It is only with the
heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint Exupery
I will never forget the day I decided that experiments on animals had to be stopped. The experience scarred my memory for life. I was a 19 year old first year medical student - still too ignorant and inexperienced to be allowed out on to the wards. With several of my fellow students I was taken into a physiology laboratory to be taught a little about the human body. The lecturer took a large, miserable looking cat from an assistant, climbed onto a table, turned the animal on its back and held it high in the air. Then, after ordering us all to watch carefully, he dropped it ten or twelve feet to the ground. The screeching cat landed on its feet and ran off terrified into a corner. I don't know what this experiment was designed to teach us - but I cannot see what relevance it had to the treatment of illness in humans. Already feeling uncomfortable I and a group of students were then ordered to experiment on a live rabbit. I can't remember the details but I do remember that it was a pointless exercise which filled me with fury and nausea. How can you learn anything useful about life by torturing and killing, I thought. I couldn't go through with it. Along with several colleagues I walked out of the lab, refusing to have anything more to do with the lesson. As I was leaving, other students began the experiments. The medical establishment must have shared some of my views on the irrelevance of this experiment. No one said anything about my walk out, no one called me back, no one disciplined me. I never completed the course - but I qualified as a doctor. This sad experience awakened my curiosity about animal experiments. Secretly, I began to explore the basement - and the grim cages where cats, rabbits and monkeys were kept. I was sickened by what I saw. I felt the experiences in which these animals would die would have no relevance to humans. They would not help me or any one else become a better doctor - and would never help any physician treat patients better. The more I studied the subject, the clear it became that the anatomical and physiological differences between animals and humans mean animal experiments can never be of practical use to anyone. Animal experiments were done, I realised, because no one cares enough to stop them. Scientists were butchering thousands of cats, dogs, monkeys and rabbits because that was how they earned their living. They got grants from drug companies, charities and government departments by promising answers which they knew they could never deliver. I decided that most scientists who experiment on animals were second rate academics who didn't have what it takes to become doctors. At the age of 19 I decided that one day I would help stop this cruel, senseless trade. It was Alice who provided me with the final inspiration and the practical ability to do what I can to help stop this evil business.
Although I also campaign against hunting and all forms of animal cruelty - including the use of animals for food - I am sometimes asked why I've chosen to put so much energy into attacking vivisection rather than other versions of animal cruelty. There are several reasons.
First, vivisection involves huge numbers of animals - around one thousand animals every thirty seconds. That is far, far more than all the forms of hunting, for example. What is more the animals suffer constantly. They are usually kept alone, in tiny cages, until they are used in an experiment. Many are kept alive for months or even years in great distress and pain.
Second, vivisection is probably the best and longest established form of organised, officially acknowledged animal cruelty. It is the one form of animal cruelty for which people have devised apparently credible excuses. Vivisection is symbolic of the way we treat animals. It has the support of the world's most profitable industries. I believe that when vivisection is banned then other forms of animal cruelty will quickly follow.
Vivisection is the most immoral, academically and intellectually dishonest form of animal abuse. The vivisectionists practice a particularly cruel form of intellectual terrorism: they terrify ordinary people into supporting them by arguing that animal experiments are of medical value.
Third, vivisection affects human beings as well as animals. The vivisectors are responsible for countless human deaths - as well as animal deaths. By stopping vivisection we will also be helping to save human lives and protect human patients from iatrogenesis.
Now that slavery and apartheid have been abolished I firmly believe that vivisection is the most evil and barbaric, unjust and unjustifiable practice on earth. We have to stop it. My aim is simple: to stop all animal experiments around the world as soon as possible. Evil only triumphs when ordinary men and women remain silent.
The scientific and medical arguments against vivisection are overwhelming. No honest scientist could possibly support animal experimentation (although there are a lot of dishonest scientists who try to). Morally, there is no question that experimenting on animals is a vile, inexcusable business. Ethically, the vivisectors are in the position of slave traders, arms dealers and concentration camp guards. There is no excuse for what they do. They will, assuredly, burn in hell for their vile work. Those of us who oppose animal experimentation are ethically right, morally right, scientifically right and medically right.
So why does society allow these scientists to perform these foul experiments?
There are tens of thousands of anti vivisection groups in existence around the world. Some of these groups have been in existence for a century. Millions of people want animal experiments stopped. So, why is the war against vivisection taking so long to win?
The truth is that animal experiments would have been stopped years ago if the war against vivisection had been better planned and if the anti vivisection troops had been deployed more effectively. The overpaid vivisectors and their rich supporters are morally, ethically, scientifically and medically wrong. They ought to have lost decades ago. But they are as clever as they are cruel. They are greedy, manipulative and - because of their own sense of personal guilt and worthlessness - enormously aggressive.
But we have not fought the war very well so far.
Some organisations prefer a conciliatory approach. They believe that more progress will be made through talking to vivisectors than through confrontation. There is no doubt that these organisations have made progress in persuading laboratories to look after animals better and to search for other ways of doing experiments whenever possible (I try not use the word 'alternative' because to talk of 'alternatives' suggests to some that animal experiments have some value).
However, I fear that the truth is that negotiation means compromise. And how can there be any compromise? Those of us who love animals want all animal experiments stopped. The vivisectors want to carry on. And that is that. How can there possibly be any room for negotiation? There is no middle ground.
I have heard anti vivisectionists claim that they want to stop vivisection from within the system. I don't think that approach will work. No one has ever changed anything from within a system. You can only produce radical changes from outside.
The time has come for a more determined, better defined attack on vivisection and vivisectors.
I want all animal experiments stopped now. Improving cage sizes or the conditions in which animals are transported and stored is not enough for me. I fear that if one airline stops carrying animals then another airline will step in. Or the animals will be transported by sea (with journey times being longer).
I have frequently found myself under attack from anti vivisection groups for my robust and unforgiving attacks on vivisectors. And the evidence suggests that many anti vivisection groups now favour a more conciliatory, diplomatic approach. I have seen reports by anti vivisection groups complaining not about scientists performing animal experiments but about the number of animals they have used - and arguing that the experiments could have been done with fewer animals. I have heard alleged anti-vivisectionists discussing abolitionists as the enemy. And I have on many occasions heard anti vivisection group leaders describing other anti vivisection groups as 'the competition'. Most alarming of all, perhaps, I have even heard anti vivisectionists arguing that we have to talk with politicians in order to change the laws which force drug companies to perform animal experiments. (As I have shown, there are no laws to change! There are no laws requiring drug or cosmetic companies to perform animal experiments.)
I fear that those who believe that we can win this battle by negotiation have been conned; seduced by flattery from politicians ('come and have tea with me at the House of Commons and we'll talk about it'). Encouraged to be enthusiastic about the possibility of making small steps towards better conditions (larger cages etc) they forget that the simple and rational aim is to stop experimentation and they ignore the overpowering evidence in support of that aim. If lobbying was ever going to work it would have worked long ago. I fear that too many anti vivisectionists no longer believe in their hearts that we can win. They believe that small steps - larger cages, slightly fewer animals, bans on important animals by air - are all we can hope for.
One anti vivisector told me, rather crossly, 'the vivisectors are not all bad people you know'. Not bad people! These are hateful, cruel, psychopathic beings. These are not people with whom we should have any 'friendly' association. And even to talk about cage sizes and alternatives is to play a dangerous game. Worst still, not believing that we can win is a self fulfilling prophecy. I believe that all these discussions about cage size etc are initiated by the opposition - who want to keep us distracted from the real argument: abolition. They can keep us going for decades like this (and they have).
The anti vivisection movement has been in existence for decades. And we have got nowhere. Vivisectors are using as many animals now as they were half a century ago. Battles like ours are never won by negotiation. The suffragettes didn't get the vote through gentle negotiation. Apartheid wasn't smashed by negotiation. Slavery wasn't abolished by quiet, gentlemanly discussions in panelled committee rooms. To win the war against vivisection we must fight our opponents in newspapers and magazines, on radio and television. All we have to do to win is to capture and mobilise public opinion.
Many people don't understand exactly what sort of experiments animals are used for. Those who want animal experiments to continue usually 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 with your money.
If you are uncertain about the nature of vivisection then try this simple exercise: imagine you are a guinea pig taking part in a sensitisation test for a new perfume.
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 might 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. 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 bandage. 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. Still, the scientists would refuse to give you any treatment in case the treatment 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 almost certainly kill you.
Those who perform and support animal experiment are so embarrassed and ashamed of what they do that they frequently use euphemisms to disguise their activities. It is quite common, for example, for experimenters to talk of animals 'taking part' in experiments and 'helping us with our research'. The word 'experiment' has been replaced by the word 'procedure', which is less evocative. Experimenters have their own language. Here are just a few choice phrases they use (and their meanings):
dangerous to be right when your government is wrong.
I am constantly saddened (and outraged) by the fact that the official line of many religious leaders is that animals have no rights and are here simply for human beings to do with as they will. A woman with whom I was debating the whole issue of animal experimentation (in Johannesburg) concluded her main speech by claiming, as though it was a proven fact, that animals do not have souls and are therefore on earth for humans to use. When I asked her how she knew that animals do not have souls she could not answer. Much formal religion is, it seems to me, more about war, prejudice, smart clothes and extravagant buildings than compassion, love or spiritual integrity.
