It’s little wonder any debate on animal rights is marred by accusations of extremism when a 48 year-old grandmother gets 15 months for storming into a laboratory and calling people ‘scum’ (no physical harm caused, just hurt feelings), while David Smith, who allegedly made £100,000 killing healthy greyhounds, is fined just £2,000 for burying them in the wrong place. It’s hard to respect the law when it proves time and time again that it is an ass.
Yet some effort has been made to calm the debate. In 1986 the Tories updated the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act (the first legislation of its kind anywhere in the world) which governed vivisection and created a thing called the Animal Procedures Committee (with a built-in pro-vivisection majority, obviously) that reports to parliament from time to time, with a view to giving MPs a chance to get to grips with the issues. But while HM Treasury has been giving time to calls to ease the regulatory burden placed on the vivisection industry, the last report the APC laid before parliament (published October 2006, on year 2005) remains ignored. Indeed, MPs have never bothered to consider any report laid before parliament by the APC, which is a shame because this one includes important recommendations on the issue of licenses to experiment and the collection and publication of industry statistics.
Fortunately, some MPs are ready for proper civilised debate on a hard, emotional and philosophical issue and have signed this Early Day Motion. I’m pleased to say my MP has already signed – thanks John Leech – and you might like to ask yours to do the same.