Ross Clark Ross Clark

The terror war we can win

Ross Clark says that if the government were to mount a real fight, we could defeat the animal rights terrorists — and prevent unnecessary suffering in the laboratories

Ross Clark says that if the government were to mount a real fight, we could defeat the animal rights terrorists — and prevent unnecessary suffering in the laboratories

Besides the hefty clunk of The Spectator on your doormat this week, you will shortly be receiving HMG’s advice on how citizens should cope with a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction. It tells us to stock up with bottled water, tinned food and a tin opener. It is a noble exercise, preparing people for the worst, even if the government’s last grim warnings about the dangers of weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a little wide of the mark. But it would also be nice to know that officials were taking such a proactive approach to the terrorist threat that already manifests itself daily and threatens the lives of thousands of innocent Britons: that from animal rights extremists.

This Friday the government plans to announce its new strategy on dealing with animal rights fanatics. It is very timely. Last week the construction company Montpellier withdrew from its contract to build a new animal research laboratory in Oxford after a campaign of intimidation by animal rights activists, which involved writing directly to shareholders warning them of ‘prompt action’ unless they sold their shares immediately; shares fell by 19 per cent. According to reports filed by the 80 companies represented by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, attacks by animal rights activists have risen sharply over the past couple of years. In the year to April, there were 173 reported incidents of criminal damage, up from 61 in the previous 12 months. A total of 135 company directors were threatened in their own homes, up from 77 in the previous 12 months.

Yet few of those who have been targeted have faith in the government to take effective measures to tackle the terrorists.

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