My god loves all creatures equally. He does not believe that the white man is better than the black man. He does not believe that the black man is better than the red man or the yellow man. He does not believe that a man is better than a woman. He does not believe that a cat is better than a horse or that a horse is better than a dog or an accountant. He does not believe that a hippopotamus is better than a mouse or that a mouse is better than a frog or that a frog is better than a lawyer. My god does not believe that a strong man is better than a weak man or that a rich man is better than a poor man. My god loves all creatures equally. I believe that the world would be a happier place if more people were friends with my god.
elephant has by nature qualities rarely found in man, namely honesty,
prudence, a sense of justice and of religious observance. Consequently, when
the moon is new they go down to the rivers and there solemnly cleansing
themselves bathe, and after having thus saluted the planet return to the
woods. They fear shame and only pair at night and secretly, not do then
rejoin the herd but first bathe in the river.
Leonardo da Vinci
Here are nine facts about animal experiments:
thirty seconds vivisectors kill another thousand animals.
2. Vivisectors use cats, dogs, puppies, kittens, horses, sheep, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys, baboons and any other creature you can think of.
3. While waiting to be used in laboratory experiments animals are kept in solitary confinement in small cages. Alone and frightened they can hear the screams of the other animals being used.
4. Many of the animals used in laboratory experiments are pets which have been kidnapped, taken off the streets and sold to the vivisectors.
5. Animals used in experiments are tortured, blinded, burned, shot, injected and dissected. They have their eyes sewn up or their limbs broken. Chemicals are injected into their brains and their screams of anguish are coldly recorded. If the animal lives through this torture it will then be killed.
6. Three quarters of the experiments performed by vivisectors are done without any anaesthetic.
7. Most of the experimenters who torture and kill animals have no medical or veterinary training.
8. Most animal experiments are paid for with your money.
9. Animal experiments are now recognised to be of absolutely no value to patients or doctors or anyone else. Animal experiments are performed by companies wanting to put new products onto the market without doing more expensive tests and by second rate scientists wanting to acquire academic status the easy way.
Think of the animal you love most dearly. If he or she is close to you, reach out and touch him or her. Now, imagine your pet dog, cat or rabbit strapped - alive and alert - to the vivisector's laboratory bench. Imagine the vivisector approaching with scalpel raised. Imagine a tube implanted into your pet's brain and a scientist deliberately injecting an irritating chemical down the tube directly into your pet's brain. Imagine the scientist sitting back and waiting to see what happens. Within a minute or two your pet begins to shiver. The shivering is mild at first but it quickly becomes vigorous and widespread. Then your pet begins to cry; loud and pitiful cries. It begins breathing rapidly and salivating. Its ears twitch and its hair stands on end. It vomits, wets itself and empties its bowels. The white coated, cold-blooded scientist who is watching all this dispassionately observes your pet's distress and carefully writes everything down in his notebook.
That is no fiction. It is real. It happens every day. In your name. With your money. And someone else's pet. Every 30 seconds that is exactly what happens to 1000 animals. It could happen to your pet if the vivisectors get hold of him or her.
When official spokesmen speak you should only believe their denials. When official spokesmen deny something you can be confident it is the truth.
Uncertainty and change are the greatest cause of stress among people. (It is because of the element of change that moving house is one of the most stressful of all activities). The same is true for animals. So just imagine the emotional trauma animals must feel when they are taken out of their field or barn, herded into a cramped truck and driven for hour after hour after hour to where they know not.
Nobody does what they don't want to do.
The European Community has rules to protect animals while they are being transported. The rules say that animals must be fed and watered after travelling for 24 hours. Hands up those who would like to see EC bureaucrats travelling across Europe under those conditions.
A dog saved the life of his master, an Egyptian government official, by fetching the doctor after the man suffered a heart attack.
My computer printer broke down. I wanted it repaired. No chance. It's two years old and out of date. That is progress. I wanted to listen to some old fashioned vinyl albums. I tried to buy a record player. No one sells them any more. That is progress. The glass in the wing mirror on my car got cracked. To replace it the garage had to send away for a sealed unit. It took for ever and cost a small fortune. Progress.
Every day I find myself hearing the same old litany: 'It's progress!'
When I ask what is so terrific about progress, and why we have to bow down before it as though it were the God of our times, folk tut and look at me as though I'm an alien from another planet.
'You can't stand in the way of progress!' they say, implying that it would be improper, unpatriotic, immoral and probably illegal even to try.
Well, I've had enough of progress.
Without progress everyone would still be in work. Without progress the workshops of the world would still be alive, men would still be making things they were proud of and it would be possible to buy things on a Wednesday and expect them still to be capable of doing whatever it was they were bought to do by Saturday.
There is a myth that progress means 'better'. It doesn't. Progress often means that an increasing number of people have to exchange a rich, varied, wholesome 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 machines. Progress means that things are more likely to go wrong. Progress means more destruction, more misery and more tedium. Progress means more damage to our planet. Progress means that still more hideous ways are devised to abuse animals.
Those who worship at the altar of progress make two simple but vital errors. They assume that man must take full advantage of every new development and invention. And they assume that he must always search for a better way of tackling everything he does. Neither of these two assumptions is soundly based.
Just because man invents computers, supersonic jets and atomic bombs he doesn't have to use these things.
Those who believe implicitly in progress believe that we must always endeavour to use every new nugget of information we obtain. They believe that if man invents a quicker and more effective way to kill people then we must use this quicker and more effective weapon of destruction.
Progress lovers believe that if is possible to make a machine which makes identical galumps at the rate of 6,000 an hour then we must have that machine. And that those galumps will be better than galumps which have been hand carved by craftsmen.
The lovers of progress are so keen to embrace the future and eradicate the past that they will introduce new laws ensuring that only the new computer made identical galumps can be sold. The market for the old fashioned galumps will disappear.
The progress lovers don't care about the fact that their galump making machine will put thousands of craftsmen out of work.
Progress for the sake of progress often simply means change for the sake of change. But (and this is probably heresy and will undoubtedly get me into trouble with whichever masturbatory authority is in business to protect progress) change is not always for the better.
The problem lies largely with the definition of the word 'better'. What, exactly, does it mean?
Is a television set better than a radio or a good book?
Is a motor car better than a bicycle?
Is an aeroplane better than a yacht?
Are modern motor cars, equipped with electric windows and air conditioning, better than ancient Rolls Royce motor cars equipped with neither of these facilities?
Is artificial turf better than real grass?
Is television rubbish which is in colour better than movies such as Citizen Kane and Duck Soup which were made in black and white?
Are artificial flowers better than the real thing?
Too often progress simply means more frustration and more unhappiness. It means that we become more dependent on one another and less capable of coping with the crises in our lives.
Progress means that when something goes wrong with the electricity supply your central heating boiler won't work. Progress means that it has become nigh on impossible to mend anything around the home without calling in an expert with a van full of tools. Even then he will probably tell you that he's got to send away for another part.
Progress means that when your windscreen wiper blade needs replacing you have to buy a new windscreen wiper.
Progress means that when you want to buy a niplet you have to buy a blister pack of five which can only be opened with a kitchen knife, a screwdriver and a blowlamp.
What is going on? What are we doing to our world? Who is in charge? Is anyone out there in charge?
Will people be wiser, happier and more contented when nuclear powered, seven speed nose hair clippers are finally available?
How much did the invention of the telephone improve the quality of your life?
It would be stupid to claim that all progress is bad. Progress is good when we use it rather than when we allow it to rule our lives. In truth, progress is neither good nor bad unless we make it so. But no longer are we allowed to choose between those aspects of progress which we think can be to our benefit and those which we suspect may be harmful. Our society wants constant progress and that is what it gets. Well I don't like it.
The vivisectors argue that if they are not allowed to continue their evil work then science will be threatened. But science is unnecessary. Progress is unnecessary. We have enough information to last us all several lifetimes. What we need to do now is to work out how to use the information we already have - and how to come to terms with the world which we have re-invented.
We no longer need science.
Walking by the river I paused to remonstrate gently with a fisherman. A trout he had caught was lying on the bank, thrashing around. I moved forwards to try and pick up the fish so that I could throw it back into the water. But I was too far away. The fisherman saw me, reached out, picked up the fish by its tail and killed it by banging its head on a rock. When I tried to explain to a fisherman that he was indulging in a cruel sport he turned round and started hurling stones at me. He told me to go away and stop disturbing the fish. As I walked away he threw a stone at me. It missed. He then threw several more stones in my direction. The stones did not hit me - partly because the fisherman was a rather poor shot and partly because I kept ducking and weaving - but there is absolutely no doubt that they were aimed directly at me.
When I got to the nearest village I telephoned the police to complain.
They were not interested in my complaint and refused to do anything.
Can it be that throwing stones is no longer a crime? I wonder what would have happened if a campaigner had thrown stones at a fisherman, a hunter or a lorry driver transporting calves or lambs to a bloody death. Am I unfair in suspecting that the police might have responded differently?
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, greedy bastards concerned only with their own profits.
But the eternally damned farmers are so skilful at manipulating politicians and the media that they actually managed to make most people feel sorry for them!
The farmers, the butchers and the abattoir workers have all bleated about financial losses, redundancies and bleak futures.
Most amazingly, they are succeeding in conning the world into feeling sorry for them.
But the fact is that for years now farmers and others involved in the meat business have been taking risks with the lives of those who buy their products simply so that they could make an extra few billion quid.
