A farm is to stop breeding guinea pigs for medical research after intimidation by animal rights activists.
The family-run Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, has been at the centre of a campaign of abuse.
The owners and people connected with the business have received death threats during the six-year onslaught.
The family said they hoped the decision would prompt the return of the body of their relative Gladys Hammond, whose remains were stolen from a churchyard.
The remains were taken from her grave in nearby Yoxall in October.
Mrs Hammond, who was buried in St Peter’s churchyard seven years ago, was the mother-in-law of Christopher Hall, part-owner of the farm.
In a statement, a close relative of Mrs Hammond, who declined to be named, said there was now no reason why her body could not be returned.
“Gladys was a relative of the Halls by marriage only and had no involvement in guinea pig breeding.
“She was a kind, gentle country lady who loved animals. She was also friendly, generous and loving and always put her family first.”
The Hall family have been subjected to hate mail, malicious phone calls, hoax bombs and arson attacks.
A spokeswoman for David Hall and Partners confirmed that the business, where several thousand guinea pigs are reared, was to stop breeding animals for medical research.
The Hall family is now expected to concentrate on the arable side of the business.
Campaigners who have legitimately picketed the farm over recent years said they would continue their protest until the guinea pig breeding operation officially closed at the end of the year.
Johnny Holmes, a spokesman for Stop the Newchurch Guinea Pigs, said: “This is the most fantastic day of my life.
“It’s a victory for the animals and it’s a fundamental victory for the animal rights movement.
“Ideally, I wish they would close down today and hand them over. We want those guinea pigs out.”
In a statement, the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI ) expressed its best wishes to the family and said their decision was “regrettable but understandable”.
Director of the ABPI Philip Wright said guinea pigs had been essential in research into respiratory disease resulting in breakthroughs in the development of new medicines.
‘Not a victory’
“The activities of a few animal rights extremists have placed impossible pressure on those going about their legitimate business,” he said.
“While animal rights extremists are likely to be only one factor in the final decision, it does underline the need for greater protection of those individuals and companies targeted.”
David Bird, from Staffordshire Police, told BBC Radio 4 it had been impossible to give complete protection because the campaign had been so widespread.
“We have had some success in dealing with those responsible. What I would say is that this closure is not a victory for anybody,” he said.
“This campaign has done absolutely nothing to further the cause of animal rights.”
A farm that bred guinea pigs to sell to labs for torture in the name of ‘medical research’ has been stopped through a sustained campaign. Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, England had bred guinea pigs and refused to stop trafficking in animals when requested to do so. Direct action was taken until the farm owners relented.
Johnny Holmes, a spokesman for Stop the Newchurch Guinea Pigs, said: “This is the most fantastic day of my life. “It’s a victory for the animals and it’s a fundamental victory for the animal rights movement. “Ideally, I wish they would close down today and hand them over. We want those guinea pigs out.”
The campaign required threats against the farm owners as well as their suppliers. Activists even had to dig up the remains of a deceased relative and hold them hostage to get the farm to relent.
Contrary to the popular disinformation put out by the animal ‘testing’ industry, almost all of the experiments using animals are not necessary and result only in needless pain and suffering for the animals and no benefit for humans. Drug companies claim that they have developed new life-saving drugs by using animals for testing but in reality most drugs cause more harm than good and computer modeling can generally tell them all that they need to know about how a human will react to a drug. Animal testing is also irrelevant because animals are not humans and don’t react in the same ways.
Another fallacy that is used to justify the atrocities committed against animals is that they don’t suffer. In reality animals feel just like humans do. They have a sense of self, have nearly the same or even greater emotional range that humans experience and are affected by trauma. Their language and social interactions can be just as complex as humans or even more so. Just because animals don’t drive cars or speak English it doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent creatures that feel emotional and physical pain.
When animals can communicate in a way that even stupid humans can understand they communicate their feelings and show their intelligence. ‘Bird brain’ N’kisi, an african gray parrot speaks English much like a human and communicates his feelings, sense of humor and creativity. He is even psychic and actively appears in the dreams of the human he lives with.
If it is wrong to mistreat humans it is certainly wrong to mistreat animals on the pretext that it might somehow help a human.
Would you sell your child to a lab to be used in testing? If not, why not? Is it because you don’t want your child to suffer or simply because it is your child. Would it be ok if someone else’s child was used? If not, why – because the child is human or because the child would suffer? If is it wrong to cause suffering to a human why is it not wrong to cause suffering to an animal that has the same feelings? Would you sell your dog to a lab for experimentation? If no, why?