The Times of London reports that British animal rights activists have succeeded in closing down a guinea pig farm by literally terrorizing its owners, using tactics including vandalism, false accusations of pedophilia, and even a case of graverobbing:
The family of an 82-year-old woman whose body was stolen from her grave are to stop breeding guinea pigs for medical research after a six-year campaign of intimidation by animal rights activists.
A spokeswoman for David Hall and Partners in Staffordshire said that the business would shut down its guinea pig breeding operations at Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch in December.
The Hall family has been subjected to a hate campaign by animal rights extremists. They said that they hoped the decision would prompt grave robbers to return the body of Gladys Hammond, whose remains were stolen from a churchyard in nearby Yoxall.
In a statement, the Hall family said: "David Hall and Partners’ involvement in breeding guinea pigs for biomedical research will cease at the end of 2005. The business, which has operated for over three decades, will undergo a phased closure until then to ensure the welfare of animals involved. . . .
The campaign of intimidation against the Halls included firebomb attacks, a paedophile smear campaign and the cutting of electricity and phone lines.
A spokesman for Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs, who gave his name as Johnny and would not reveal his surname, said: "This is the most fantastic day of my life.
"It’s a victory for the animals and it’s a fundamental victory for the animal rights movement. I feel so unbelievably proud to be part of the movement. . . .
Asked for his views about the campaign of intimidation, he said: "We do not need to glamorise this sort of activity but Animal Liberation Front activists are intelligent human beings who have a particular mind set. They consider the horrors of vivisection, killing umpteen animals, as being a justification for what essentially is low level criminal damage.
"There hasn’t been any violence whatsoever at the farm. There hasn’t been a single person been hurt by any protester. In fact, it’s protesters who have been hospitalised by security guards from the farm."
The local police department's Environmental Protest Unit implied that officers had done all they could to protect the family:
Inspector David Bird, of Staffordshire Police’s Environmental Protest Unit, said that officers had policed hundreds of protests at Darley Oaks Farm since 1999.
"It has been our policy since 1999 to support the Hall family’s right to continue their lawful and legitimate business while upholding the rights of others to demonstrate within the law and taking action against unlawful protest," he said.
Ironically, the use of guinea pigs by British phamaceutical firms will not stop, and the breeding will simply be done under less salubrious conditions for the animals:
Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP for Lichfield which includes Darley Oaks, said: "It is an irony that the guinea pigs used for medical research will now have to be imported from France and Spain where, unlike in Britain, the animals are bred in overcrowded conditions and not subject to regular inspection. Far from improving the conditions of these animals, these narrow-minded extremists have worsened them.
The activists, it should be noted, chose to make violent attacks on the rodent breeders instead of, say, boycotting the products for the testing of which the animals are bred: the medicines that keep the activists alive and healthy enough to go outside the law to force their agenda on others.