

What will happen if the new gene 'jumps' from corn to cattle or to people? I fear that this gene could make ampicillin – and possibly other widely used and valuable antibiotics – entirely useless. The results for mankind would be catastrophic. Without ampicillin (and, possibly, many other powerful antibiotics) the death rate from infectious diseases would rocket.

My fear that this gene could 'jump' is not based on simple scepticism and a well established suspicion of the things scientists say. A gene which was placed in rice crops was later found in surrounding weeds. It apparently got into the weeds via insects. The head of a research institute in California, who led a study of the whole issue for the Food and Drug Administration in the US, has already dismissed these fears. When it was suggested to him that the gene could 'jump' species he said: "It seems extremely unlikely." I may be unduly sceptical and cynical but given the consequences if the gene does make the 'jump' I don't find this phrase particularly comforting.

However, my fear that the gene could 'jump' into animals and humans is not my only worry.

What, for example, will happen if the insecticide gene 'jumps' to weeds? The result could, surely, be the growth of uncontrollable superweeds. (The scientists who argue that this is 'extremely unlikely' should know that weed relatives of oilseed rape have already managed to form hybrids with the genetically modified plant).

What will be the long term effect on humans? And what will be the long term effects on other animals, birds and insects? Will the genetically engineered plants prove to be toxic in five, ten, twenty or thirty years time? What effect will they have on human genetic structure?

Geneticists – and the companies which employ them – claim that genetically engineered crops will increase harvests, improve farm and food company profits and help avert a future world food shortage. (They ignore the fact that if more people became vegetarian there would be no present or future world food shortage).

The problem here is the usual one: money. The American export of soybeans, and their products, to Europe is worth around $2 billion a year. Soybean exports make up 25% of American agricultural exports to the European Union. If the EU makes too much of a fuss the Americans will almost certainly start opposing European exports to their country.

And soybeans and corn are not the only food staples to be involved. Genetically altered rape, squash and tobacco have already been approved by various regulatory authorities and genetically altered wheat, potatoes and strawberries will probably be available soon. Researchers are even working on genetically altered plants which will grow coloured cotton and on plants which will produce biodegradable plastics for use in the manufacture of packaging.

Genetically altered food is here and it is now probably impossible to reverse the trend. I believe that a ban in one country alone would have little effect. An international, world wide ban is needed.

The most bizarre fact of all is, as I have already pointed out, that genetically modified organisms do not have to be tested for safety. A food containing genetically modified substances is assumed to be harmless unless proved otherwise. I find this officially approved absence of any form of regulation utterly outrageous and quite bizarre. Since no food company has to do tests on genetically modified organisms who is likely to do the (inevitably expensive) testing? Technically, if you and I – the consumers – want to prove that genetically modified food is not safe we have to find vast amounts of money and organise the tests ourselves. Meanwhile, we have no choice in whether or not we eat the stuff since foods containing these genetically altered materials do not have to be identified or labelled in any way.

It seems to me that the greatest risks must be with processed foods – which is where I believe the majority of the genetically altered crops will end up. Pizzas, breakfast cereals and biscuits are just a few of the vast variety of foods which could be among those containing genetically modified substances.

Cloning Human Beings

A scientist in the US has announced that he intends to start cloning human beings. There is no doubt that unless human cloning is made a criminal (and imprisonable) offence scientists will go ahead. At the end of 1998 a group of researchers in South Korea claimed that they had successfully cloned a human embryo. They are said to have subsequently killed the human embryo. Will a cloned baby be entitled to marry, have children and vote? Or will cloned babies be produced (as has been suggested) to act as servants and organ donors?

How many human genes does a tomato have to contain before it acquires human rights? How many human genes do there have to be in a tomato before the tomato can complain to the European Court of Human Rights if you dare to threaten it with a knife? When does a pig with human genes stop being a pig and become a human being? When does a human being with organs from pigs stop being a human being and become a pig?

Is it ethical for a large international corporation to patent a seed that has been used for generations by third world farmers? Is it ethical for a company to patent a human cell?

In Argentina a new rabies vaccine was tested on cattle without authorisation. Farmer workers, who were not told about the experiment, were later found to be infected with the virus. Was this ethical?

What about the animals produced by genetic engineers? Some are designed to develop specific diseases – such as cancer. Is it moral and ethical to deliberately create a living creature which has an enhanced chance of suffering? Is the creation of a mouse which is more likely to develop cancer something we can proud of? Genetic experiments on animals have produced many horror stories and much suffering.

International companies are testing genetically engineered drugs and foods on millions of people – without ever testing them for safety. Scores of different genetically engineered crops have already been marketed, sown, harvested and sold. Is it ethical to do this without knowing what the future consequences might be? Is it ethical for parents to have an unborn baby aborted because it has the wrong hair colour or may turn out to be a homosexual?

Is it ethical for an insurance company to refuse life or sickness insurance (and therefore the access to money to buy a home) on the basis of a genetic screening test? (Life insurance companies have announced that people applying for life insurance cover will have to report the tests of genetic screening to their insurance companies).

These may sound like stupid questions. But they really aren't stupid questions at all. They are questions which the genetic engineers don't want us to ask because they know that there aren't any answers. Huge international conglomerates are planning to take over every aspect of our lives and neither they nor we know exactly what is going to happen next, or what the consequences of their endeavours are likely to be. We need strong politicians to ask these questions on our behalf – and to make sure that they are answered.

Our babies, our health, our food are all now being controlled (or going to be controlled) by international companies whose sole raison d'κtre is profit. Now there is nothing wrong with profit. But when profit is the only driving force it is comforting to know that someone is doing a little regulating. In the world of genetic engineering regulation is no longer effective. The industry has grown big enough and powerful enough to squash all fears with promises of vast profits, cheaper food and reduced expenditure on health care. Survey after survey has shown that consumers don't want genetically altered food and they particularly don't want it mixing up with natural food (so that they have no choice about whether or not they eat it). But the politicians and the administrators have ignored the views of the public. The Labour government has ignored the views of the voters on hunting and it is ignoring the views of the voters on genetic engineering.

Most of the scientists currently working in the world of genetic engineering seem to believe that they have no personal responsibility to investigate, assess or consider moral and ethical issues. Many scientists believe that science can do no wrong and that it is the responsibility of other members of the community to decide what to do with new scientific discoveries. Some research scientists claim that there is a difference between science and technology. This is unrealistic and far too simplistic (although it is undoubtedly an argument which allows some scientists to continue receiving their pay cheques without losing too much sleep).

I fon't believe science can be segregated from the rest of society. And I believe that individual scientists must take personal responsibility for the work they do.

It is, after all, usually only the scientists who know what is going on in the laboratories. Secrecy (often maintained in the interests of commerce or that catch-all excuse "security') means that outside observers have to rely upon the honesty of scientists to know exactly what is going on.

(I should point out, perhaps, that not all scientists working in genetic engineering are able to cut themselves off from the moral values of the work they do. In her book Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare? Dr Mae-Wan Ho points out that the Chief Executive Officer of a biotech company told her that he didn't feel happy about his company's involvement with biotechnology but that his mortgage had to be paid. He coped, he said, be practising Transcendental Meditation. Most of his colleagues, he reported, were taking the drug Prozac to help them cope.)

On the relatively few occasions when ethical committees have been set up to question and regulate genetic engineering they seem to have worked on the assumption that genetic engineering is both acceptable and necessary and that all that needs assessing is the small print. Fundamental questions about the scientific value of genetic engineering (and the value to the community) are rarely, if ever, asked. No one asks whether we should be messing around with genes. Big moral and ethical questions are ignored and the assumption is that science must go on and cannot be stopped. Decades ago French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre said: "Of course we can split genes. But can we not split genes?" The answer to his question seems to be a clear and resounding 'No'.

governments don't like to interfere because of the huge profits to be made. Consumers may have made it clear that they don't want genetically engineered products but politicians want companies associated with their countries to be at the forefront of the new technology. Britain and the US are two of the countries which stand to make most out of genetic engineering. Politicians in both countries are steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the existence of any problems or hazards.

Criminals, Genes And Society

There has been a good deal of debate recently about whether criminals are born or made – a produce of their genes or their environment.

Much effort, endless talk and a great deal of our money is being poured into this long running global investigation. In universities and colleges from here to there and back again earnest men and women wearing scowls and white coats are trying to produce the definitive answer to this question.

My fear is that there is one very simple, very important, very basic question which none of them seem to have yet asked.

And that question is: Why?

Why are trying to find out whether or not criminal behaviour is something that is carried in the genes?

Who the hell cares?

What difference does it make?

Do we really want to know the answer to the question?

If the scientists discover that criminals do nasty things because of their genes are we going to feel sorry for them and let them off?

"It wasn't his fault he mugged 23 old ladies, raped 76 women, robbed 46 banks and murdered 103 perfectly respectable citizens. It was in his genes."

"Oh, that's all right, then."

Are we going to fire all our policemen, turn our courtrooms into sandwich bars and convert our prisons into holiday accommodation?

Are we phooey.

Quite rightly, no politician would dare advocate such a revolutionary concept.

On the contrary politicians, policemen and mad scientists will believe that they can eliminate crime and criminals by getting rid of bad genes.

And who is going to define "bad genes'?

Which quango of used politicians is going to define which traits are unwanted by society?

Do you really look forward to living a society where the men in white coats will ring your doorbell to tell you that your unborn child has genes which the government does not find acceptable?

"But what's wrong with him?" you may plead. "Why does he have to be aborted? Won't you please give him a chance? He isn't even born yet! He might turn out to be a good boy."

"I'm sorry, madam," the man in the white coat will say. "We can't discuss that sort of thing. State secret. But your baby has got to go. But never mind dearie, you can get another one – with guaranteed genes – from the Party Headquarters Adoption Centre."

When the politicians and the policemen take over and start telling the genetic manipulators what to do we can all say goodbye to character traits which you and I used to regard as virtues.

Our future masters will soon put a stop to originality and creativity. They will want to get rid of citizens who show signs of aggression, determination and passion.

Within a generation or two the world will be populated by timid, mild, meek zombies who do as they are told, never answer back and never question the orders they receive.

The genes which are responsible for turning a baby into a writer, a thinker, a poet or a campaigner will be among the first to go.

Tomorrow's children, the citizens of the genetically clean world, will know their place. They will line up neatly and on time to go to work. They will behave themselves. And they will treat the politicians, the policemen and the Gene Masters with respect.

That is the only future we will have if the scientists currently playing around with genes manage to prove that certain genes carry criminal behaviour.

The politicians will leap on the opportunity to get rid of troublemakers, opposition and heretics. The disabled, the imperfect, the ugly, the gay and the chronically sick will all be neatly destroyed before birth. The potentially promiscuous, the would be anarchic, the possibly noisy, the reckless, the imaginative and the troublesome will all be aborted.

