(from SchNEWS 193, 27 November 1998)
Update 14.12.98: Barry Horne has come off his hunger strike and is now receiving medical treatment.
SchNEWS report follows:
As SchNEWS went to press animal rights prisoner Barry Horne was entering his 52nd day on hunger strike. Barry who received the last rites on Sunday is in an extremely critical condition slipping in and out of consciousness. He will only end his hunger strike if Labour fulfil their pre-election pledge of a Royal Commission on animal experiments. Bizarely, Labour call this request "blackmail", and that they will not pledge to keep their pledges!
National and international protests for Barry continue despite a virtual media blackout on the hunger strike. On the day of the state opening of Parliament, people unfurled 3 banners in front of the Queen as she made her way to Parliament. Later, activists blockaded Downing Street with two people swinging their vehicle across the gates, slashing their own tyres, and securing themselves to the steering wheel with D-locks. It took police an hour to remove them. The Friday before people carried out their own advertising campaign on behalf of Barry, spraying over 80 walls around East London, and messages appearing along the M1 and M25.
The government's announcement that no more licences for cosmetic testing would be issued, covers just 0.3 % of the over 2.6 million animals that are used each year is a lame gesture. Since 1990, experiments in genetic engineering have increased 630%. The gross ingenuity of torture carried out in vivisection "procedures" also means over 5 million animals bred for scientific experiments each year are killed by gassing , lethal injection or by breaking their necks before even reaching laboratories because they are "surplus to requirements".
The horrendous wastage of millions of animals including dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits, mice and rats is just one aspect in an industry where species difference makes results unreliable: vivisection told us thalidomide was safe and that the greatest elixir of conventional medicine, penicillin, was unsafe (penicillin kills guinea pigs), Do not allow the government to continue this scientific fraud and ignore its pledge which concerns the lives of millions of animals and the life of Barry Horne.