Thursday, August 25, 2005

Nothing like a good grave-robbing to get what you want

A family that breeds guinea pigs for medical research announced yesterday that it was to close its farm in a final attempt to get back the remains of a relative whose body was dug up by animal rights extremists.

Their family, friends and business associates have been subjected to a six-year campaign of terror and intimidation that culminated last October in activists digging up and stealing the remains of Chris Hall's 82-year-old mother-in-law, Gladys Hammond, from St Peter's churchyard in Yoxall, Staffs.

Animal rights supporters celebrated the announcement but it was condemned by scientists as a triumph for mob rule that would hurt patients and damage an industry that employs 22,000 people and is worth £3.6 billion a year to the British economy.

It is also certain to lead to questions as to whether the Government is doing enough. Six months ago, Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, vowed to jail those guilty of "economic damage" to companies and their associates.

Why aren't the activists in jail?