The men in white coats, themselves manipulated by the men in grey suits, will promise to see to it that tomorrow's world is a clean and crime free place.

But neither the men in white coats nor the men in grey suits can be trusted. We must stop this research now. Before it is too late. Stopping this potentially evil work will not be easy. The politicians, the civil servants and the other grey suited horrors who run our world will have long ago spotted that this will offer them a marvellous opportunity to cleanse the world of unacceptable genetic influences. But stop it we must. If we don't stop it now then it will soon be too late.

Safer, Cheaper And More Effective Solutions Are Available

The genetic engineering approach to the world's problems ("We can fix everything by fiddling with the genes') has resulted already in the production of products which consumers don't want and is now threatening the very safety of the world in which we live.

Politicians have responded to the promises made by genetic engineers in much the same way that so many people respond to the promises made by slimming pill and vitamin manufacturers.

People who want to lose weight are seduced by the prospect of losing weight without having to eat less of the foods they like. And people who want to be healthy are attracted by the thought that they can maintain good health by swallowing vitamin and mineral pills rather than by having to go through the inconvenience of finding, preparing and eating good, wholesome food. It is, perhaps, not surprising that politicians are similarly seduced by genetic engineers' promises that they can solve the world's problems, save government money and produce large, taxable profits too.

By concentrating on the magical 'quick fix' solution politicians have overlooked, and taken money and resources away from, alternative solutions that really would help deal with hunger, malnutrition and avoidable disease.

When politicians and scientists talk about the overpopulation problem they are invariably referring exclusively to the developing countries, the Third World. But this is another nonsense. There is no more overpopulation in the Third World than there is in the developed world. There is, however, a severe shortage of food in the Third World. More than 800 million people are hungry at the moment and over 80 countries (around half of them in Africa) do not grow enough food to sustain their own population. In India 85% of children under the age of five are malnourished.

Oddly enough, the shortage of food in the developing world is matched by an excess of food in the developed world. If the food surpluses were moved from the north to the south of the globe there would be far less obesity (and obesity related disease) in the developed countries and no hunger in the developing world.

Talk about a need for new genetically engineered crops to help combat hunger and starvation is also nonsense. Between 30 and 40 of the nations where there is most hunger export food to the US so that people who already eat too much can continue to eat hamburgers. (The food that is exported to the US is often used to feed cattle).

Farmers in the developed world and the Third World have already shown that they can dramatically improve their output if they are given a little help in combating drought and other difficult conditions. In Latin America, when soil conservation programmes and organic farming methods were introduced, yields were tripled or quadrupled within a year. Years of use of agrochemicals and poor land husbandry has led to declining soil quality (and, therefore, declining food quality). But organic farming does work and we can produce the food we need without chemicals. Sustainable, organic, agriculture avoids all the problems created by mechanised farming – and is more profitable too!

And, of course, if grain from developing countries was not used to fatten up cattle so that people in the developed world could eat steaks and harmburgers there would be plenty of food to go round. If more people in Europe and the US became vegetarian, starvation in the developing world would be a memory.

Meanwhile, there is another concern.

One of the few ways to avoid the problem of genetically engineered food is to buy and eat organic food. Not surprisingly, organic farming is proving successful and popular. The consumption of organic food is rising dramatically. However, the big food businesses don't like organic farming – which is labour intensive and works best when operated by small scale farmers operating on a restricted local basis. And so serious plans are afoot to destroy organic farming before it develops further and does more damage to the established food "industry'.

The US government is set to introduce new 'standards' for organic farming which are likely to have a dramatic effect on the quality of food worldwide. The US government plans to allow the powerful food industry to describe food which has been genetically engineered, irradiated, treated with additives or raised on contaminated sewage sludge as "organic'. They also intend to allow farmers to describe as 'organic' livestock which has been housed in batteries, given drugs or fed with the unwanted parts of other animals. There will, in short, soon be no real difference between food described as 'organic' and other 'junk' food. In order to prevent genuine organic farmers calling their produce something else the US government intends to make it illegal to set standards higher than the ones that it defines. This will effectively make it illegal for farmers to produce and sell good quality food.

To begin with these absurd new regulations will operate only in the US. But it will surely not be long before American manufacturers put pressure on their government to force the European Union to accept the American definition of 'organic food'. It is this process which has already seen the European Union force unwilling consumers in its member countries to accept genetically engineered crops and beef and milk contaminated with growth hormones. How long will it be before those who want to eat food which has a low chemical content must either grow their own fruit and vegetables or purchase their groceries illegally from local dealers? Men in sunglasses and expensive cars will stop at street corners, wind down a window, and hand over a bag of potatoes in exchange for a bundle of cash before speeding off to their next assignation.

Single Crops

One big cause of malnutrition (and this is particularly true of malnutrition in the developed world) is the replacement of varied crops and varied dietary habits by the mass growing, and consuming, of single crops. When this is done the soil becomes poor and the nutritional quality of the food is low. By the year 2000 the world will have lost 95% of the genetic diversity utilised in agriculture at the start of the twentieth century.

In India, in the past, farmers grew 50,000 different varieties of rice. If the genetic engineers have their way there will be just one type of rice available. When there are 50,000 types of rice the chances of a bug wiping out more than a few species is low. But when there is only type of rice the risk of a bug wiping out an entire nation's crop has to be high. Agricultural diversity is in every way better than a single crop culture.

Genetically engineered crops of a single type which are grown in vast quantities are extremely prone to disease. Genetic engineering in agriculture creates exactly the right conditions for new, mega destructive pests to develop. When a variety of rice was introduced with resistance to eight common and important diseases it was quickly attacked by two brand new diseases.

To deal with this problem allegedly pest resistant genetically engineered crops have to be protected with vast quantities of pesticide. To stop the crops being destroyed by the chemicals genetically engineered crops are usually made to be resistant to herbicides. (Naturally enough the companies making these crops make sure that they put in resistance to their own herbicide. This enables them to sell their herbicide when they sell their seeds.)

One snag to this clever little policy is that the herbicide resistance is passed on to the surrounding weeds. The resulting superweeds then need to be attacked with some even more powerful chemical.

(Because their crops are herbicide resistant farmers automatically spray their crops with herbicide, potentially damaging the farm workers who do the spraying and the consumers who eat the contaminated crop.)

Genetically-Engineered Drugs

Genetic engineering, when allied to the exclusively materialistic ambitions of the pharmaceutical industry, offers solutions to health problems through the development of an endless list of new (and expensive) 'wonder' drugs. But the development of modern drugs has done very little to help treat illness and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that genetically engineered drugs will be any more effective, any safer or any less likely to kill than other pharmaceutical industry products.

The concentration of effort into the production and purchase of yet more drugs is totally misguided. Four out of five cancers can be prevented. And heart disease can be cured (as well as prevented) by adopting the right diet and lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is no profit to be made out of preventing cancer or heart disease. (And no profit for the drug industry out of curing without drugs.)

A Problem That Should Terrify Us All

Scientists, pundits and commentators all seem to have accepted gene therapy as a 'good thing'. On the contrary I believe that messing about with genes is one of the greatest threats to mankind.

And now that genetic engineering has been given the green light by politicians our future is firmly in the hands of scientists (and to an even larger extent their corporate paymasters). If you have children then I think you should be worried: for the world you bequeath them may not be the world you know.

What worries me is not simply the prospect of a mad gene manipulator producing a human baby with fins, a tail and horns (and don't believe anyone who tells you that that is impossible) but the fact that once we start messing around with genes we can, if things go wrong, change the whole nature of the human race.

What, for example, if someone makes a mistake and slips in a dominant gene that ensures that all white baby boys grow to be eight foot tall? Or what if somehow a gene that causes a rare disease gets mixed up with a gene that causes blue eyes?

What if politicians work hand in hand with genetic scientists and decide that some races should be 'altered' or even "eradicated' in some way?

What if a group of doctors, politicians and social scientists decide that in future everyone should be six feet tall – and have blue eyes and blonde hair?

(Those of you old enough to remember another Germany may have heard of something like that in the past).

What if the scientists decide that all women should have the same sized breasts? What if it is decided by decree that all children will look the same?

What if the scientists impregnate a female monkey with human sperm in order to create a 'slave' being that can do routine daily tasks? (Scientists may have already done this.)

Genetic scientists claim they will be able to tell you what diseases you'll get as you get older. Even if that claim is true (which I very much doubt) do you really want to know what horrors await you?

Food scientists will breed hens who lay cubic eggs and grow tomato plants that grow cubic tomatoes so that sandwich making becomes easier. Do we need that?

I know the 'experts' will dismiss my fears as nonsensical.

They will, of course, insist that nothing can go wrong – and that there will be committees and regulations to make sure that nothing frightening happens. But accidents happen.

Experts said the Titanic was safe.

And remember that one in six hospital beds in Britain are occupied by people who have been made ill by doctors. Since one assumes that those medical errors weren't produced on purpose they must have been a result of medical accidents.

Remember thalidomide? And the scores of other drug related health problems which have hit the headlines during the last few decades?

Time and time again scientists assure us that nothing can go wrong. And time and time again something does go wrong.

Remember Chenobyl?

The truth is that any scientist who claims that a procedure is entirely safe is both unimaginative and intellectually impaired. Only fools believe in fool-proof systems. Science in general does not appear to me to attract the brightest of minds. And it seems to me that research scientists are the least intelligent of scientists. (I wish I could find just one to debate these issues with me in public.)

To the risk of accidental disaster we must add the risk of fraud and corruption. Surprise, surprise, not all scientists are honourable and well meaning. Fraud and dishonesty in science are now commonplace. It was recently estimated that 12% of all research work in America is fraudulent.

With fraudulent and incompetent scientists playing around with our genes we could all be in big, big trouble – soon. The idea of mad scientists using genetic experiments to create a master race, or inter-breeding men and gorillas to create stronger workers used to be just science fiction. Now it is no longer science fiction. As science writer Andrew Tyler put it in a paper in the European Medical Journal: "The new gene technologies have the capacity to change everything – to alter the actual physical fabric of every species on earth, our own included." Or consider leading economist, Robert Beckman. Writing in his book Into the Upwave he said: "Theoretically, we can take the genetic structure of a rabbit's reproductive capacity and transfer it to a man, giving him the sexual reproductive capacity of the rabbit...".

Genetic engineering now enables scientists to alter the genetic constitution of any animal or plant.

But is that really what we want?

An Awful Future

The awful future we are creating for ourselves is not the result of any evil mind. There is no single 'bad' guy to be blamed for what is happening.

The decisions and actions which seem bound to destroy the world as we know it are the responsibility of thousands of individual genetic engineers and their corporate colleagues. These people are not driven by a desire to take over the world. They just want to get rich. And although many of them are intelligent enough to realise the horrors they are unleashing on the world they are too obsessed by greed to stop. I wonder how many excuse what they are doing by arguing "If I don't do it someone else will".