It was the farmers - manipulative money grubbers that they are - who chose to feed their animals 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 ages ago. But they didn't. They - and the government - 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.
Now, what would happen if any other businessman cut corners, took risks with your customers' lives and caused 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 on his doorstep?
Why are the people in the animal murdering business being pitied? Why are we trying to help them out? Why are you and I expected to fork out our hard earned cash to pay for their greed inspired error?
The truth is that the Mad Cow disease scandal is just one example of the many ways in which farmers have for decades recklessly exposed ordinary people to danger.
I believe that it was the overuse of antibiotics - given to animals to keep them 'healthy' and therefore increase profits - which has helped create a world in which infections are now rapidly increasing.
Every time you read about a hospital infection which cannot be controlled by antibiotics I think you should give thanks to the farmers.
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.
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.
The farmers don't give a fig for your health or your children's' health. All they care about is profits.
(Somehow, to add to all this, the farmers even manage to persuade politicians to give them subsidies! Daft as it may sound it's all a bit like murderers and poisoners demanding - and getting - financial help!)
The worst thing is that the politicians who are hired and paid to protect us don't give a damn about what the farmers do either.
They just let them get on with it.
Farmers should be ashamed of themselves.
The only ray of hope in this whole sad and sorry mess is that more and more people may now stop eating beef - and other types of meat.
Through their ignorance, their stupidity and the greed the meat farmers might just have helped to put themselves out of business.
I do hope so.
The evidence now shows clearly that meat can cause cancer and can be a major factor in the development of heart disease.
Mass bankruptcy among farmers, butchers and others involved in the animal murdering business is the only joyful thought that can be salvaged from this crisis which isn't going to go away.
A friend in Australia sent me a newspaper cutting. The article on the clipping described how a rich man is putting fences around huge areas of land, killing the feral animals within the fences and then installing animals from endangered species. I totally disapprove. This killing is, it seems to me, being done for the sake of humans. It may be nice for us to be able to see lots of different species of animals. But it is of no concern to the animals concerned. If a species dies out then it dies out. To kill animals so that you can save other animals is wrong.
We can learn so much from animals. Why, oh why, do our scientists insist on cutting up animals, ripping out their organs, injecting them with noxious chemicals and subjecting them to endless tortures when they could learn far, far more simply by observing them? If architecture students wandered around the world knocking down cathedrals, palaces and other structural works of art - and then excused themselves by saying that they wanted to know more about these buildings were constructed we would think describe them as wicked philistines. If a man in a white coat said that he was knocking down the Notre Dame in Paris because he thought it would help him design a suspension bridge or repair a mediaeval thatched cottage we would think him completely mad. We can learn much from watching how animals behave and yet we always pretend that they are stupid and when anyone who talks about them as having thoughts is dismissed as 'romanticising' and accused of being anthropomorphic.
'If your happiness depends on what somebody else does,' wrote Richard Bach in 'Illusions', 'I guess you do have a problem.'
All those who love animals, and feel strongly about the way in which they are mistreated, will know what he meant.
In my book 'Toxic Stress' I argued that many of the most potent, destructive and stressful forces in our society are outside our personal control; they are a result of our living in a sophisticated and so called civilised community. These external stresses, ones which cannot be alleviated by learning how to deal with stress or by making an effort to live a less stressful life, are most damaging because the frustration, anger and sense of impotence they produce cannot be countered by any logical means.
Most of my personal concerns and anxieties and pains are provoked by worries which are of no direct concern to me. This adds an extra dimension to the concept of 'toxic stress'. The fact that the most frustrating and exhausting anxieties in my life do not directly concern me and are generated by parts of society which are outside my control makes them doubly stressful. The same is probably true for you too.
One of the great injustices of this life is that those who are compassionate and who care suffer for the crimes of those who are neither compassionate nor who care. The hunter does not suffer any pangs of conscience and neither does the vivisector. The caring, compassionate human being suffers on their behalf.
'Is it not a
reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and does live, in a
great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a miserable way, -
as any one who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering lambs, may learn,
- and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to
confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. Whatever my own
practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the
human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as
surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came
in contact with the more civilised.'
Henry David Thoreau
When you and I see an animal we look, we watch, we admire, we respect and we maybe even love. When the vivisector sees an animal he sees an object; a piece of scientific material. He thinks: 'I would like to cut up that creature.'
What sort of people are the vivisectors? I truly do not understand them. I cannot believe that they are really alive. They are of the same stock as the Nazi concentration camp scientists who used to perform hideous, barbaric and cruel experiments on jews and gypsies and others.
I have spent many hours trying to understand how a man or woman can possibly excuse what they do. Maybe, I thought at first, the vivisector does not understand the wickedness of what he does because the people around him are all involved too. But that is no answer. A man or woman with conscience could not possibly approve of vivisection. It is as foul a trade as was ever invented by man.
Torturing and then killing cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, mice, guinea pigs, rats, monkeys, hamsters, rabbits and other animals is morally indefensible, ethically inexcusable, and medically and scientifically unsustainable.
The things vivisectors do to animals are so awful, so disgusting that I dare not describe them in newspaper articles or columns. Readers would, I know, be so sickened that they would simply turn over the page.
I am, in my heart, convinced that all those who practise it are psychopaths; unfeeling, unthinking, unseeing; blind to all that is good and with minds open only to the possibility of personal and professional gain, however it may be obtained.
It is my professional medical opinion that the thousands of vivisectors who do the torturing and the killing to animals must have the same sort of general psychological make up as serial killers. They must be deeply sick to be able to inflict pain on animals for day after day. They are, I rather suspect, the sort of cruel individuals who obtained pleasure from pulling the wings of flies and shooting birds with airguns when they were small.
Vivisectors around the world sometimes claim that their experiments are of value to doctors. They try to excuse their foul and barbaric deeds by claiming that the work they do saves lives. I believe that is a lie. And I believe that the vivisectionists know that it is lie.
I have frequently challenged vivisectors and their supporters to debate their foul work with me on national TV or radio. But they are too cowardly; too afraid to risk being exposed for the pseudoscientific charlatans they are.
The truth is that we would all be much, much better off if vivisection had never been invented. (When it is stopped it will never be started again.) I believe that animal experiments are done because they enable drug companies to get new products onto the market quickly and easily.
It is, I think, a cynical and cruel business.
I believe that animal experimentation is one of the reasons why four out of ten patients who receive drugs suffer side effects.
And it is, I believe, partly because drug companies are allowed to rely so much on animal experiments that one in six individuals in hospital are there because they have been made ill by a doctor.
I don't think any animal experiments save human lives. On the contrary, I believe that men, women and children suffer agonies - and die - because of animal experiments.
Every night, when you go to bed, ask yourself: 'What have I done today to help stop animal experiments.'
You will, I suspect, find that you will sleep easier if you have done something to help stop vivisection.
Scientists are now studying animals who are naturally long lived to see if there is some magic ingredient in their blood which protects them against diseases such as narrowed arteries, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular disorders which so often result in early deaths.
But we already know what causes most cases of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other varieties of cardiovascular calamity.
The individual who wants to avoid these disorders can best do so by avoiding fatty food and tobacco, minimising his exposure to stress (or enhancing his ability to deal with it) and taking regular, gentle exercise. Like cancer, heart disease is, to a remarkably large extent, a disease of choice.
Sadly, however, I fear that simple preventive medicine is of very little interest to scientists. How can the expenditure of billions of dollars on laboratories, white coated scientists and animal houses be justified when the solutions are so simple?
The scientists have to keep searching for more complex solutions because they, and their masters at the drug companies, cannot make a living out of teaching people how to avoid disease.
The drug companies (which pay for much of the world's research) want complex, pharmacological solutions because they know that their profits will only be enhanced when they can offer consumers pills for all their ills.
And the drug companies are comforted by the knowledge that the average citizen is not willing to make even the slightest effort on his own behalf to maintain, sustain or restore his health. He would much rather take a pill (however expensive it might be and however hazardous the consequences might be) than change his diet or take a long term, personal approach to his health and his life. He would rather hand over responsibility to people he does not know and will never meet, and who regard him solely as a source of profit, rather than take responsibility for his own health.
Has anyone else noticed that experiments done on animals seem to be ignored if the results are commercially or politically embarrassing or inconvenient? In my book Betrayal of Trust I named around fifty prescription drugs which are considered perfectly safe for human use - but which can all cause cancer and other serious health problems when given to animals.
You have just
dined and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the
graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The refusal of most editors and producers either to take on the meat industry or to promote anything which might be seen as sympathetic towards animals has been illustrated painfully vividly by the fact that my book 'Power over Cancer' has been almost totally ignored by newspapers, magazines, TV stations and radio stations.
The book explains how it is possible to avoid 80% of all cancers by avoiding fatty foods and meat products and by eating a healthy mixture of the right vegetables, fruit and grains. I included in the book excerpts from no less than 26 scientific papers which provide evidence illustrating the link between meat and fat and cancer. Details of the book were sent to hundreds of editors and producers but so far, apart from The People (the British Sunday newspaper for which I write a column, which ran a fairly large extract from the book) very few publications have mentioned the book.
I am genuinely surprised and saddened. I would have thought that even if editors had decided to attack the book's existence they would have found it difficult to ignore the claims I make (all of which I can justify). For example, on the press release we pointed out that 15,000 women died of breast cancer last year - and that half of them could still be alive today if they had read 'Power over Cancer'. If the claim is false then I should be attacked. If the claim is true then how can it be ignored?
