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Animal Aid statement on government animal rights 'crackdown'
Posted 1 February 2005
Animal Aid is unequivocally committed to peaceful, non-intimidatory campaigning - as are the vast majority of animal campaigners. We condemn all violence.
We are concerned by the atmosphere of near hysteria over so-called 'animal rights terrorism' created over the last 12 months or so, with the pharmaceutical companies playing a prominent role. Undoubtedly, there have been threats, property damage and other ugly behaviour by animal activists. However, the response has been disproportionate and amounts to an assault upon peaceful campaigners - and, indeed, upon the general public's right to free assembly and expression.
The legal assaults come via a series of broadly drawn, highly restrictive court injunctions and via proposed new legislative measures. Unless challenged, these measures - intentionally or otherwise - would tend to shut down a vital debate about the moral and scientific justification for animal experiments - a debate that is growing in intensity amongst scientists themselves.
Rather than focussing on the actions of a minority - which are not representative of the overall entirely peaceful campaign against animal experiments - we must open up the discussion about exactly what goes on inside research laboratories; examine whether it is scientifically relevant, and secure the democratic right both to publicise and protest against such experiments.