And the politicians, and their bureaucratic associates, who are allowing all this to happen, are concerned only with their own personal futures. They buckle under when pressurised by the genetic engineering giants because it is the easiest solution. The US government spends twenty times as much on genetic engineering as it does on investigating sustainable agriculture and organic farming. The pressure from the genetic engineering corporations is stronger and more effective than the level of protest from the voters and so the politicians take the easy route.

I believe and hope that the level of protest from citizens is low because most people simply do not yet understand what is going on. But we have to do something. And if you and I don't do something I don't know who will.

Genetic engineering is changing the world in a way that no branch of science has ever changed the world before. Chemical pollution, and even nuclear waste pollution, were short term problems compared to the changes which are being made by the genetic engineers. Genetic changes are self perpetuating. The whole process of change builds upon itself and will soon be impossible to restrain. Once a gene from one species has been put into another species it becomes particularly instable. Genetic engineering deliberately encourages horizontal gene transfer (from one species to another). The problem is that once horizontal gene transfer has been started it keeps going. Genetic engineering is not just morally outrageous and scientifically unsound it is also pointless and exceedingly dangerous.

It may already be too late but we have to do something. If we do not try then there will be no future. We need tougher politicians whose concern is solely for the people they represent.

Politicians And Food Borne Infections

Britain's Mad Cow Disease scandal was caused when farmers turned herbivores into cannibals. But politicians have consistently defended and protected farmers – to the cost of consumers in general and meat eaters in particular.

When, in 1990, I first warned that Mad Cow Disease could prove to be a major problem I was vilified by the government for "scaremongering'. When in 1993 I repeated my warning that people who ate beef, and beef products, were taking a real risk with their health Sir Kenneth Calman, at the time Britain's chief medical officer, assured people that beef could safely be eaten by everyone. "To say that Dr Coleman's views are alarmist would be an understatement," Calman announced. It is worth remembering that it was politicians who warned us that we were all going to die of AIDS – deliberately creating the biggest false scare of the century.

When I exclusively revealed that Mad Cow Disease was being transmitted back to sheep because the carcases of cows suffering from Mad Cow Disease were being fed to sheep I was again dismissed as scaremongering. Subsequently, I was once again proved right.

It seems to me that the whole Mad Cow saga confirms my thesis that far too much decision making in our world is done in the interests of institutions and corporations rather than in the interests of individuals.

Details of how politicians allow farmers to feed their animals are coming to light with greater frequency in the wake of the appalling Mad Cow Disease scandal in the UK.

Among the cheap 'foods' fed to cattle and pigs on farms in the US are: human sewage sludge, dead cats and dogs, chicken manure, slaughterhouse waste (blood, bones and intestines), cement kiln dust, old newspapers, waste cardboard, agricultural waste (corn cobs, fruit and vegetable peelings) and old fat from restaurants and grease traps. Those who eat meat are, of course, consuming the residues of all these delectables. What a tribute all this is to the glory of twentieth century civilisation. If it is true (as I believe it is) that we are what we eat then this news should alarm all meat eaters.

What farmers choose to include in animal feed is crucial to human health. The latest horror story I have unearthed concerns the practice of feeding chicken excrement to farm livestock. This is of enormous significance to human beings because it is almost certainly an important cause of food transmitted illness. Approximately seven million Americans suffer from foodborne illnesses every year. (The figures for other western nations are proportionately similar.)

(Another reason for what is now undeniably a major epidemic is the fact that animal manure remains attached to or mixed with meat which is sent to the shops for human consumption.)

The millions of farm animals reared to satisfy the western world's apparently insatiable demand for meat between them produce an enormous amount of waste.

In America, where around seven billion chickens are raised and killed every year, the annual production of animal excrement now totals in excess of 1.5 billion tons.

Getting rid of this enormous quantity of excrement obviously poses something of a problem to farmers. You simply can't spread it all on the fields as fertiliser. (Getting rid of just some of that excrement by dumping it onto the land is yet another reason why drinking water supplies are so polluted.)

Farm animals in the United States produce ten times as much waste as the human population and an expert working at the University of Georgia recently pointed out that just seven chickens produce as much manure as one human being.

In an attempt to get rid of all this waste farmers now frequently mix animal waste into livestock feed. Chicken litter is particularly commonly dealt with in this way (perhaps because its composition makes it easier to deal with – and the quantity of it makes its disposal a real problem).

In some areas of America roughly one in every five chicken farmers use their chicken manure for cattle feed. Such laws as there are only seem to apply to commercial feed manufacturers and so farmers who keep both chicken and cattle seem to be able to feed chicken manure to cows with impunity. I have no doubt that this same practice is followed in other areas of the world where farmers keep chicken and cattle.

A big problem here is, of course, that chicken commonly carry the salmonella bug (among others). And so the cattle who eat the chicken manure also then become infected with the salmonella.

It is hardly surprising that food borne disease is now commonplace. Food from the US is, of course, imported freely into Britain and other parts of Europe.

Our politicians do nothing to halt this grossly abusive practice.

Politicians And Irradiated Food

Although food is often expensive and time consuming to grow it is often more expensive to transport, package and store it. So, to avoid the inevitable wastage (and financial cost) of food 'spoiling' food, manufacturers and distributors use a wide variety of techniques to preserve and to extend the shelf life of the products they sell.

Because of the problems associated with chemicals used to preserve food a new technique – irradiation – is now being used (with the approval of our current batch of politicians) to preserve food.

One of the substances used to irradiate food is extracted from waste products obtained from nuclear plants. Lots of scientists in very clean white coats with lots of pens in their breast pockets say that there is nothing at all to worry about.

The rays kill fungi, bacteria and insects that might otherwise make food spoil and as you can imagine this technique is proving to be very popular with food companies.

But we won't really know for sure whether irradiated food is entirely safe to eat until a large number of human beings have eaten it for a long time. One possible problem is that irradiation may reduce the number of vitamins in food. We won't probably know the significance of this for another twenty years or so. Many of the foods that seem to be most suitable for irradiation – and this includes such staples as fruit and vegetables – are the foods which are normally the healthiest, and which provide many people with vital nutrients. These foods are particularly suitable for irradiation because they go off quite quickly if they are not "preserved'. No one yet knows how many essential nutrients will be damaged by irradiation. There is, of course, also the possibility that consumers will be turned away from these excellent foods if they know that they have been irradiated.

Another problem is that irradiation does not necessarily kill all the bugs in food and it is possible that after treatment any bugs which have survived in the food may simply start to multiply again.

Some experts worry that radiating food may cause chemical changes. For example, it has been said that exposing food to ionizing radiation may just possibly result in the production of special chemical compounds called radiolytic products. These compounds will, of course, be eaten though I don't think anyone yet knows whether they will be safe to eat.

Of course, irradiated food will possibly taste and smell differently to ordinary food but since most modern, packaged food tastes pretty much like cardboard anyway I suspect that this won't really make a great deal of difference to most people.

One question which has to be asked is: "Will consumers be able to recognise when food is bad if it smells and tastes different anyway?"

I don't think anyone knows the answer to that question.

And I also don't think anyone really knows whether the individuals who work in the food irradiating plants will be exposed to danger. The first radiologists were exposed to danger because the hazards associated with the technique being used were not fully understood. I'm sure we will find out in another twenty years or so exactly what hazards are associated with radiating food.

Meanwhile, our politicians remain silent.

Water, Water Everywhere – And Not A Drop Fit To Drink

Back in 1982 – in a column I was writing in a medical journal – I raised the question of whether or not public drinking water supplies could be polluted with female hormone residues which might affect the development of male babies.

I tried to get television and radio journalists to take up the problem. And I tried to interest politicians in the topic too. But although many were horrified by the idea all soon decided that it was far too frightening and too controversial a subject.

"It'll frighten people far too much!" was the common view.

Since I was the first author to define the problem I feel that I have a responsibility to explain the full horrors of the theory. Besides – it still worries me. And so I thought I'd share it with you so that you can worry too.

For it isn't just the female hormones – residues from the contraceptive pill – which might be causing problems.

At the time when I first wrote about this subject I was so alarmed by what I had discovered that I spent over a year doing research before I wrote the article.

My fear was built on several pieces of information.

¨ Fact one: More and more people are taking increasingly powerful medicinal drugs such as antibiotics, painkillers, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets, hormones and steroids. Huge numbers of people take drugs every day. Not many people go through a whole year without taking at least one course of tablets. In Britain 42% of all women and 32% of all men will take a prescribed medicine today (and tomorrow and the day after that). The figure for women does not include the contraceptive pill. And on top of the prescribed drugs there are all the non prescription drugs that are taken – pills bought over the chemists counter and taken day in and day out.

¨ Fact two: Many drugs are excreted in the urine when the body has finished with them. For example, up to 75% of a dose of a tranquilliser may be excreted in the urine. Similar figures can be found for other drugs.

¨ Fact three: After going through standard purification procedures waste water is often discharged into fresh water rivers.

¨ Fact four: Drinking water supplies are often taken from fresh water rivers – the same rivers into which the waste water has been discharged.

¨ Fact five: Water purification programmes were designed many years ago – before doctors started prescribing vast quantities of drugs for millions of patients and before the problem of removing drug residues had been thought of.

Even someone with the modest, shoe-size IQ of a government minister can surely see where all this is leading.

Turn on a tap, make yourself a cup of tea and what you get could be a cocktail containing leftover chemicals from other peoples tranquillisers, sleeping pills, antibiotics, contraceptive pills, heart drugs, anti-arthritis pills and so on.

Back in 1982 I wrote that: "with an increasing number of people taking drugs there must be a risk that the drinking water supplies will eventually become contaminated so heavily that people using ordinary drinking water will be effectively taking drugs. Or have we already reached that point: and are people who drink water in certain areas of the country already passively involved in daily drug taking?"

Back in 1982 no one seemed to know the answer to that frightening question.

And today I still don't know the answer.

Does anyone?

Are you an involuntary drug taker? Could you be addicted to any of the drug residues which might be in your drinking water? Could you be taking regular supplies of other people's antibiotics? Are you taking contraceptive hormone leftovers? Could these drug residues be affecting your fertility? Could drug residues affect the health of any unborn children?

No one in the Labour government seems concerned by these questions.

I think they should be.

Politicians Deny The Hazard Of Electricity

Electricity is almost certainly more dangerous than you think. I believe that if you spend most of your time working with or close to an electrical appliance, if you live or work near to an electricity supply line, or if you spend your days working with electrical equipment then the chances of you developing cancer of one sort or another are considerably increased.

Of course, the men in empty suits won't tell you this. They'll frighten you half to death about minority threats such as AIDS and radon because the former is a politically useful threat and the latter seems like an excellent way to boost the building industry, but they won't give you any warning about the danger of electricity because they don't want to annoy the many large and powerful business interests which sell, market, service or supply electricity and electrical equipment.