The failure of the media even to discuss this subject depresses me enormously. How can editors and producers ignore Power over Cancer which could save between 41,000 and 69,000 lives a year in Britain alone? Every week I am invited to appear on television or radio programmes to talk about issues about which I know little and care nothing. (I always say 'No'). And yet this vitally important issue is ignored.
Part of the problem is that no one wants to write or speak about cancer. The very word itself is 'taboo'.
Part of the problem is that the meat industry is too rich and too powerful to annoy. Everyone remembers what happens to former British health minister Edwina Currie. She dared to take on the egg industry (she said that most eggs were infected with salmonella) and quickly lost her job when the farmers complained. And part of the problem is that many editors and producers would undoubtedly regard Power over Cancer as an 'animal rights' book. And the editors who work on broadsheet newspapers and the producers who work on television and radio programmes hardly ever take a sympathetic line towards animal rights issues. Indeed, they usually lean very heavily on the side of those who want to continue to do pointless and barbaric things to animals.
One of the few reviews of 'Power over Cancer' to appear in a newspaper was this one which appeared in something called the North West Evening Mail, Cumbria. The anonymous reviewer wrote:
'The Sun's doctor offers advice on how to cut your cancer risk by 80 per cent. I find this quite frightening if people are going to read this and believe they will avoid cancer.'
I wrote to the Editor of the newspaper concerned and pointed out that I had not been a columnist on The Sun for four years. I also pointed out that if the reviewer had read the book he or she would have seen that I had filled the book with scientific evidence in support of my claim.
I did not receive a reply. And as far as I am aware my letter was not published.
Three months later the same newspaper (the circulation of which had, according to my cuttings agency gone down from 21,800 to 20,700) printed a review of my book 'How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You'.
The reviewer wrote:
'I'm sorry. I realise Dr Vern is a bit of a national hero to readers of the Sun, but I don't trust him.'
'This book proves it. It aims to undermine the professionals who have spent years learning the business.'
'Sure some people make mistakes, but to question the experts every step of the way is a little insulting to say the least.'
In the book I point out that one in six patients in hospital are there because they have been made ill by a doctor. I find it alarming to think that there are people around who feel that 'to question the experts every step of the way is a little insulting to say the least'.
I read today that one of America's most horrific mass murderers (a man who is infamous for having eaten the dead bodies of his victims) used to do foul things to animals when he was a boy. I am not surprised. I am convinced that people who can do cruel things to animals can do equally cruel things to other human beings. The boy who shoots cats and birds will grow up to be a vivisector, a brutal police officer or a mass murderer.
All over the world smokers who have developed cancer or other diseases after smoking cigarettes are suing tobacco companies. I don't entirely understand the logic of these lawsuits. Surely individuals who chose to smoke knew the risk they were taking? I have little doubt that in a few years time meat eaters who have developed cancer will probably sue butchers and others. But anyone who eats meat today has chosen their own destiny. If they develop cancer they have no one to blame but themselves.
Someone sent me a cutting today in which a vivisectionist complained that anti vivisectionists invariably refuse to engage in debate! The writer of this piece complained that antivivisectionists are part of the anti intellectual fringe of our society. What amazing lies these people tell. And what heights of self delusion they reach. Vivisectionists often seem to regard themselves as intellectuals. What nonsense. These people are intellectual froth; all bubbles and no substance. And as for their claim that anti vivisectionists refuse to debate the issue - the exact opposite is the truth!
I was invited some time ago to speak at an Oxford University in a debate about vivisection. The invitation was eventually withdrawn when the university could not find anyone prepared to debate with me. I offered to do both sides of the debate but the organisers did not seem to keen on this suggestion. (I am told that the debate eventually went ahead - without me.)
An anti vivisection group told me off for writing an unflattering article about vivisection. 'We are not in the business of embarrassing vivisectors,' a spokesman told me. Maybe they should be.
What a tragedy it is that so very few people are prepared to stand up and make their voices heard. I receive many, many letters from readers who tell me that they support the things I say about the abuse of animals but that they dare not do anything or speak out because they are too frightened. Most people seem to fear that they will be ridiculed by their friends, relatives and neighbours. Some are frightened that their jobs may be at risk. I can understand their fear - I have been fired many times for being too outspoken. But without public support we will never win. And silence does not help the animals.
The vivisection battle is truly one sided. Those of us who fight vivisection do so at our own expense. We either use our own resources to pay for our campaigns or we raise money for stamps and leaflet printing in pennies. Those who fight for vivisection do so with big money behind them.
My sympathies are entirely with those who want the live exports of animals to stop. It is clearly wrong that animals should be cooped up in lorries, without food or water, for hours and hours and even days at a time. Animals do not like being soaked in one another's urine and covered in one another's faeces. They suffer from hunger just like you and I do. They suffer fear just as you and I do. (It occurs to me that the adrenalin levels in these animals must be sky high when they are finally killed. Just what that does to the people who eat them I cannot imagine.)
But I do not feel that a ban on animal exports goes anywhere near far enough. I want to see all cruelty to animals stopped. And this means completely stopping the meat trade - not just the export of live animals.
I believe that the best way to persuade people to stop eating animals is to teach them that animals are sensitive, understanding, compassionate and thoughtful creatures.
When people understand that the steak or chop on their plate is hacked from a living, thinking being then they will, perhaps, stop eating animals. Maybe, eventually, they will regard eating animals as just as barbaric a practice as eating people.
One of the reasons why animals have to be transported alive is that many abattoirs do not satisfy international hygiene regulations. If the animals are killed here no one abroad will buy their dead bodies.
Our society sneers at and scorns the unusual or the eccentric. Politicians are frightened of anything new or challenging. They reject the innovative, the creative and the imaginative in favour of the accustomed, the comfortable and the ordinary. It will not, I fear, be long before mediocrity and incompetence are regarded as essential virtues; the necessary building blocks for personal and professional success. In schools mediocrity will be taught as a social necessity; compulsory for commercial or personal success. Creativity will be regarded as politically incorrect and therefore unacceptable. Originality will be suffocated.
The danger now is that the great thinkers of tomorrow will never even develop - let alone survive or thrive to find themselves struggling against the eternally powerful barriers erected by the establishment of the day.
This is a tragedy of monumental proportions for the lone eccentric voice, speaking out against perceived wisdom, is often right and the experts and the officials are often wrong.
If the politically correct have their way and the social workers and bureaucrats take over the world there will be no place in the 21st century for great thinkers and leaders like Christ, Paracelsus, Galileo, Confucius or Socrates.
The future will lie firmly in the hands of the mediocre and the incompetent.
being, past the thoughtless age of boyhood, will wantonly murder any
creature, which holds its life by the same tenure that he does. The hare in
its extremities cries like a child.'
Henry David Thoreau
'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, defending vivisection.
'Why would scientists do animal experiments if they weren't useful?' demanded his wife. '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 - that millions of animals are tortured and killed with our money purely for commercial profit - are too awful to contemplate.
A book buyer who had purchased a copy of my book 'Food for Thought' rang the office to congratulate us on updating and reprinting the book so quickly. The member of staff who took the call was puzzled. 'Food for Thought' has been reprinted many times but it has not yet been necessary to update it. She asked the caller what she meant. The caller explained that she was very impressed with the updated section referring to the link between eating beef and the human equivalent of Mad Cow Disease. The member of staff explained that the section had been in the book, unaltered, since the book was first published.
I wonder if there is anyone in the country stupid enough to believe what any politician tells them about Mad Cow Disease (or anything else for that matter). I suspect that anyone who still eats beef must be so dotty that doctors won't be able to tell the difference if they do develop Mad Cow Disease.
I first warned about the dangers of eating beef early in May 1990 when I was, I believe, the first doctor in the world to issue a public warning. I was, naturally, widely vilified by medical experts and journalists alike.
'Mad Cow Disease could be the biggest threat to human health since the Black Death plague that killed millions in Europe in the 14th century,' I said. 'There is already evidence to show that Mad Cow Disease is a bigger threat to humans than AIDS ever was.'
As always I based my view on sound evidence. There was plenty of evidence to convince me that the disease could spread from species to species - and that it could affect human beings. I warned that it would take several years for the problem to develop - and pleaded with the government to take action.
I have repeated my warning on numerous occasions.
On March 14th 1993 I warned that 'Mad Cow Disease' could be the biggest killer of the century.
'Don't eat beef, hamburgers or anything made from beef,' I warned. 'If you do, I believe you could be taking a real risk.'
The government's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth Calman
reassured meat eaters that beef could safely be eaten by everyone - children as well as adults.
'To say that Dr Coleman's views are alarmist would be an understatement' announced Dr Calman.
Over twenty years ago I warned that doctors were over prescribing antibiotics. I was laughed at. I warned that screening programmes were ineffective, costly and potentially dangerous. I was scorned. Now who disagrees with me?
Fifteen years ago I warned that hormones in our drinking water were endangering male fertility. I was described as a lunatic. But the evidence now shows that I was right. My warning about the spread of tuberculosis was ignored too.
Ten years ago I warned that electrical appliances could cause cancer. I warned parents to keep children at a distance from TV sets. Politicians and doctors said I was crazy. But now more and more experts agree with me.
