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ROUND-UP - Of the year
Posted 1 December 2001
Andrew Tyler looks back at the major events of the last 12 months.
Our campaign to force DIY chain Focus Do It All to end the sale of reptiles ends in success, thereby saving thousands of animal lives every year. The victory followed hundreds of demos inside and outside the company's stores over a period of nine months. Our supporters were brilliant. The campaign to press Focus into ending all animal sales continues.
Lord Phillips' government-commissioned inquiry into BSE finally reports - 14 years after the disease first hit the headlines. The cost by October included 180,000 confirmed cases amongst cattle; another 4.7 million adult animals destroyed under the 'Over 30 months scheme' and 1.98 million baby calves trashed under the now-defunct 'calf processing scheme'. Phillips blamed the feeding of cow and sheep remains to cows, excess government bureaucracy and similar failings - but claimed there was no official cover-up.
The bill to ban fur farming cleared its final Commons hurdle amidst much celebrations from animal campaigners. The battle had lasted 15 years and the successful outcome constituted a massive victory that will save the lives of around 100,000 mink every year. At the time of the Bill's passage there were 13 fur farms run by 11 operators.
Plans for a new reptile park in Llanelli, South Wales are scrapped due to Animal Aid pressure. World of Reptiles would have held more than 48 different species of snake, three species of crocodile and various types of lizard and frog from all over the world. As well as generating business for dealers in exotics, the park would have served as a shop window for the reptile pet trade.
A new chemical testing programme is proposed by the European Commission that could result in the poisoning and death of up to 10 million animals. Animal Aid launches an online protest petition and other initiatives in support of a campaign launched by PETA and BUAV.
MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of a total hunting ban. The Lords, inevitably, are against prohibition, while Tony Blair edges towards the so-called Middle Way option. This is where hunting continues under licence - i.e. a ticket of approval from the government.
The SHAC campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences is top of the news agenda, as The Royal Bank of Scotland announces it will not extend its overdraft facility of £22.5 million to the company. The government steps in to offer moral and political support and help fix a deal with American finance house Stevens Inc.
John Lewis store group ends the rearing and shooting of pheasants on its Hampshire estate, just 16 weeks after the launch of Animal Aid's hard-hitting campaign, which involved protests by local groups inside and outside the company's stores throughout the UK and at the estate itself. Our efforts - which came on the back of a long-running protest by the National Anti-Hunt campaign - prompted a rebellion within the ranks of the group's 37,000 employees. The Partnership's shooting club, composed of a small number of mostly senior staff and management - had been in existence for more than 40 years.
The foot and mouth epidemic breaks out - hunting, livestock markets, live exports all come to an end. Animal farmers point the finger of blame in all directions and demand hundreds more millions in compensation on top of the roughly £1.5 billion received annually in subsidy payments by cattle and sheep farmers. We call for the markets and live exports bans to be permanent.
March is Animal Aid's Veggie Month and with all headlines pointing in the direction of F&M, we press home a simple message: The Problem: Foot and Mouth - The Solution: Go Veggie! Our new five-minute shock video shows how farmed animals live and die - most of their everyday suffering hidden from public view. Demos and information stalls are organised by our supporters across the country. And we produce new foot and mouth linked documents, including flyers, stickers and an eight-page information booklet.
Our second Horse Racing Awareness Week - timed to coincide with the Grand National - involves the publication of a shock new report, an internet campaign, a protest outside the Jockey Club headquarters and dozens of betting shop demos throughout the UK. Racing For Their Lives catalogues the carnage of the 1999/2000 National Hunt Season, revealing that 247 horses were raced to death in the name of entertainment - that's one horse dead for every 31 who raced.
Animal Aid's South West Festival of Vegetarianism is staged in Exeter, featuring food demos, a library display, a concert, a Living Without Cruelty Fayre and lots more. The week-long event - the first of its kind anywhere - is a storming success.
Also in May, we stage a lively demo outside the NFU's London headquarters. About 30 activists dressed in farmers' garb demand an apology from the NFU president for the foot and mouth crisis and the failure of the union to take any responsibility.
We launched a campaign against plans for a horse-drawn omnibus service for the city of Oxford. Our special report provides evidence that such schemes lead to serious - often fatal - horse welfare problems; as well as injuries and fatalities suffered by members of the public caused by horses 'spooking'. Our online petition generates more than 12,000 emails to the council in just seven days.
Our new hard-hitting anti vivisection video for schools, Wasted Lives, proves a major success with teachers. Within a couple of weeks of the first mail-out, some 600 are ordered around the country.
Animal Aid's campaign against plans for horse-drawn vehicles ends in victory, when the Oxford City Council rejects the proposal.
Shell becomes the new target in the ongoing SHAC campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences - as the government lends the beleaguered vivisecting company further assistance by way of banking facilities at the Bank of England.
Young lambs, calves and piglets are being killed as part of the foot and mouth 'cull' by being injected into the heart (i/c) - a painful and traumatic procedure prohibited by the US veterinary profession, except where animals are heavily sedated, unconscious or anaesthetised. We complained to the standard-setting Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. But they defended the practice, as well as the killing of animals in the sight of their fellows (prohibited in slaughterhouses). We begin building support for a Europe-wide ban on i/c injections.
Animal Aid's annual Mad Science Awards are this year handed out to monkey vivisectors - most of them doing appalling and scientifically pointless brain experiments. At the same time, we take a prominent role in the battle to stop a proposed primate vivisection lab on the outskirts of Cambridge. Science minister and HLS defender Lord Sainsbury puts pressure on the planning authority to approve the project, even though it's on green belt land.
The Scottish parliament takes the historic decision to ban hunting and coursing in Scotland. The League Against Cruel Sports predicts that, as the Bill progresses through the parliament, 'amendments can be made to the details of [the banning Bill] but not to the basic principles.' A ban is 'inevitable'.
Animal Aid's 2001 anti-pheasant shooting campaign is launched, with a report exposing the industry's greed and excess. Anti-snare campaigner John Gill, who featured in our 2000 Killing Fields pheasants report, is badly beaten in his own home by three shooting supporters. John has personally uprooted hundreds of the sadistic killing devices and has been to prison for his principles. He pledges that the beating won't deter him. His campaign against snares - which kill millions of stoats, weasels and other 'predator' species annually - will continue.
Plans are well advanced for Huntingdon Life Sciences to flee the UK stock exchange for what they hope is the financial security of the US money market, where they will probably be known as Life Sciences Research.
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