But I certainly think that the evidence is pretty convincing. And in America, where people only vote with their wallets when they really believe something, house prices near to electricity supply lines have fallen dramatically in recent years.

Just look at these facts:

¨ The dean of a school of public health said: "The present state of affairs is like the correlation between smoking and lung cancer 30 years ago". He added that, at a conservative estimate, a third of all childhood cancers are caused by electrical fields.

¨ A study of nearly 500 children showed that children whose mothers used electric blankets when they were pregnant were two and a half times as likely to develop brain tumours.

¨ A study of nearly 700 children showed that children who lived in houses near to power distribution lines were two or three times as likely to die of leukaemia or brain tumours.

¨ A study at an American University showed that men who work as electricians or electrical engineers are ten times as likely to develop certain types of brain tumour.

¨ Experts found that workers for a telephone company who worked alongside electricity power lines were seven times as likely to develop leukaemia.

The evidence is extremely convincing. In my view the only real task left is to quantify the risks accurately. And that is proving difficult. And, you may not be surprised to hear, it is taking time.

I have recently seen newspaper reports announcing the 'good news' that there is "no hard evidence linking power lines and cancer".

The key here lies in those words "hard evidence'.

Just what does that impressive sounding phrase really mean?

Well, "hard evidence' usually means laboratory tests – commonly animal experiments. Despite the fact that it is now crystal clear to anyone with two neurones to rub together that animal experiments are of absolutely no relevance to human beings, scientists still persist in doing animal lab tests in preference to studying relevant and significant epidemiological results involving human patients.

Animal experiments can easily be used to produce commercially useful results. If one set of scientists produced hard evidence showing that one group of animals had developed cancer after being exposed to electricity I have no doubt that another set of scientists would counter this claim with evidence showing that a second group of animals exposed to electricity had not developed cancer. If this failed, the experiments showing a link would probably be dismissed as irrelevant on the grounds that animals are different to people.

If pushed to contemplate 'hard evidence' without using animal experiments the white-coated scientists would probably claim that a definite link between electricity and cancer could only be obtained by performing a double blind clinical trial. This would mean that one group of volunteer patients would have to stand directly under a power line for ten, twenty or thirty years while a second group of matched volunteer patients would have to stand directly under what looked like a power line (but wasn't) for exactly the same length of time. For the trial to be 'double blind' none of the volunteers or the scientists conducting the experiment would know which of the two possible power lines was really 'live'. At the end of the trial the researchers would simply count up the number of volunteers in each group who had developed cancer. And if a statistically significantly greater number of volunteers in the first group had developed cancer then that would be regarded as pretty 'hard evidence' that power lines cause cancer. (Although even then I have no doubt that companies around the world involved in the electricity industry would think of all sorts of reasons why the research results should be ignored).

You will not be surprised to hear that no such trial has been performed. And so there is no 'hard evidence' proving a link between electricity and cancer.

Incidentally, a similar defence (no 'hard evidence' is available) was used when I first pointed out that eating meat causes cancer. Various defenders of farmers, butchers and the huge international meat industry quickly pointed out that there is no 'hard evidence' proving such a link. I had to assume that what they meant by this was that no double blind trial had been conducted to show that volunteers who eat nothing but meat for thirty years are more likely to get cancer than volunteers who eat something that looks, tastes and smells like meat but isn't. The volunteers would not be allowed to eat vegetables – or indeed any other foods – with their meat since these might interfere with the trial. For reasons which I can understand, but not accept or condone, the meat industry doesn't seem keen to accept the overwhelming epidemiological evidence linking meat eating to cancer.

The same eternally useful phrase ('hard evidence') is sometimes used by those who struggle to defend the tobacco industry.

"There is no hard evidence linking tobacco to cancer," they will claim.

And they are right.

To get hard evidence linking the smoking of tobacco to cancer scientists would have to persuade one group of volunteers to smoke cigarettes containing tobacco for a lengthy period of time (say thirty years) and another, matching group of volunteers to smoke cigarettes containing no tobacco for an equal length of time. At the end of the thirty years the two groups would be compared. If there was evidence that there were more cases of cancer in one group than in the other then that would be 'hard evidence'.

It is also sometimes argued that there is no 'hard evidence' linking drunken driving to road traffic accidents.

Once again, to obtain 'hard evidence' of such an association scientists would have to...well, I'm sure you can guess the rest.

The fact is, of course, that there is overwhelming epidemiological evidence to support all these links. I firmly believe that there is plenty of available evidence to show that drunken driving leads to more accidents, that smoking tobacco increases your chances of developing lung cancer and that eating meat causes cancer.

And I also believe that living under – or working close to – a power line, increases your chances of developing cancer too.

There is plenty of convincing epidemiological evidence available. But generations of spin doctors have, over the years, persuaded doctors and journalists and politicians not to regard epidemiological research as "hard evidence'.

The one thing that all these health threats have in common is that they are strongly protected by large, powerful and profitable industries. There is a good deal of money at stake. The electricity industry and the meat industry are both understandably keen to delay the day when a link has to be acknowledged between their highly profitable products and cancer (or, indeed, any illness).

Electrical Appliances May Be Dangerous Too

In my view the threat doesn't just come from power lines – any electromagnetic field can be a danger. The closer you are to an electrical or magnetic field – the greater the danger.

The industry experts don't agree with me about these hazards. They insist that electricity is safe. But would they tell you if they thought it wasn't? And can you trust them?

The electricity companies are well aware that it is vital to prevent a legal precedent being established. Eight of Britain's top electricity companies recently raised an £8 million fighting fund to spend on lawyers and other experts as the law suits over electromagnetic fields start to flow. Personally, I rather doubt that electricity companies would tell you even if they believed that electrical fields posed a threat – if they did they would be opening themselves wide open to a million lawsuits.

In the next few years there will be a great deal of discussion about whether or not electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can cause cancer. It isn't difficult to predict that the electrical industry will consistently argue that there is no 'hard evidence' to support the claim that there is any link between electricity and cancer. However, my advice is that you should assume that such a link does exist. I am convinced by the epidemiological data – which is widely based and, in my view, about as solid as you can get. And huge numbers of people are involved. In the UK, for example, there are around 50,000 people living near or underneath high voltage cables. How many homes are there which do not have an electricity supply and a range of electrical appliances?

So, why do politicians remain silent?

Money seems a possible answer.

Cancer isn't the only possible hazard associated with electricity. Severe and persistent headaches, muscle pain, otherwise unexplained fatigue, damaged immune system (with a resultant increased susceptibility to infection), Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), cataracts and pregnancy problems are some of the other possible dangers which may be linked to exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiation.

The international electrical industry, and associated government bodies around the world are, not surprisingly, busily reassuring consumers that the risks associated with electrity are either non existent or slight (and are sneering at people like me who dare to suggest that there are hazards) while at the same time they are, in my view, putting far too little effort into trying to find the truth about the risks.

The reality is that the dangers I'm worried about exist when people spend large chunks of their lives in close proximity to electrically operated equipment.

I agree that it sometimes seems as though everything in life is a potential health hazard. It is vital to put things into perspective and to try to assess the relative hazards of different dangers. But we need courageous politicians who have the guts to force the electricity industry to ask the questions which need asking.

Microwave Ovens: A Major Health Hazard?

There are millions of microwave ovens in use around the world. Unlike traditional ovens they work by using short wave electromagnetic radiation to heat up food.

But, although microwave ovens are widely sold, widely used and sit in millions of kitchens heating (and affecting) the food that people eat neither governments nor manufacturers seem to have done proper clinical trials to find out exactly how safe these products are.

In my book Food for Thought (first published in 1994 by the European Medical Journal) I asked specific questions about microwave ovens.

The first questions were: "Are the waves that are used to do the cooking harmful to human beings?" and "If any of the microwaves escape from the oven will they harm your health?"

The other question, possibly even more alarming, was even simpler: "Does using a microwave oven affect the food you eat in any harmful way?"

In 1998 The Journal of Natural Science published an extremely significant paper dealing with the effects of microwaves on humans. The paper, was written by William Kopp, who worked at the Atlantis Rising Educational Center in Portland, Oregon from 1977 to 1979 and who, while working there, gathered together early documents detailing what was then known about the harmful effects of microwave ovens on human beings.

By writing this paper Kopp seems to have annoyed a powerful lobby. According to the Journal of Natural Science he subsequently changed his name and disappeared. This may sound dramatic but I have met another researcher into the danger of microwave ovens who has been subjected to threats and whose attempts to publicise the truth about microwave ovens has been met with lawsuits and other attempts to silence him.

Kopp reported that microwave cooking ovens were originally developed by the Nazis for use by mobile support operations during the planned invasion of the Soviet Union. The aim was to eliminate the logistical problem of finding cooking fuels – as well as to cut down cooking times. The initial German research was conducted by the Germans in 1942-3 at the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, during the Barbarossa military campaign.

After the end of World War II, writes Kopp, the Allies discovered the medical research which related to microwave ovens. Experimental microwave equipment was transferred both to the US War Department and to the Soviet Union for investigation. In the Soviet Union research work was done at the Institute of Radio Technology at Kinsk and the Institute of Radio Technology at Rajasthan.

It was in the Soviet Union that most of the research was done and published. And it was the Soviet Union, reported Kopp, which found that a human did not even need to ingest microwaved food substances to be in danger, because even exposure to the energy field itself was sufficient to cause serious adverse side effects.

Kopp pointed out that Soviet scientists were so alarmed about the hazards associated with microwave ovens that the Soviet Union produced a state law in 1976 which forbad the use of any microwave apparatus.

Biological Effects Of Exposure

Here is a list of some of the adverse effects listed by the Soviet scientists back in the 1970s as having been observed when human beings were exposed to microwaves.

1. A destabilisation in the production of hormones and the maintenance of hormone balance in both males and females.

2. Brainwave disturbance in the alpha, theta and delta wave signal patterns.

3. A breakdown of the human 'life energy field'.

4. A degeneration and destabilisation of internal cellular membrane properties.

5. A degeneration and breakdown of electrical nerve impulses within the cerebrum.

6. A long term cumulative loss of vital energies within humans, animals and plants which were located within a 500 m radius of the operational equipment.

7. Long lasting residual effects in the nervous system and lymphatic systems.

8. Negative psychological effects (produced as a result of the brain wave pattern changes) which included: loss of memory, loss of ability to concentrate, changes in intellect and emotional responses and sleep disturbances.

Soviet Conclusions Confirmed

More recently obtained evidence seems to confirm that the danger of microwave ovens is not confined to what happens to the food that is cooked inside them.

Despite the protective shields with which they may be fitted microwave ovens give out extra low frequency electromagnetic fields which may be high enough to produce lymphatic cancer in children. And when white blood cells are exposed to the sort of electromagnetic fields given out by microwave ovens their ability to fight disease may be reduced dramatically.