Years ago my warnings about vaccines aroused violent and often personal attacks. My warnings about the health risks of passive smoking were ignored for years.
I first warned about the dangers associated with tranquillisers back in 1973. For years I was attacked, derided and scoffed at by politicians and doctors. In 1988 the government admitted that I was right - tranquillisers could be addictive. Doctors were given an official warning - and the government publicly stated that they had given the official warning because of my articles.
But I had been giving the same warnings for 15 years!
When I recently published evidence showing a link between meat and cancer politicians and the medical establishment ignored my warnings.
I have frequently been accused of exaggerating health risks to make a good story.
But way back in the 1980s, when just about every doctor, politician and journalist in the country was screaming about the dangers of AIDS, I pointed out that the available scientific evidence clearly showed that AIDS was not a major threat to heterosexuals. I was widely vilified for telling the truth.
I have consistently been threatened, harassed and lied about.
I believe that the government has for years been frightened to admit that Mad Cow Disease was a major threat. Farmers and the meat industry are very powerful.
I don't much care any more when politicians lie to save their own skins. I don't think people expect politicians to be honest. And they know that if one lot is forced to resign another set of greasy contemptibles will take over.
But I do object when politicians fail to tell doctors and the public the whole truth about health matters. And I object too when the government seems to put business above health.
A columnist in one of the posh papers has written a rather snide piece about the fact that I have the audacity to write novels as well as a newspaper column. I don't think the columnist has actually read any of my novels.
Today I read again a claim that animals do not have souls. How can anyone make such a claim? How can any man or woman have the arrogance to decide to which creatures god has, or has not, chosen to give souls?
An interviewer said to me today that she thought that my newspaper column might be an embarrassment to those who love animals and object to the use of animals in experiments. She pointed out that in a recent edition of the column I had sandwiched a reply expressing my distaste for vivisection in between two replies responding to questions about sexual and social behaviour. She asked me if I did not feel that it was inappropriate to place a comment about animal experimentation in between such topics. I pointed out that the column has well over six million readers, and that without the lighthearted answers and the irrelevance and nonsense with which my column is studded, I would have far fewer readers. I argued that in my view the impact of the material about animals is greater because of the circumstances in which it is placed. And I pointed out that since I was originally hired to write an agony column - dealing with psychological and sexual problems - it was, if anything, the question on animal experimentation which was out of place.
Nevertheless, such letters are commonplace. I regularly receive letters from animal rights supporters who think that my tabloid newspaper column is a disgrace because it contains questions and answers which do not deal with animal rights. I wonder how many of these people ignore their own employers' requirements and spend the time when they are supposed to be 'working' campaigning against animal cruelty?
Since no honest, intelligent individual could possibly defend vivisection it is clear that all those who try to defend vivisection are neither honest nor intelligent.
I regularly receive a small amount of mail from people who support animal experimentation. Most of them use green ink and print their letters in large, capital letters. Sometimes they build up their letters with individual words cut out of newspapers and magazines.
This letter came today.
'You will die. Why you love animals is stupid? Your sick. I am going to kill you and youre animals. I hate animals. They are all messy and stupid. I think their should be more experimence. Animals is just their for people to use.'
This was, I think, the most cogently argued supporting argument for vivisection that I have ever seen. This letter clearly came from one of the most intellectually astute vivisectionists.
I receive as many angry letters from people claiming to be animal rights supporters as I do from vivisection supporters. There are letters from people who have been told that I am not medically qualified, that I support violence, that I have been struck off the medical register and all sorts of other nonsenses. These people, who claim to oppose animal cruelty, usually write to tell me that they think I am a disgrace to the animal rights movement and that they do not want to be associated in any way with me. Some of the letters are cruelly personal. I wonder if they also find the time to write letters protesting about hunting, vivisection and other aspects of animal cruelty?
I have had files stolen from my home. Attempts have repeatedly been made to burgle my offices. People who work for me have suffered mysterious burglaries during which nothing was taken. Promotions planned for my books have suddenly, and mysteriously, been abandoned. Entirely false rumours have been spread about me. My telephone has suddenly stopped working just before I have been due to broadcast. And messages have been mysteriously sucked off my telephone answering machine. Strangers have knocked on my door, asked me to confirm that I am me, stared at me for a few moments and then walked away. Private detectives have followed my movements. Papers have been stolen from my jacket - and my wallet left behind. It would be easy to become paranoid.
When I was eighteen I worked for eight months as a full time voluntary worker just outside Liverpool. It was a raw part of the world where there was so much violence that the buses were routinely followed by police cars - without police protection the bus drivers and conductors wouldn't go anywhere near the place. My job there was to act as a catalyst - to encourage local young people to get involved in helping their own community. For example, I went round all the schools and youth clubs and factories recruiting young people to help decorate old peoples flats and provide other simple services. I then went door to door finding out who needed help with their home or garden. I don't know why I did this but in order to encourage the kids to help I told them that it would be fun. I warned them that what they would be doing might get them into trouble since we did not have permission to do anything to council property. (This claim quickly proved to be true: our combined efforts very nearly led to a council strike when workmen discovered that a small army of young people was doing work which should have been put on the list to be done officially).
At the end of the eight months I spoke at a conference of voluntary workers. The hall where I spoke was full of people who were doing good works. In my short speech I said that in my experience people who did things for other people, or who tried to improve the world, did so for purely selfish reasons. I pointed out that the kids who had joined my gang of painters and decorators and gardeners had, in my view, not done so because they wanted to help old people whom they didn't even know but partly because the whole project sounded like fun and partly because it was against the rules.
Most of the people in the hall were shocked. I was told by several that I should not judge other peoples motives by my own. The implication was clear: voluntary workers do what they do out of a sense of spiritual goodness and not for anything they can get of what they do.
Thirty odd years on I am convinced that I was right. People who do things for others - or to improve the world - do so for selfish reasons. There is nothing at all wrong with that. The reasons don't matter a damn. But it is a fact of life.
I spent much of my earlier life campaigning for people. I now spend much of my time campaigning for animals. These campaigns were and are inspired by the fact that I feel anger, sadness and frustration at the way people and animals are treated by our world. I have to do something to help counter the cruelty and the injustice or else the anger and the frustration will eat me away. I have to turn my sadness into anger and my anger into action.
I hope that people and animals benefit from my campaigns but that doesn't alter the fact that what I am doing is basically for me.
And the same is, I believe, true of everyone else who campaigns against cruelty or injustice.
After I been treated rudely by a police station employee I telephoned to complain.
'You should have said who you were,' said the senior officer to whom I spoke.
It is a terrible indictment of our society that saying 'who you are' is often a pre-requisite for obtaining good manners from public servants.
An anonymous letter came from a reader who wanted me to expose something his or her company is doing which he or she regards as immoral, unethical and cruel to animals. He or she insists that I cannot use his or her name or any of the information included in the letter (there wasn't much, but what there was seemed pretty damning). There are no names or addresses so I cannot check out any of the information myself. The anonymous letter writer explains that if he or she is identified he or she may lose his or her job. Why do so few people have any courage? What miserable existences they lead. So few people are prepared to put their heads above the parapet. But they all seem happy for me to take all the risks for them. Sadly, I cannot do anything with the information which I was sent because I cannot go into print without evidence.
What sort of person could work as a vivisector or abattoir worker - hearing, ignoring and working through the screams of animals every day? And what sort of person could possibly marry or live with a vivisector or abattoir worker? The relatives of these evil people must be constantly ashamed. I wonder if the incidence of mental illness and depression is greater among the relatives of vivisectors and abattoir workers? If not then the only answer must be that vivisectors and abattoir workers (and others in similar employment) must attract and develop 'relationships' with psychopathic individuals.
I have heard vivisectors arguing that because animals are sometimes cruel to one another it is perfectly all right for human beings to treat animals cruelly. This seems to me to be a very poor argument - even for vivisectors. It is rather like arguing that Dr Mengele and his colleagues were cruel to human beings and so it is perfectly all right for all of us to be cruel to one another.
We are supposed to be a superior species; and yet we are far crueller than any other species.
It seems to me that the majority of 'broadsheet' newspapers (the ones which regard themselves as 'intellectual' and which have been described as the 'unpopular press' in contrast to the tabloid 'popular press') are in favour of vivisection. I cannot remember ever having seen an article in broadsheet newspaper attacking vivisection. It is, I suspect, for this reason that they are so antagonistic towards me and my books. Writing for the 'broadsheet' newspapers is very easy. I wrote for The Guardian when I was in my teens and I contributed regularly to the other major broadsheet newspapers during my twenties. I suspect that the broadsheets take this stance because the journalists who work for them are of rather inferior intellectual quality and are greatly influenced by the minor academics who favour animal experimentation. There is much friendship between these two groups. The journalists are flattered to be able to associate with the academics and the academics are delighted to be able to use the pages of the broadsheet newspapers to defend their evil work. And both groups receive healthy financial subsidies from the ever generous and grateful pharmaceutical industry which constantly benefits from their collaboration. The tabloid newspapers are much more inclined to publish articles attacking vivisection, much braver and much more courageous about attacking or challenging the scientific and medical establishments.