World wide there are now over 7,000 scientific publications in existence dealing with the health damage caused by short wave transmitters. The damage to cells and cell membranes caused by electromagnetic fields has been well known to scientists for years. (Although, naturally, the relevant industries have steadfastly followed the early example of the tobacco industry and denied that their products could possible cause cancer or, indeed, any other serious health problem).

Cancer Causing Effects Of Microwave Ovens

The scientists who examined food which had been cooked in microwave ovens came across a number of serious problems. Here is a summary, listed in William P Kopp's paper in the Journal of Natural Science of some of the serious changes which have been identified:

1. In a statistically high percentage of persons, microwaved foods caused stomach and intestinal cancerous growths, as well as a gradual breakdown of the function of the digestive and excretive systems.

2. When meat was heated sufficiently for eating the cancer causing agent d-nitrosodiethanoloamine was created.

3. Cancer causing agents in milk and cereal grains were produced.

4. Eating food that had been heated by microwave resulted in a higher percentage of cancer cells within the blood.

5. Microwave emissions caused serious alterations to frozen fruits when they were thawed in a microwave oven.

6. Changes took place in raw, cooked or frozen vegetables when they were exposed to microwaves for 'extremely short' periods of time.

7. Because of chemical changes which had taken place in food that was heated in a microwave oven human lymphatic systems malfunctioned with a result that the human body did not adequately protect itself against some types of cancerous growth.

Food Value Destroyed

In addition, scientists have found that microwave heating also causes :"significant decreases in the nutritive value of all foods researched".

Among other serious problems they found that there was a drop in the availability of B complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and essential minerals in foods that had been heated in a microwave oven.

The September 1998 edition of The Journal of Natural Science contained yet more evidence drawing attention to the possible hazards associated with microwave ovens.

1. In 1990 the Berlin Foundation for Product Tests found that all the microwave ovens it tested emitted microwaves while operating.

2. As far as microwaves are concerned the most sensitive part of the body is the lens in the eye. Anyone who operates a microwave oven (particularly at eye level) which leaks could go blind.

3. Studies with broccoli and carrots have revealed that cell structures are destroyed in the microwave oven. (In conventional ovens the cell walls remain intact.)

4. Cooking in a microwave oven creates free radicals – known to be a possible cancer trigger.

5. Food cooked in a microwave oven may be cooked unevenly – leaving possible 'cold spots' inside the food. This may result in the possible development of listeria or salmonella infection.

6. Water samples were heated, both conventionally and in a microwave oven. The water samples were then used to help grain germinate. Grain did not germinate when in contact with water which had been heated in a microwave oven.

7. At the end of the 1980s the American National Council for Radiation Protection is reported to have announced that there was an increased incidence of malformations among children of mothers exposed to microwave ovens.

8. In 1991 a patient in Oklahoma is alleged to have died of anaphylaxis after receiving a blood transfusion with blood warmed in a microwave oven. It was claimed that the microwave irradiation had altered the blood and thereby caused the patient's death.

9. Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California have discovered that microwaving human breast milk at high temperatures produced a marked decrease in activity of all the tested anti-infective factors naturally present in breast milk. The growth of E.coli was 18 times that observed in normal human breast milk.

10. In 1989 the Swiss biologist Dr Hans U.Hertel, together with another researcher, conducted a study on the effects of microwaved food which proved that food which had been cooked in a microwave oven caused significant changes in the blood. The authors noted that these changes indicated the beginning of a pathological process (eg the beginning of cancer). Afterwards the second researcher, who had worked with Dr Hertel, disassociated himself from the results and his earlier interpretation of the results. In a private letter to Dr Hertel the second researcher admitted that he feared 'consequences' and that the safety of his family was more important to him than anything else.

The October/November 1998 issue of Nexus magazine reports that a physicist has recently presented research showing that the human body generates and emits its own low intensity radiation. The physicist believes that the human body's metabolism generates its own electromagnetic field. The weak emissions of light which are produced by the body are an outward sign of an orderly, functioning metabolism. This research opens up another series of questions about the effect external sources of microwave radiation may have on living tissues.

It seems perfectly clear to me that microwave ovens should be banned. And any such ban should only be lifted if the manufacturers are prepared to do research which either shows that these original research findings are inaccurate or shows that there are ways to counteract the problems.

But a ban on microwave ovens seems about as likely as the medical profession standing up and admitting that the orthodox approach to cancer treatment has failed.

The manufacture and sale of microwave ovens is now big business and these convenient items have become fixtures in canteens, restaurants, hotels and homes all over the world.

In The Journal of Natural Science Dr Hans U.Hertel of the World Foundation for Natural Science in Switzerland, points out that: "...research of the biological effects of electromagnetic fields on life, especially connected with technical microwaves, is successfully being suppressed. Such research projects are, therefore, only possible on a private basis while the relevant authorities do everything they can to keep the findings from the public, denying them, making them look ridiculous or dismissing them as non scientific."

I believe that Dr Hertel is absolutely right.

Mainstream newspapers, magazines, television and radio have consistently ignored or denied the threat posed by microwave ovens. Politicians have refused to ask for these devices to be properly tested. In my experience, attempts to publicise the possible hazards (and the fact that the industry making and selling microwave ovens has never done adequate testing on the effects on human health) seem to have been met with more concern for the health of the microwave industry than for the health and safety of consumers.

Back in January 1990 I warned, in a newspaper article, that thousands might die every year from the effect of food cooked in microwave ovens. I pointed out that it could be 10, 20 or 30 years before the damage done by microwave ovens could be fully assessed and added that I was appalled that manufacturers had not fully tested micro wave ovens.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) subsequently broadcast a programme attacking me for this warning and blaming me as the source of a 'scare' about the heating of milk in microwave ovens. My offer to appear on the programme to discuss the issue and defend my point of view was rejected.

(Rather to my surprise, my complaint about the BBC's Food and Drink programme was upheld by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission which described the BBC programme as "unfair to Dr Coleman". )

Chapter Two:

We Have The Power To Change All This

If our world is in a mess (which I believe it is) it is our fault, for you and I have the power. You and I decide who represents us in Parliament. We pay our political representatives to run things on our behalf. But we have the ultimate responsibility for what goes on. And we've screwed up.

Our single biggest mistake has been to hand over virtually all our authority to politicians who are members of three big political parties.

The country is run by politicians who put themselves first, their party a very close second, the country a distant third and you and I so far last that we are virtually forgotten about. Politicians make decisions in the interests of their party before the country or their constituents because the party controls their careers.

Party politicians are beholden to and terrified of the very small group of people in each constituency who decide which candidate to select (or deselect).

At Westminster politicians are controlled by the party. Politicians know that the only way to get any real power is to suck up to the morons who have already sucked up to the morons in charge who, in turn, got where they are by sucking up to the morons who were in charge before they were.

It is hardly surprising that an unhealthy proportion of MPs were originally trained as lawyers. Lawyers are used to being two faced and lying for a living and can, therefore, cope with all this. Plato once pointed out that the "swarming of lawyers is a mark of a diseased and profligate republic". When the lawyers also become politicians the disease becomes even more malignant. It also seems to me to be sigificant that most modern MPs have little or no real experience of life. Many are bereft of ideas and principles; they are front men and women for parties with no real policies

Look At What We've Got

Look at the three parties we have chosen to run the country for us.

The Conservative party is much hated, totally discredited and irretrievably corrupt. I've met hundreds of Tory politicians but most of them don't have the wit or wisdom to tie their own shoelaces or clean their teeth without professional help.

The Labour party, once the stronghold of honest working men, is now packed with brown nosed, oleaginous Uriah Heeps, as slippery as eels, as trustworthy as investment advisors; unctuous and cryptorchid and with all the charm and sincerity of silk suited vomit. Labour leader Tony Blair has talked of 'traditional values' but I find it difficult to believe that he even knows what this phrase means. It seems to me that the Labour Party will say, and promise, anything that they think will win them votes.

As for the Liberal Democrats...well, I truly believe that a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote well and truly wasted. The Liberal Democrats offers all the disadvantages of party politics and none of the dubious advantages. Vote Liberal Democrat and you get a candidate who has to put his party first but whose party cannot offer voters anything in return.

Liberal Democrats seem to me to be so terrified of upsetting any potential voter that they are not prepared to take a stance on anything. I have never known such a bunch of passionless fence sitters.

The Only Hope

I believe that the only hope for Britain is for Parliament to become the preserve of independent, strong willed, plain speaking candidates, who are driven not by the desire to carve a career but by simple, unadorned passion for truth and justice.

I would like to see a Parliament made up of men and women who believe in justice, freedom and honour and who believe that the rights of the individual come before the rights of the State. In the world of professional politics today passion is unfashionable. The qualities most admired seem to be "neutral', 'objective' and "fairminded'. But I cannot think of one social, technical or artistic advance produced by a 'bland' man.

I would dearly like to see the party political system replaced with a system whereby individual constituencies were represented by passionate, determined individuals who held strong views (and wanted to see their views turned into reality) but who also cared about the people they were elected to represent.

I would love to see voters choosing MPs not according to party politics but according to the worth of each individual candidate.

A Parliament composed of strong minded individuals who elected their own leaders and managed the country with a firm hand could move Britain forwards with real vigour. The country's politicians should be a board of directors responsible to the shareholders (the electors). And the day to day administration of the country should be in the hands of individuals who are forced to take real responsibility for what they do. Those directors, administrators and managers who succeed in running the country well should be rewarded. Those who fail should be fired.

A Peter Pan Grasp Of Reality

Whether you spend your life cleaning out lavatories, giving blow jobs to weary businessmen or performing haemorrhoidectomies you can start each new grey day comforted with the thought that you are surely unlikely to make such a cock-up of your job as Tony Blair is making of his.

Britain's premier buffoon seems to have Peter Pan's grasp of reality. He genuinely seems to believe that he's solving the Irish problem. He is trying to cut crime by making more laws and doesn't seem to have realised that because his government's latest gestapo style legislation means that it is almost impossible to do anything without breaking the law the crime statistics are bound to keep on going up. Britain is drifting slowly down the economic scale; it won't be long before we see Nigeria and Mexico sweep past us on the road up to prosperity.

Blair seems so staggeringly challenged in the skill and talent department that I'm beginning to suspect that the nation is being managed by an unfertilised ovum. Maybe the sperm never got there. Maybe the egg just developed by itself.

But Tony Blair isn't the real problem.

What really terrifies me about our cold-blooded and, to me, seemingly intellectually-challenged leader, and this wakes me up at night and it should worry you too, is not that many voters think he's blessed with as much charisma as a used condom and rather less intelligence than a coffee table, incapable of taking on the responsibility of being a conductor on a driver only bus, but that something like half the population think he is sensible, sane, rational human being doing a good job under difficult circumstances.

Who, in the name of Zeus, are these people who think that the man pretending to be Prime Minister is doing a good job?

How can anyone think that Tony Blair is playing billiards with the right number of balls? Blair, like the rest of the Labour government, makes plankton look cuddly and bright. Can you imagine Tony Blair ever saying "I have a dream!" and really meaning it?

Our entire government makes Harold Macmillan look like a statesman. Even dead Harold Macmillan has more leadership qualities than the current cabinet of zombies have between them.

The only sensible option is a political revolution.

Chapter One:

Let's Start A Political Revolution

We can either sit back, watch TV and let the government get on with running (and ruining) the country their way – on behalf of the large corporations which they now represent; or we can try to protest using traditional methods (which won't work because the government controls them); or we can try something new and daring that could really make a difference.

It is my belief that in order to bring power back to the people we need to do something new and dramatic. We need to find a way around the powerful alliance between businessmen and politicians.

A physical uprising is ruled out because modern governments rule by force and control the media. A modern flag waving, barricade building revolution would last no more than minutes.

I believe that the only answer is a new political party: The People's Party.

We have to put power back where it truly belongs: in the hearts and minds of people who care.

Outdated Fears And Prejudices

The way that animals are treated, and the ways in which pro-animal campaigners are frequently ignored, constantly marginalised and often victimised are typical examples of much that is wrong with our society.

Our politicians are controlled not by the people who voted them into power (and whose views they were elected to represent) but, to a very large extent, by those with wealth and control of the media. Most important of all, our leaders are now controlled by the social and commercial institutions which we have created.

Most people are too cowed and too easily convinced by outdated prejudices and fears to fight for change.

As J. Howard Moore pointed out back in 1906: "The persistence with which savage ideas and instincts continue to influence men long after those ideas and instincts have really become anachronistic and vestigial is well illustrated by civilised men and women everywhere. The sun continues to 'rise' and 'set' in all civilised lands just as it used to do to the savage, although men have long since learned that it does not do either."

Many people voted for Labour at the 1997 election because they believed that if Labour won power then things would change.

But things haven't worked out that way. Labour has bowed down to farmers, butchers, hunters, the Lords, foreign dictators wanting to buy arms, drug companies, food companies and all the very same people who ruled the world when the Tories were in power. Nothing has changed except the names and faces of the men and women with the chauffeur driven cars and the public expense accounts. Once again we have a government which seems to be run by people who believe we exist to serve them – rather than the other way round.

Time For A New Strategy For Success

The Labour Party, the only party to make any serious promises on animal issues, has shown that it does not value the promises it makes. Machiavelli said: "Put not your faith in princes'. I rather suspect that if he had been alive today he would have said: "Put not your faith in the Labour Party." It is now clear that Labour politicians will, like Conservative politicians, ignore promises if these appear to be inconvenient. There is, therefore, no hope offered by traditional politicians.

Pre-1997 election strategies for improving animal welfare have to be abandoned because they are no longer valid; they were largely based on persuading politicians (via the public) that certain issues were important and needed action. This approach does not work because politicians can no longer be trusted.

Followers Not Leaders

There once was a time when (at least some) politicians were honest and honourable and led from the front: inspired by personal beliefs and a sense of duty. There was a time when politicians would resign in disgrace and embarrassment if found guilty of wrong doing or poor judgement. That time has long gone.

Today's politicians react rather than act. They believe in expediency rather than integrity. Modern politicians are followers, not leaders, and they adapt their policies (if that is not too grand a word for a disparate set of ever changing prejudices) to fit what they believe will be in the best interests of themselves and their corporate sponsors. These aren't 'policies' – they are 'convenience policies'.

Once they have found a 'policy' which their researchers tell them will go down well they sell it like a new brand of soap. Passion and conviction are not words which modern politicians would understand.

(There was an excellent if light hearted example of the way politicians follow rather than lead during the World Cup in the summer of 1998. At the end of one important match I watched with amusement as a leading world political figure followed the crowd around him as though playing 'Simple Simon'. After the crowd around him started to clap he started to clapped. After they climbed onto their seats he climbed onto his seat. Every movement he made mimicked the crowd around him. He always followed and never led.)

Modern politicians may start out with ideals, principles and convictions but they gradually convince themselves that they have to be pragmatic and practical in order to achieve power.

Once they have the power they continue to prevaricate, partly because they are used to it, partly because they have left their principles so far behind that they have forgotten what it means to do something solely because you believe it is the right thing to do, and partly because they have fallen in love with the trappings of power, prestige, fame and success – all of which they are desperate to retain at any cost.

Politicians excuse their failure to act by claiming that if they did act they might prejudice their political careers – neatly and conveniently forgetting the fact that their original reason for acquiring political power was, allegedly at least, to be able to do the very thing they are now saying they cannot do because it might jeopardise their position.

Political parties used to have ideals and principles. Without those essential ingredients all that is left is layer upon layer of half truths and downright lies.

Today's politicians sell the power and responsibility they have been loaned to the corporate sponsors with the deepest pocket.

Next time you are told by an 'official' body that tap water is safe to drink, that all alternative anti-cancer drugs are unsafe and ineffective, that all prescription drugs are thoroughly tested, that a vegetarian diet will lead to nutritional shortages, that heart disease must be treated with drugs or surgery, that chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are the only way to tackle cancer and so on and so on you should remember the track record of official and semi official organisations.

In the medium and long term we need politicians who will insist that the truth be told.

Our politicians have failed us.

The great political leaders (Lincoln, Churchill and de Gaulle spring to mind as examples) didn't follow polls or focus groups or devote themselves to telling everyone what they believed they wanted to hear. They didn't employ hordes of scriptwriters, advisers, make up artists and campaign consultants. They didn't have image advisers and they didn't have their teeth capped or their hair dyed. They did have ideas, beliefs and philosophies to offer.

It is hardly surprising that honest, sensitive, thoughtful citizens who do care tend to feel demoralised and despondent and to lose hope in the future.

When footballers behave badly on the field no one is surprised when the fans behave badly on the terraces and in the stands.

When politicians behave dishonestly it is hardly surprising that the nations they lead become devoid of courage and moral fibre.

When politicians do what they think they can get away with, and are driven solely by a need to be re-elected, when they take no notice of what they have promised and are unconcerned with what is right or wrong, it is hardly surprising that there is a general feeling of spiritual malaise.

Political integrity may seem a long way away from endemic social 'depression' but it isn't.

What Law Says Politicians Must Be Dishonourable?

Why do we have to accept that politicians have to hand in their morals and their ethical beliefs when they are elected to represent us? There is no law of nature which says that politicians cannot be honourable.

We can do better than Tony Blair and the Labour Party. Their betrayal should be a stimulus to us to fight for change.

The politicians (whether they be members of the Conservative party or the Labour party) will argue that they have to make changes slowly and that compromise is essential.

But why should they (and that means we) compromise on issues which are moral and ethical in nature?

Would the world as we know it really fall apart if the big, immoral drug companies took their business elsewhere – or, better still, went out of business? Would there really be a major threat to our way of life and our standard of living if Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles could not go hunting?

Should we not stick to our principles even if sticking to our principles means making sacrifices and making changes that might be uncomfortable?

We Need A Battle Plan

Just hoping that things will get better will get us nowhere. The animal abusers (whether they be hunters, vivisectors, butchers or genetic engineers) work well together; drawn together by their evil purposes.

Orthodox political campaigning is utterly pointless. The politicians have shown that they are prepared to make promises which they will break without turning a hair. They do not hesitate to renege on deals they make and have no sense of shame.

Peaceful protest is becoming more and more difficult. The Labour government is not above banning demonstrations. The Labour government has shown that it does not believe in freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is no longer a right or a reality.

Keeping Your Head Down Isn't An Option

There are, of course, those who would rather be kept in the dark about what is happening in the world. "I feel very depressed about the state of the world," wrote one reader of mine recently. "I agree with you that we can no longer trust politicians, doctors, bureaucrats, food companies, the police, the courts or, indeed, anyone in power. Everywhere I look I see betrayal and deceit. But I don't agree with you when you say that we should all protest. Several of my friends tried protesting – two got arrested, one lost his job and one was thrown out of his rented accommodation because his landlady saw his picture in the local paper and decided that he was a troublemaker. There isn't anything we can do about the way things are. The only answer is to keep your head down, lead a quiet life and hope no one notices you."

I understand that people frequently feel frustrated. Believe me I get angry and frustrated too. I too am sometimes overwhelmed with a sense of despair. I too cry tears of anger, sorrow and frustration.

For thirty years now I have been harassed, threatened and sued by the people who want to keep on abusing people and animals. My books and advertisements have been banned and I have been fired by newspaper and magazine editors more times than I can remember. (On one occasion an editor fired me with the words: "Your trouble is that you make people think'. I liked that. I would be proud to have it as an epitaph.)

The General Medical Council once told me that they got more complaints about me than about any other doctor. None of the complaints came from patients – they all came from drug companies and other individuals and organisations whose nefarious activities I had exposed. In the absence of any other excuse they all wanted me to be struck off for "advertising'.

I have been endlessly lied about. I have been vilified by government ministers, Department of Health spokesmen, doctors' representatives and numerous other official and quasi official bodies. In every case the complaint has been that I have threatened an industry of some kind. In each case I have, in the long run, been proved right.

It has often been tempting to lock the door, draw the curtains and give up fighting the establishment.

But I can't and I won't.

As long as people who have power cheat and lie, break promises and suppress information that should be available to everyone I will continue to fight to uncover hidden and disguised truths.

It seems to me that it is important that the truth is published and that people can read it. It's important that as many of us as is possible know what is going on and it is also important that the corrupt and the cruel know that we know.

The truth is that we can make a difference. Alone you and I can only make a very small difference. But together we can make a real difference. Together we can change things. We have already changed many things over the past few decades.

Fighting against injustice and for the truth can be a tiring business.

Because fighting and complaining about the big issues is tiring most people become unquestioning and uncritical. They will complain if a shop assistant over charges them but they won't take on the big issues. Most people know that the truth can be a dangerous commodity and so they don't want to know the truth.

However, I believe that keeping your head down is selfish and ultimately defeatist. Those who do not protest about the obscenely fascist and grotesquely unfriendly actions of governments and large corporations are just as guilty as the politicians and business executives who are responsible (either consciously or by default) for attempting to turn the entire world into a massive '1984' style Prisoner of War camp.

We have to protest – it is the only worthwhile sign that we are truly free. We have to stand up for what we believe in. We have to make our voices heard. We have to protest about unjust laws. We have to complain about immoral and unethical practices. If we don't stick to our ideals and our values then we lose our pride, our passions and our very reason for living.

Politicians Have Weaknesses

And we can make a difference because politicians (and large corporations) all have their weaknesses.