I met a doctor who is a vegetarian. He told me that his colleagues all regard him as a lunatic. He genuinely believes that his vegetarianism has had an adverse effect on his career. He says he is pointed to and laughed at when he goes to medical meetings. Other doctors make lots of weak jokes about lentils and lettuce. He says he particularly dislikes the colleagues who feign concern for his health and ask him what vitamin and mineral supplements he takes. He is, he told me, surprised at the level of ignorance about nutrition among members of the medical profession. I told him that although I was sad I wasn't in the slightest bit surprised to hear about the way he is treated. I told him that I had recently received a letter from a girl who was complaining that when she visited her doctor she noticed that her computerised medical notes contained the words 'Inadequate Diet'. The doctor admitted that this referred to the fact that she is a vegetarian. Even more worrying is the fact that the phrase had not been put into the computer by the girl's doctor but that it was part of the software the practice used. Whoever had written the program had decreed that whenever the word 'vegetarian' appeared by a patient's name a warning about 'inadequate diet' should be added to the records.
I received a letter today from an angry reader. She says that when she telephoned to talk to me on a radio programme she was told by the producer that I was a 'nut case who will go off on a tangent if given the chance and as this is a live programme we can't risk him slandering a large conglomerate who may sue us.' 'What a sad statement regarding a so called professional man', she writes, wrongly assuming that I knew that callers were being told this. 'Have you not a grain of self respect? Do you not find it demeaning to be gagged by a third rate radio presenter on a third rate radio station?'
Why, I wonder, are so many people so keen to believe the worst?
'Your trouble is that you see things in black and white,' said a friend. He was right. I do see some things in black and white. Hunting and vivisection are black. I cannot see any white in these activities. There are those who believe that we should compromise in order to move forwards. I cannot see why we should compromise at all. We are right. They are wrong. These foul, barbaric and evil activities should be stopped.
Driving through the countryside I came across a hunt. What a barbaric, mean spirited activity hunting is. If a gang of impoverished city dwellers drove around on motorcycles, intent on chasing and killing animals, they would undoubtedly all be arrested. A man in fancy dress on a horse was arrogantly holding up a whip to stop the traffic while a party of men and women in fancy dress clip clopped leisurely by. I wound down my window and tried to open a debate on the cruelty of hunting. The man on the horse stared down at me with empty, unfeeling, unseeing eyes and then cracked his whip down hard on my car roof, doing a considerable amount of damage to the paint work. I did not bother to complain to the police.
Driving around the countryside I often see the red coated barbarians preparing for their evil rituals. They clutter up the roads with their horse boxes and pollute the countryside with their very presence.
For years I have successfully managed to avoid meeting any hunt followers. I keep out of dark corners and avoid the sort of slime covered holes where these creatures hide away.
But by accident I did once find myself in a room with a few of them. My first inclination was to leave the room as quickly as I could. But, as an ardent student of human nature, I thought it was probably time that I tried to understand what makes these stag and fox murdering creatures tick.
So, I metaphorically manacled myself to a chair and allowed a bunch of these miserable, perverted miscreants to speak.
The first, a chinless, dull, dark haired fellow had the sort of incisive intelligence that one normally associates with house bricks. He probably spends his days working in council offices somewhere. Or he may be a hospital administrator.
His first argument was that stag hunting is essential. He claimed that stags are vermin and that some of them need to be killed. He said that if they weren't killed then they would cause untold damage to the farmland upon which they wander. I countered by pointing out, firstly that the hunt itself causes a considerable amount of damage to land and property and wildlife and, secondly, by arguing that if the stags do need culling (something I do not accept) then it would surely more reasonable and responsible to do so humanely.
The chinless, weedy hunt supporter got quite excited by this. A speckle of froth appeared upon his lips as his tiny brain struggled to send messages to his mouth.
'Ah,' he said, waving a podgy finger at me, 'but the stag enjoys the hunt.'
The second hunt supporter looked female. She was probably somewhere between 25 and 50 years of age and she wore a headscarf printed with pictures of men in red coats being accompanied by hounds. She hesitated before speaking as though she found ordinary, everyday speech a difficult task. When she finally spoke she did so in a high pitched nasal whine that reminded me of a moped stuck in second gear.
'You don't understand the ways of the country,' she said, in a patronising tone. 'These creatures, foxes and stags and such like, have to be kept down. It's the way of the country. The hunt is a remarkably efficient and economical way to do it.'
I told her that I thought she probably make more sense if she stood up and communicated through another orifice.
The hunt supporter seemed baffled by this so I explained my thought in more detail. She reddened and then looked offended.
'My husband is very important,' she told me haughtily. 'Don't you dare speak to me like that.'
I gave her ten pence so that she could telephone her important husband and pass on my sentiments.
The third hunt supporter was male and dressed in a tweed jacket and a pair of old tweed trousers. He smoked small pieces of old underfelt in a battered pipe and his nose and cheeks were lined with purple veins. Any decent wine merchant would have probably given a tidy sum for the right to wring out his liver and sell the proceeds.
'You can't stop the hunt,' he told me. 'It's something that has been going on for centuries. It's part of life. It's an important social ritual. It's part of our heritage.'
I muttered something about smuggling, slavery and highwaymen, hanging, scurvy and press gangs.
'Well, its perfectly legal,' said the man with the pipe. 'You can't stop us hunting. And if you ever do we'll kill all our horses and dogs.'
And that really seemed to sum up the argument in favour of hunting.
After the two remaining hunt supporters had left I sat and thought about what I had learned. And I tried to understand what sort of person could possibly get any enjoyment out of hunting.
Here are the conclusions I came to.
The men are almost certainly inadequate and possibly sexually incompetent. The men who hunt or follow hunts are full of guilts and repressions. They carry around with them an enormous but unfulfilled sexual burden. They try to rid themselves of all their guilt by taking part in cruel and savage rituals. The women also have severe sexual problems. They are desperately repressed and deeply unhappy. They go hunting or follow hunts because they get little satisfaction from their sexual partners. They are desperate to be fulfilled but, like many evil folk, can only obtain release when blood is shed.
Those who hunt or follow the hunts are deeply unhappy people. They desperately need help.
Sadly, however, because they are unintelligent, invariably semi literate and inevitably cowardly they do not have the wisdom or the courage to ask for help. So we will do what we can to help them.
If you know anyone who goes hunting or who follows hunts you can help them in the following simple ways.
Try to make their lives as miserable as possible. Like most sadists these people also enjoy being maltreated. Inside every sadist there is a masochist trying to get out.
I know it sounds cruel but if you have a huntsman working for you then sack him. If you have a hunt supporter working on your payroll give him or her the push. They may seem aggrieved but in the fullness of time they will thank you for your kindness.
If a hunt supporter wants to join your club then blackball him. If a hunter wants you to mend his plumbing or service his car tell him to piss off.
Deep down these people know that they are foul and evil. They know that they need to be punished. They feel deep shame and guilt and by persecuting them you will be helping them.
Animal are the truly oppressed citizens of our world. Philosophers write long books about whether or not animals have rights. How can there possibly be any doubt? How can animals not have rights? Who gave us the right to decide whether or not animals have rights?
People seem to want easy solutions for everything these days. People want to get rich by winning the lottery. It is far easier to acquire a million pounds, dollars, marks or francs by winning a prize than it is by working.
No one who is fat wants to make any effort to lose weight. They want to take a magic pill and watch the fat drop off.
And no one wants to make any effort to avoid cancer or heart disease - they want doctors to find a cure for such diseases so that they don't need to worry and can carry on doing all the things which are known to be bad for them. The truth is that most cancers and most heart disease are avoidable. But most people don't want to be bothered. They don't want to give up their fatty foods. They want scientists to find a cure so that they can carry on as before.
It is this laziness, this eagerness to hand over the responsibility to some one else, this reluctance to accept responsibility for one's own destiny or to take action which might be troublesome, this unwillingness to deny oneself the harmful activities one enjoys, which sustains the morally and intellectually bankrupt cancer industry. And it is the wish to have someone else find an instant solution, a quick cure, which sustains the vivisectors. They are, they tell everyone, looking for a 'cure for cancer'.
'If I put a few coins in the collecting tin,' thinks the smoker, the fat individual or the over-eater, 'the scientists will find a cure and I won't have to give up the things I enjoy doing.'
And the smoker, the fat individual or the over eater don't mind what the scientists do in their search for a magic cure. They believe what they are told because they want to believe. And they are happy to accept the idea that animal experiments are done on their behalf (and with their few coins) because they believe that the animal experiments may enable the scientists to find that elusive but oh so convenient cure.
I had for years wanted to write a book listing examples showing that animals can be kind, thoughtful, sad, comforting - and, generally, exhibit the variety of emotions associated with human beings. The other day I found a note which I had written to myself seven or eight years ago which said simply: 'Book on animals' humanitarian behaviour: intelligent and kind behaviour; general and specific examples'. 'When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals' is written by Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy and is just the book I would like to have written. (As an author I can think of no greater tribute to give). It is packed with examples showing that animals experience emotions. I found the book almost too moving to read. Here is one short extract from the book:
'In one grim and inexcusable experiment on fifteen rhesus monkeys, they were trained to pull either of two chains to get food. After a while a new aspect was introduced: if they pulled one of the chains a monkey in an adjacent compartment would receive a powerful electric shock. Two thirds of the monkeys preferred to pull the chain that gave them food without shocking the other monkey. Two other monkeys, after seeing shock administered, refused to pull either chain. Monkeys were less likely to shock other monkeys if they knew those monkeys, and were less likely to shock other monkeys if they had been shocked themselves.'