Today's politicians, for example, are concerned with just two things: being re-elected, and therefore retaining their power, and how history will see them. They know that they will not be remembered for what they did but for what people think they did. History isn't about what really happened; it is about what people believe happened. And, by and large, what they believe is what they are told.

Knowing their weaknesses, their vanities and their needs helps give us strength and power over the thoughtless, the selfish, the uncaring and the insensitive beings who are raping our planet and abusing and torturing human beings and animals.

But there is one thing which gives us more power than anything else; one weapon which is ultimately irresistible. And that is the truth.

By finding writing about and talking about the truth we can bring light into dark corners. It is our only real hope.

However corrupt the politicians may become we must always keep our spirit alive. We must not allow ourselves to be frightened into silence about the things we care about. If we all do nothing on the grounds that the little we can do cannot possibly make a difference then what can possibly ever change?

The truth is the one weapon which will eventually defeat the politicians. The truth terrifies modern politicians just as much as sunlight terrifies Dracula.

Speak out on topics you care about. The politicians will ignore you today. And they will ignore you tomorrow. But eventually the truth will win. It always does.

Articulate Without Saying Anything

Politics is now a cruelly dishonest business dominated by telegenic politicians who manage to be articulate and superficially charming without saying anything. The Labour Party has betrayed any principles it may have had before the election. Pro-animal campaigners can gain nothing from talking to Labour Party politicians (or lobbying them). Labour politicians have already promised us what we want – and then failed to deliver. What is the point in talking to them any more? How can we possibly believe anything they say in future? We can't and shouldn't.

We have to show politicians that by betraying animals – and us – they have endangered their own future.

The only thing politicians really care about is power – their own power.

Modern Politics Is All About Expediency And Image

Modern politics is all about superficialities. There is no room for honest passion. And there is too much secrecy. There is no place for simple decency. Consistency and honesty are less relevant than expediency and image. British Prime Minister Tony Blair was (like US President Bill Clinton) elected because he has superficial good looks. He is just another lawyer with a synthetic, toothy smile and a smarmy carpet salesman manner. Is it any coincidence that Blair and Clinton and their wives are all lawyers? (In October 1998 the US House of Representatives Judiciary committee had 37 members of whom 34 were lawyers.)

Members of the Labour government probably believe that they know best, and that the electors just don't understand how difficult it is to run a country. They will argue that many different views have to be balanced.

But the end result is that we are being governed by compromise. Labour's failure to fulfil its pre-election pledges means that millions of us – the honest, caring majority – have been disenfranchised by a cynical government.

The bottom line is that morals and ethics are ignored.

No one takes any notice of what is right or wrong any more. It is like saying: "OK, we know that Mr Hitler is a rather bad chap but he has got all those gas ovens heated up and if we move in and interfere there will be a terrible effect on the German economy and unemployment. We have to think of the long term and the big picture."

Our Current Politicians Don't Care

Experience since May 1997 has taught us that our existing politicians do not care about the people who put them into power. They do not care about the poor, the sick or the old. They do not care about moral issues and their actions are not defined or regulated by ethical boundaries.

It says a lot about his attitudes that as British Prime Minister Tony Blair felt able publicly to support US President Bill Clinton throughout the bizarre and constantly unfolding tale of 1998. (It is interesting to compare Blair's support of Clinton to the way the Labour Party reacted when Conservative politicians were accused of 'sleaze' in the run up to the 1997 election.)

The Labour Party has taught us that politicians who want power are prepared to find out what people want – and to promise it, knowing that once they have the power they crave they can shimmy and shake and keep most of the voters at bay with an almost endless series of excuses and fresh promises about what is going to happen in the future.

Politicians in power do not care about their supporters; they have no self respect, no sense of honesty, no sense of shame and cannot be trusted. They will lie to get the power they need.

The supreme political qualities used to be virtue and honesty. No more.

Freedom Of Speech Suppressed

After I was prevented from travelling to Witney to speak out at the Hillgrove Farm demonstration against the Labour Party's broken promises I wrote to every Member of Parliament in Britain pointing out that even if they did not agree with my views on animal abuse they must surely be concerned about the government's refusal to allow me the basic human right to criticise them in public.

Some MPs bravely took up the cause but none got very far with it – despite their courage and determination. Most MPs didn't even try.

More worrying still was the fact that Britain's newspapers, magazines, TV stations and radio stations were virtually completely disinterested in the fact that the Labour government had successfully (and quietly) found a way to end freedom of speech in Britain.

Broken Promises

Since coming to power the Labour Party has done nothing but break promises. (It has also spent a billion pounds on a dome to celebrate a disposable government's reign.)

Just a few decades ago politicians would give up their jobs if they made serious mistakes or were found guilty of having lied. Today's breed of professional politicians seem to regard integrity as a weakness and deceit as an essential tool. Politicians hardly ever resign.

London today is full of political hustlers playing an insiders game at our expense. London has become an enterprise zone for morally disadvantaged politicians, lobbyists and spin specialists. If the England cricket team had spinners as good as those allied to the Labour Party then England sports fans would be in heaven.

And yet the Labour government's voice has been silent on significant world issues. Britain, along with the US, Japan, France, Germany and Russia is still regarded as one of the world's big six and yet, in autumn 1998, at a time when the world desperately needed leadership, when there were crises in Russia (where the devalued rouble and economic chaos threatened worldwide economic instability) and America (where the President was threatened with impeachment) the British government contributed nothing of value.

We truly deserve something better than the politicians we have. We need something better. And the animals certainly deserve and need something better.

It is often said that the proper, democratic way to change an unjust law is to campaign, to make the subject an election issue, to help sympathetic politicians get elected and, in the end, to see the unjust law changed. We all have a duty and a responsibility to fight against laws which are unjust. But the existing democratic way no longer works. Which party can pro animal campaigners vote for today? The Labour Party said it would stop hunting (and other obscenities). But it betrayed the voters. We all have a duty to campaign against unjust laws and we have a duty to campaign for changes in society. But our present political system offers no realistic hope.

Broken Trust

An inevitable consequence of all the broken trust between politicians and electors is the fact that most people no longer trust their government.

This is by no means a uniquely British phenomenon. It is clear that around the world voters do not trust their political representatives. A recent US poll showed that a large proportion of the American public think that their government is corrupt, secretive and conspiratorial. The poll, found that:

a) 51% of Americans believe it likely that federal officials were directly responsible for President Kennedy's assassination.

b) More than 33% of Americans suspect that the US Navy shot down TWA flight 800 either on purpose or by accident.

c) Nearly 50% of Americans suspect that FBI agents deliberately started the fires that killed 81 Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas in 1993.

d) 60% of Americans believe that the US government is withholding information about military abuses in the Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

e) More than 50% of Americans believe it is possible that the CIA intentionally permitted Central American drug dealers to sell cocaine to inner city black children in the US.

One US State Governor commented: "When we believe that our free institutions can commonly be corrupted to dark and evil purposes it is a statement of a feeling of helplessness. We are in for some turbulent years ahead as a nation."

We Must Stick To Our Principles

A magazine recently listed a well known writer's ten pieces for advice for young people. One piece of advice was never to do anything solely as a matter of principle.

How terribly sad.

Sadly, we are all under constant pressure to betray our principles. We are constantly encouraged and rewarded for editing our honest feelings. We say things we don't really mean because we don't want to offend someone. We hide our feelings if we think they may cause embarrassment to others. We keep quiet when someone is criticising a friend because we don't want to make a fuss or cause trouble. We are tempted to do this so often that it becomes second nature. We end up denying our identity and integrity.

I believe that no one – whatever their age – should keep quiet when something is happening of which they disapprove.

Telling the truth may not do your career much good but what is a career worth if you have no professional integrity?

If we make choices and decisions based on what we believe (rather than what is convenient or popular) then we have the pleasure of living life on our terms.

If we don't speak out against people who do things that are wrong then we are as guilty as the people doing the things we know are wrong.

Breaking The Mould

The Labour Party has failed us. The Conservative Party isn't going to give us the alternative we need. The Liberal Democrats have no policies which could possibly be described as revolutionary or threatening to the establishment. The Green party is not a real threat to the existing party structure and – even more important – it is not perceived to be a threat.

The simple fact is that if we are going to right injustices and create a morally and ethically sound society we do need something new. We need a revolution.

I believe that the only answer is to create a new political party: a party which will grow so quickly that it will put pressure on existing politicians of all political parties to listen to us – a party which will grow and threaten their very existence. A party which will be based on truth and which will not shrink from telling the truth. A party which will not be afraid to attack other parties, and politicians, when it is appropriate to do so. A party whose leaders will not sit down, shake hands and have a cup of tea with Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and members of the Labour Party at the end of the day.

We have to break the mould of British politics – not be a part of it.

We need a party full of politicians who refuse to sit on fences. A party for people who have strong, ethically based convictions and who have the courage to stick by them. We need a party represented by independent, strong minded, strong principled individuals.

One of the big problems with the Labour Party (and, indeed, the Conservative and the Liberal Democrats) is that backbench MPs, who might be expected to have a good deal of control over the Party leadership, are, generally speaking, reluctant to criticise those members of their party who have the real power. Backbench MPs know that their chances of winning promotion are entirely dependent upon their toeing the Party line. The MP who speaks his mind will not last long. Any MP who might be tempted to criticise his Party leaders will risk losing his membership of the party – and losing his seat, his power and his job. Most backbenchers are so untalented that they are terrified of annoying their leaders lest they be thrown out of their party and lose their livelihood.

Politicians Have Lost Touch

The existing political establishment believes that the system is doing fine. The Labour Party think the system is fine. The Conservatives think the system is fine. The Liberal Democrats think the system is fine. The media think the system is fine.

Why?

Because they are all doing very well, thank you. They are happy with the status quo because it serves them well.

The politicians have lost touch with the voters. And those who control the media were never really in touch with the voters.

The politicians we have were put in power by citizens. But the politicians give every impression of regarding themselves as being there by right.

Political Arrogance

How can you explain or justify the Labour Party's arrogant refusal to accept the will of the people and ban hunting? The electorate made it clear that they want hunting banned. Parliament made it clear that it wants hunting banned. But, despite the pre-election promises Tony Blair's Labour government did not take the opportunity it had to ban hunting.

How arrogant can you get? Is that really all we can expect from our politicians? Is the Labour Party really as good as it gets?

Vote For Change

If you agree that our political leaders have got it right then you don't need change. But if you are dissatisfied with the present system and you want a major change then you must stand up and be counted.

If you want to live in a world where right matters then you should stand up and say so.

If you believe that justice is important then you should stand up and say so.

If you believe that our country should be led by strong men and women who follow their ideals and their principles rather than the dictates of those with money and media power then you should stand up and say so.

If you want to take back control of your destiny and your childrens destiny then you should stand up and say so.

If you want to be able to buy decent food – which has not been poisoned by mad scientists – then you should stand up and say so.

If you want to frighten the politicians – and to remind them who is really in charge – then you should stand up and say so.