I am constantly ashamed to be a member of the same race as those who devise such experiments. I am glad that Masson and McCarthy have already written this book. I really do find it distressing to be constantly reminded that animals have qualities which we, arrogantly, regard as uniquely human and I would have found it very painful to have to write such a book. This is, I suspect, why I never got round to writing the book.
Animals live to six times the age at which they reach maturity. If this was true for humans we would live to be well over 100. Since humans are the only animals to spend a fortune on health care, why are humans the only animals who don't normally live this long?
Of course we can splice genes. But can we not splice genes?
Jean Paul Sartre
For years we've been told about the wonders of gene therapy.
We've been told that by messing about with genes scientists will be able to eradicate disease and create wonderful new foods. But there has been far too little discussion about the dangers of gene therapy.
Now scientists, pundits and commentators all seem to have accepted gene therapy as a 'good thing'.
I am not so enthusiastic. I believe that messing about with genes is one of the greatest threats to mankind.
And now that gene therapy has been given the green light our future is firmly in the hands of doctors and scientists.
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 you start messing around with genes you 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 exactly - 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?
(What would you say if I told you that I suspected that scientists have already done this?)
Genetic scientists say they will be able to tell you what diseases you'll get as you get older. But do you really want to know what horrors await you?
Food scientists will make square egg, bacon and tomato plants 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 do happen. Experts said the Titanic was safe. And one in six hospital beds are occupied by people who have been made ill by doctors. Since 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.
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. A recently published book concluded 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 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?
Should we let scientists mess around with nature in this way at all?
Some scientists will claim that through genetic engineering they will be able to prevent some diseases appearing at all. They will be able to eradicate diseases which are transmitted through the genes. And that is undoubtedly an attractive proposition.
But is the risk worth taking? Where do we make the scientists stop?
I think we should stop them now. I don't think the alleged commercial and economic advantages of genetic therapy to society are worth the risks.
Animal researchers received a œ100,000 grant to study how worms defaecate. Other researchers, who received œ160,000, found that monkeys were less stressed by repeated electric shocks if they had a companion nearby. A third group of researchers, who received œ71,000, found that male monkeys were more likely to get erections when there was a female monkey in heat nearby. Remember all this next time you are invited to put money into a tin for 'medical research'.
The truth is that 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 (we call it buccal absorption) and they rub yet others onto their skin (we call that topical application). Ethiopian baboons who are at risk of developing schistosomiasis eat balanites 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 vernonia. 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 flies.
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 children's' sake; and for the sake of the animals the vivisectors kill.
'Like many of
my contemporaries I had rarely for many years used animal food, or tea and
coffee etc; not so much because of any ill effects which I had traced to
them, as because they were not agreeable to my imagination. The repugnance
to animal food is not the effect of experience, but is an instinct. I
believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or
poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to
abstain from animal food.'
Henry David Thoreau
We like to think that the Germans who worked in the concentration camps were exceptionally evil individuals. But every nation contains thousands of pustulant beings who will obey orders as long as they're paid well, given heaps of authority and provided with smart uniforms. Any government which decided to exterminate beggars or jews would find it easy to recruit staff.
Most of those who satisfy the requirements for gas chamber attendants are currently working as vivisectors, lawyers, policemen and traffic wardens.
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 our rights.
Now the greatest threat to our liberty comes not from criminals but from the legal system. New laws will soon mean that you're guilty if the police say you're guilty. Human rights have been replaced by police rights. Those paid to run the legal system have forgotten that the law was invented to protect the ordinary citizen.
Recent governments have passed endless oppressive and unjust laws. Consequently, 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.
No society has ever had as many laws as we have. And few societies can ever have had less justice.
Ring up and complain that you've been robbed, mugged or raped and a snotty, supercilious, patronising overpaid thug 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.
But leave your car outside the police station 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 have an inbuilt 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 I know of a church where they are installing video cameras. They're worried that they'll turn up one morning and find the church gone and the spire propped up on bricks.
(Policemen and traffic wardens are quick to grovel if they think they're dealing with someone whom they regard as important. A year or two 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. When I parked in a shopping arcade 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 Lizzie's car flies a royal standard I fly a skull and crossbones. I get more salutes than tickets.)
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.
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.
If animal rights activists do œ50 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. There are always thousands of highly paid policemen and policewomen available to protect lorries transporting animals when those lorries have to drive past animal rights protestors.
The law was 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 cost of litigation means that there is one law for the rich and no law for the poor. The law threatens and reduces the rights of the weak and strengthens and augments the rights of the powerful.
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 to protect itself. They are not concerned with justice, freedom or equality since those are values which give strength to you and me.
When a cat has died well meaning friends will sometimes say something like: 'Why don't you get another one?' This is rather like suggesting to bereaved parents that they just go out and adopt another child. Or, to someone whose parents have died, suggesting that they adopt a pair of old people they've never met before.
I saw an interview with Henri Cartier Bresson in a newspaper. The legendary photographer described himself as a 'libertarian' and an 'ethical anarchist'. These are words with which I feel great sympathy. I am driven by the need to right injustice, fired by the exploitation of the weak, the dumb and the gentle and constantly saddened by the fact that the truth is no longer a treasured commodity.
People these days do not want wisdom, information or knowledge. They ask questions but do not want answers. They do not value experience. Everyone wants a quick, simple, slick solution. It is, I fear, the television age. We live in the age of thirty second sound bites; politicians and others produce meaningless three sentence homilies and people believe them. Those in the healing business offer quick solutions to problems which can only be solved by abstinence or self awareness.
The scientists who perform animal experiments rely heavily upon this yearning for quick solutions. They know that by promising 'magic bullet' solutions to diseases such as cancer they can excite the public into supporting their evil work.
And to a large extent they are right.
The reality - that most cases of cancer and heart disease can be prevented - is of no importance. This is the media age and perception is far more important than reality.
There were three women, all wearing fur coats, looking into a shop window. Heaven alone knows how many animals had died so that these women could impress one another and make bold, traditional fashion statements to the world.
'These animal rights people who object to fur coats make me so angry,' said one of the women.
'I'm quite sure the animals are proud that their fur is used to make coats.' said another.
'My fur is made from animals which were especially bred,' said the third. 'If it wasn't for me those animals would have never lived at all.'
'If I didn't like animals why would I want to wear fur?' said the second.
I moved away.
But I felt guilt for those woman and I are members of the same species.
'The anti vivisectionist has nothing to prove; many animals used in experiments are sentient and purposive and thus have prima facie rights to live and be left alone.'
Professor Arthur L Caplan
I like animals. Most of them are more intelligent, more charming, more faithful and more fun than most people and all vivisectors. And the rights of animals is going to be the biggest issue in politics in this country for the rest of the decade.
People who like animals, and who have been sickened by the barbaric way evil spirited farmers, scientists and other barbarians treat them, have been campaigning for animal rights for years.
It's taken a long time to get animal issues to the forefront. But it isn't something that has happened overnight. For five years now just about every MP I've spoken to who can read has reported getting more mail about animal issues than any other subject - including health, education and defence.
Animals are abused in three main ways.
First, we cage them in tiny boxes, move them about soaked in their own urine and knee deep in their own faeces, scare them senseless and then slit their throats and eat them - tonsils, intestines, faeces and all. This is known as the meat trade and is doomed because 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 you are eating doesn't itself have cancer there is a good chance that the nice juicy steak you're looking forward to eating 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.
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 in a corner by the kitchen and sensitive, sentient beings will treat them with disdain.
Second, we abuse animals in the name of science.
Every thirty seconds another thousand animals are tortured to death in laboratories. Cats, kittens, puppies, dogs, monkeys, rats, hamsters: you name the species they torture it and kill it.
The scientists who perform animal experiments, and their supporters, claim that what they do helps human beings.
They say this because they are evil, soulless, liars whose morals (if they ever had any) have been bought and paid for.
No animal experiment ever helped a human being. Animals are so completely different to people that experiments on animals are dangerously misleading.
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 they will then use the one experiment showing that their new drug doesn't cause cancer in a sixth species to get their product on the market.
It is hardly surprising that one in six people in hospital are there because they have been made ill by doctors.
Third, we abuse animals for fun.
People put on fancy dress and ride around chasing foxes, stags and other animals to their death. They then claim that they are trying to preserve the countryside. If challenged they sulkily threaten to kill their horses and hounds if their hobby is stopped.
They don't even have the guts to admit that they are blood thirsty psychopaths who get a kick out of killing.
Those who want to continue abusing animals - for money or for fun - fight foul. I've been followed by private detectives, my life has been threatened and my telephone has been tapped by those who want to silence my campaigns for animals.
There are going to be some surprising and unexpected casualties in the last great civil rights battle.
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. Catholics seem to believe that it is a sin to show affection to animals. Jews kill animals for food in the most barbaric way imaginable. And a sanctimonious Christian once informed me that it was perfectly all right to treat animals badly because they don't have souls.
I like animals.
And so does my god.
And the campaign for animal rights will continue until we win.
said to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes
nothing to make bones with' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day
to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the
while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable made bones, jerk him
and his lumbering plough along in spite of every obstacle.'
Henry David Thoreau
If there was a button I could press to destroy the entire world (including myself and those I love) I would fight all obstacles to reach it. This is a foul world, dominated and controlled by the dishonest, the inept, the barbaric and the cruel, the selfish, the greedy, the mean spirited and the narrow minded, the bigoted, the prejudiced and the hollow. I would cross rivers, climb mountains and drag myself to the button that would save animals from the unspeakable cruelty of this world.