Britain needs a new political party built upon a simple, single philosophy: that no creature has, or should be given, the right to cause pain or suffering to any other creature.

"First do no harm," said Hippocrates when teaching doctors. His entreaty should apply to all of us, in all our relationships with other living creatures, whether or not they are members of the same species.

A New Political Party

A new political party will at the very least threaten the comfort and complacency of the big parties.

Someone has to do something that makes them realise that the British people will not lie back and accept a string of broken promises.

Britain needs a new political party based on honesty, respect and decency rather than commercial expediency.

Is that really too much to ask? Is it really impossible to believe that the British people would vote for a party which offered to put value back into politics? A party run by and for people driven by the knowledge that they are in the right. A party for the many thousands who want clean, decent politics run by people who say what they mean and mean what they say.

If we don't do this then I fear that there will never be an end to animal abuse and the future for human beings is bleak indeed.

Britain needs a new party. Britain needs The People's Party.

You Can Make A Difference

You have probably heard it said that a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane in New York. (There are, of course, a number of variations on this theme). The meaning is simple: a tiny event in one area can cause massive repercussions in another area.

And this is what our success depends upon: if enough of us flap our wings then together we can change the world.

Overcoming The Forces Of Darkness

We have to make the men, women and children of Britain aware of what is going on – and what is happening in their country.

We live in a rich, allegedly developed country but our government treats the ill, the poor and the unfortunate with derision and contempt. The National Health Service, once glorious, once the envy of the world, has been more or less destroyed. The medical profession, pockets of which used to treat the Hippocratic Oath seriously, has sold out and become a marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry. Too many doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have become a part of the selfish, uncaring society. Most social workers are a sick joke; so obsessed with incest, daily meetings and their own sense of importance that they have completely lost touch with the real world and forgotten what compassion means. Vast numbers of lawyers, school teachers and others who might have been expected to fight for freedom are now interested only in preserving their own professional status. Most religious leaders now abstain from moral authority – they have presumably been told that morality is no longer a marketable commodity.

Revolutionaries who dreamt of freedom, peace and compassion when they were twenty dream today of new triple tufted carpets, double glazing and ABS brakes. Many of today's twenty year olds have missed out the dreams of freedom, peace and compassion and gone straight to the dreams of triple tufted carpets, double glazing and ABS brakes. Some probably prefer endless shagpile carpeting to an honest, ethical and morally sound life.

Nero was accused of fiddling while Rome burned. At least he did something creative. Today's free citizen spends around five hours a day watching television and no longer believes that he can make a difference. Over my shoulder I can see the forces of darkness arraigned in suits of every shade of grey. And yet while these evil forces crowd daily closer the overpromoted talents of the television age dedicate their lives to endorsing violence and sucking people dry for cheap programming. The magic box is dominated by self important, intellectually deprived presenters with £30 haircuts and 50p brains. Salacious and hypocritical, but rarely courageous or original, they have turned a potentially powerful medium into a tool of the state. The government is safe as long as the voters are more concerned with soapland than with reality.

Millions of electors sit slumped in front of their nightly five hours of watered down, two dimensional entertainment because they are too frightened to speak up; they are convinced that they cannot make a difference. (There are people in Britain who list 'watching television' when asked to name their favourite hobby. They would attract more admiration from me if they put down 'cleaning teeth' or "emptying bladder' for these are both activities which require more intellectual input than 'watching television'.)

Those television addicts who do still feel anger, frustration, alienation and bewilderment dare not speak out for they fear for their own safety. They know that unemployment – and worse – beckons for those who stand up and speak.

Adding Action To Feeling

But we really can make a difference.

We must encourage those around us to dust off their principles, drag their dreams back out of the attic and scream and shout and let those in power know that we care.

As William Hazlitt, the great essayist, put it, the purpose of oratory (and politics) is "to build upon the habitual prejudices of mankind (for reason of itself will do nothing) and to add feeling to prejudice and action to feeling."

Today's cheap rate politicians and their advisors believe that complex issues have to be reduced into easily digestible titbits and soundbites. Political parties believe that candidates and policies have to be marketed like commercial products. In our modern, simplistic world journalists look for simple solutions, sound bites rather than philosophies.

A few decades ago Gandhi, when asked what he thought about western civilisation replied that he thought it would be a good idea. Today he would probably add the rider that it also seemed extremely unlikely. We have to change that.

Doing The Right Thing – Whatever The Cost

It is true that an honest man is always in trouble. But what alternative is there if you want to be able to look in the mirror without flinching? Standing up for what you believe isn't an option – it is an integral part of life. If you allow yourself to be cowed into silence by those who do wrong then you too become one of the guilty. Real people are prepared to do the right thing whatever the cost.

How terrible it would be to be old and still wish you were the person you wanted to be. How wonderful to grow into the person you wanted to be – and that others wish they had become when you are old.

Sometimes the things you regret the most are the things you don't do.

Many people do not allows the horrors of the world to affect them too deeply. They fear that they would go mad if they did not quickly forget and push aside these terrors.

But the wars, the localised, personalised violence and the sheer cruelty are just a part of it.

It sometimes seems as though the entire insane world has become entirely corrupt. Politicians around the world are found guilty of taking bribes but when found out they steadfastly refuse to apologise. Most people only tell if they have to.Modern politicians only tell the truth if they have to. The food industry now sells garbage which causes cancer, heart disease and other deadly diseases – and kills more people than Hitler ever did. Why are so many people silent? People who would be deeply ashamed if they had a Mafia hit man in the family will respect a tobacco company employee who, through his work, spends his life trying to kill as many people as possible – and, where death isn't possible, trying to cause as much illness and disability as he can. (The link between tobacco and illness is indisputable, so the more successful the tobacco company is, the more illness and death there will be among those who are targetted as customers.)

Our priorities have become confused. We have lost our way. Children are getting leukaemia and other cancers which could have been prevented. Doctors now do more harm than good.

People hear the messages and read the words but they don't do anything – partly because they can't cope with all the information, partly because the truth is inconvenient (if you believe that cancer is caused by specific foods then you will have to make big changes to your life) and partly because they don't think that what they hear is really going to affect them.

Cigarettes are still sold freely in corner shops, supermarkets and pubs even though they kill millions. Drunk driving continues unabated – despite the slaughter on the roads.

And most people ignore it all. After all, what can they do?

They blame the politicians. They blame industry. They blame fate.

But too many people never want to take any of the blame themselves. And they don't want to have to do anything themselves either.

They have handed over responsibility, washed their hands of the world, and let the politicians take charge.

If the politicians don't make the world a better place then it is their fault.

But, of course, nothing does get done because the politicians don't care enough. Modern politicians are, almost by definition, tough, ruthless, dispassionate and uncaring people. The only word they really understand is "compromise'.Most politicians don't go into politics because they want to make the world a better place (although that, of course, is what they say); they go into politics because its a good career. Politicians get paid extremely well. And the politicians know that they don't have to deal with the horrors of the world because they know that not enough people care – and have the courage to show that they care. Politicians promise what they think the voters want and deliver what they think they can get away with.

(A spark of comfort came from the US in late 1998 when it became clear that President Bill Clinton had alienated many of his political colleagues through his legalistic attempts to evade responsibility for his actions. Many people who were prepared to forgive Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and indeed for the lies he appeared to have told, were incensed by his attempts to avoid censure through what some regarded as little more than legal trickery.)

It Doesn't Have To Be Like This

Are you angry? Do you care enough, and are you brave enough, to make your voice heard – and to try and change the world?

Naturewatch (an excellent British organisation which campaigns against animal cruelty) recently conducted a major survey of British people. They found that only 0.2% of the general public felt that the Labour government's performance on animal welfare issues was "very good" while just 2% felt that it was acceptable. A massive 63% felt that the government had failed to fulfil their pre-election promises on animal welfare. A staggering 98% of the British public felt that there was a clear conflict of interest in government departments (particularly the Ministry of Agriculture) and felt that this could best be addressed by appointing a Minister for Animal Welfare. (Interestingly, when the Labour Party was in opposition they had a Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare. When they got into power, and no longer felt the need to try to win votes, the Labour government abandoned what now may seem to some to have been no more than a ruthless vote-catching exercise.)

The survey showed that only 5% of citizens who had written to the Home Office (their Home Office it has to be said) were satisfied with the reply they had received. The Home Office is the government department responsible for animal experiments.

The survey showed that only 11% of British people supported the use of animals in medical research. An impressive 98.5% complained that there was far too much secrecy involved in animal experiments. Just 8% of people felt that medical advancement would be curtailed if animal experiments were stopped whereas 89% believed that a ban on animal experiments would galvanise industry and government into taking real action to look for non animal methods of testing new drugs and other treatments and into promoting preventative medicine techniques.

So why, when so many people (including doctors – who are often wrongly thought to be supporters of vivisection) are clearly opposed to animal abuse, do our political representatives take no notice? Why do politicians no longer listen to what the electors are saying? Politicians are, after all, merely the elected representatives of the public. Their power is borrowed for the duration of their term of office.

The bottom line is (as I showed right at the beginning of this book) that our present system results in decisions being made not for the good of the electors, or even for the good of mankind as a whole, but for the short term good of powerful vested interests which have lobby groups which can push politicians into making decisions which are not in the interests of the human race at all.

We have reached a point where our world is being run for the short term financial benefit of large, international corporations and those short term interests are causing permanent damage to human beings, the environment and, in the end, to those industries themselves. Vital decisions are made solely to help ensure that next quarter the bottom line profits for a few multinational corporations draw approval from brokers, bankers and shareholders.

The truth is that it doesn't have to be like this.

Liberty, freedom and justice, equality, compassion and simple kindness have been defeated by a potent mixture of greed, prejudice, intolerance, privilege and bureaucratic interference. We have created a force over which we have no control. We have gone far beyond materialism and created a cruel and uncaring world which is like nothing that has ever existed before (indeed, nothing like it has ever been imagined or forecast); a world which regulates our lives without conscience. Industrialists, bureaucrats and politicians all mindlessly serve the monstrous, invisible force we have created.

But if we want to change things, and move towards a world without cruelty, then we need a revolution.

We need a modern, twenty first century revolution in which politics and political control are taken back by the people, for the people. We need to take power back from the industrial giants which, as I showed at the beginning of this book, control our politicians and our lives. There is an urgency about all this: if we don't take action quickly then soon it will be too late.

We need a People's Party to overcome ignorance, prejudice and cruelty and to bring honesty, morality, ethics and a genuine sense of caring back into government. We need to ensure that children are taught to honour and respect all other living creatures. We need to create a social environment in which cruelty is unacceptable and unjustifiable and in which the vivisector, the hunter, the butcher and the abattoir worker cannot stand unaccused.

Together we can do it: we can make a difference; we can change the world. We have to believe that. If we don't believe then there is no future.