Those who are cruel to animals - and who argue that animals have no rights - lack understanding, intuition, wisdom and knowledge. And I regard them as evil.
The world's vivisectors - the barbaric psychopaths 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, monkeys, 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, chimpanzees and similar 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 U.S.
In one part of New York over 10,000 dogs were reported missing in a single nine month period. One bereaved pet owner searched for his missing dog and found him inside a research laboratory.
Animal theft is really big business there. Vivisectors prefer working with pet dogs and cats because they are tame and trusting - and less likely to bite or scratch.
I firmly believe that petnapping goes on in other countries 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 pet has ever mysteriously disappeared it could have found its way into a vivisector's laboratory.
The vivisectors are truly evil and will stop at nothing to obtain the animals they need. They don't care about the law. They don't care about the fact that families may mourn the loss of their loved pet. All they care about is getting another fat grant and performing yet more useless and cruel experiments. Vivisection is a big, rich business which needs an endless supply of raw material.
And the raw material they need could be your much loved family pet. Scientists working in horror laboratories should have to prove the origins of every animal on their premises - to anyone who asks.
Why should vivisectors be entitled to do their evil work in secret - behind locked gates? It is, after all, often public money which they are using to pay for these pointless and cruel experiments in torture.
Animal lovers who have lost pets should have the right to enter all laboratories at any time to search for missing animals.
Vivisectors are today's concentration camp guards. Remember: Mengele, the concentration camp doctor, the Angel of Death feared by millions, was a vivisector.
You cannot be neutral about vivisection. If you aren't against it then you are for it. Anyone who doesn't fight in the anti vivisection war is just as responsible for what is done as are the men and women in blood stained white coats who torture and murder in the name of science.
I watched a documentary film about Anne Frank and I cried as I watched how the Germans treated their concentration camp victims during the Second World War. I cried not just because of the way the jews were treated by the vile barbarians of Nazi Germany but because the pain, the sorrow, the indignity and the cruelty suffered by Anne Frank and millions of others has changed nothing.
I believe there are plenty of people alive today who would happily operate concentration camps and gas chambers if the government told them to.
There are 20,000 vivisectors in this country. Evil men and women who will do anything for money. Evil beings for whom cruelty is a way of life and compassion just a meaningless ten letter word. The evil being who can ignore the pitiful screams of a kitten or a puppy can just as easily ignore the pitiful screams of a child.
I had a conversation with a newspaper editor. It went like this.
Editor: 'Why do you spend so much writing about animals?'
VC: 'Because I like animals. I care about them. And I think they are treated badly.'
Editor: 'But you're wrecking your career. People think you're just a nutter.'
VC: 'I don't care. Isn't there anything you feel passionate about? Isn't there anything in your life which you think is worth fighting for?'
Editor (after thinking for some time, and clearly puzzled): 'What do you mean?'
There are, it cannot be denied, more things to worry about today than there have ever been before.
When we and our descendants look back on this period in our history there will be little for us to be proud of. Superficially the last few years have been a period of growth for a civilised, developed society. There are motorways everywhere. Most people own micro wave ovens, video recorders and television sets. The Channel Tunnel is open.
But the soul of our time has been sour and will leave a bitter taste. The second half of the twentieth century will be remembered with shame and embarrassment. Our time in history will be remembered as the decade when people stopped caring, stopped trusting one another and started thinking only of themselves. The second half of the twentieth century will be remembered for poverty and extravagance; for violence, hatred and jealousy.
The incidence of violence in our society is increasing faster than at any previous time. The incidence of child abuse is on the increase. Every winter thousands of old people die because they cannot afford to feed themselves or keep themselves warm. The number of people committing suicide is rising faster than ever. The number of people who have no jobs, and no hope of employment, has never been higher. The incidence of baby battering is on the increase. The fact that the number of people needing psychiatric help is increasing annually. A baby born today is more likely to be admitted to a mental hospital than win a place at university. Thousands of people are homeless and have no hope of finding homes. Millions of hard working people are technically bankrupt because they bought their own homes. There are now more alcoholics around than ever before - and that the incidence is increasing every year. The fact that the nation's politicians are a dishonest, untrustworthy bunch. We have polluted our environment, fouled our seas and filled our world with indestructible rubbish. We have more laws than ever before, and civil liberty is now merely a phrase from the past, but crime rises constantly. The greatest threat to personal liberty now comes not from crooks or bandits but from the courts and the police. Although we now have more social workers than ever before in our history, social problems are endemic in many areas of our nation. We spend more on health care than ever before but people are sicker than ever and thousands of people die because they cannot get the treatment they need.
Most citizens have forgotten how to care and have become gutless zombies; more concerned about their chances of winning the Lottery than their responsibilities for the world.
Big companies that sell food, lend money or manufacture goods care nothing about their customers. They sell them food that will kill them. They lend them money they can't afford to borrow. And they sell them goods that are shoddy and poorly built. They lie and they cheat to maintain their profits.
The second half of the twentieth century will be best remembered for a meanness of spirit, a lack of generosity and an absence of honesty. But most of all our time will be remembered as the years when hardly anyone really cared.
Revolutionaries who dreamt of freedom, peace and compassion when they were twenty dream today of new triple tufted carpets, double glazing and ABS brakes. (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).
How many people have retained their teenage dreams? How many people can say that they are living the lives they dreamt of living when they were sixteen?
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.
I hate television. Over my shoulder I see the forces of darkness arraigned in suits of every shade of grey. And yet while these evil forces crowd daily closer the over-promoted 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 expensive haircuts and cheap 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 soap-land than with reality.
The 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. They may occasionally still feel anger, frustration, alienation and bewilderment. But they 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.
(My syndicated column has been 'fired' by around 40 newspaper editors. I remember I was once fired by a newspaper for the heinous crime of making readers think. The editor felt that this was not the sort of thing his readers wanted.)
Please do not let your life drift by. You really can make a difference. So dust off your principles, drag your dreams back out of the attic and scream and shout and let the evil ones know that you care and that you will not let them win. The abuse of animals is the greatest abuse of the twentieth century and the abuse of animals in laboratories is the greatest abuse of animals. It is done in the names of science, mankind, medicine, morality and the relief of suffering but it is an abomination, an insult and a insult to our past our present and our future.
The vivisectors torture and kill 1,000 cats, dogs, kittens, puppies, monkeys, rabbits and other animals every thirty seconds. How much longer will they be allowed to do this?
A medical journal invited me to write a short article explaining why I believed that animal experiments were of no value to doctors treating patients suffering from heart disease. The journal told me that they would also be publishing an article from a doctor who would argue that animal experiments were necessary. When the journal eventually published my article it chose to do so in what I thought was a rather unusual way. In addition to our two articles the journal published page after page of letters from doctors around the world - doctors who had been given the chance to look at my article before it was published and write their comments about what I had written for inclusion in the same issue of the journal.
I received a letter the other day from a reader who wanted to know why I am so outspoken.
'I agree with much of what you say,' he wrote. 'But you would make far fewer enemies if you were more tactful. You make people feel uncomfortable.'
I am sure that reader is right.
I've been a newspaper and magazine columnist for thirty years and in that time I've been fired well over forty times. (I've also resigned quite a few times too - having a tendency to resign if anyone so much as moves a comma in my copy). One editor once told me that he was getting rid of my column because I made people think.
I am old enough to know that I have two main problems.
The first is that I am honest. I say what I believe. And I don't care whether it is politically incorrect or culturally insensitive.
And my second big problem is that I care.
Neither of these are, I realise, fashionable virtues.
Indeed, I am sure that some people would regard honesty and passion as vices. We live in strange and rather awful times. Most people don't seems to give a stuff about anything any more. The world is full of people who don't care, won't take responsibility and are frightened to say what they think.
Unlike their predecessors modern politicians no longer resign.
And they get away with it because not enough people care.
Our streets are full of people who are homeless and impoverished. No one cares. Our hospitals are decaying. Patients are treated without compassion or respect. The educational system is a sick joke. Illiteracy is commonplace. Huge swathes of our population are unemployable because they can neither write a letter nor add up a column of figures. Go into a shop to buy something and the chances are that you will be served by a surly, ignorant assistant who doesn't care a jot whether you buy something or not. If you do buy and it goes wrong they won't care about that either. We live in a world controlled by bureaucrats and faceless morons who neither think or care about what they do.
Have you tried telephoning a large company to complain? It's like talking to cotton wool. Bored complacency is endemic.
A friend of mine has just received a cheque from his insurance company. The accident which resulted in this modest payment occurred years ago. Over the months he has spoken and written to an endless series of grey faced bureaucrats. None of them seemed to care two hoots about the delay.
Another friend is waiting to go into hospital for an operation on her hip. She has been on the waiting list for over a year. No one gives a damn. When she rings up to try and find out what is going on the hospital staff are rude and offhand. They clearly regard all patients as a bloody nuisance.
We live in a world which is run by the incompetent and the uncaring, the unthinking and the unfeeling.
No one cares.
Well I refuse to apologise for the fact that I care.
I have nothing but contempt for people who sit on the fence and won't say what they think.
Screams And Nightmares • Winning The Moral And Ethical Arguments • Winning The Medical And Scientific Arguments • Letter From Elliot Morley • Contact
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