Michael Fabricant says "I applaud Peter Clamp and others who are seeking an injunction today in the High Court to create a protest-free exclusion zone around Yoxall, Newborough, and Newchurch. I hope their application is successful. It is unfortunate that their application has been necessary and that existing laws have not been tough enough or have not been applied tightly enough to prevent the animal rights extremists from terrorising so many people.
"When I quizzed the Prime Minister yesterday about animal rights activists, I was reassured by his determination to control their activities. However, I was disappointed that he has broken his promise to hold a Royal Commission Inquiry into animal experimentation. I firmly believe that such an independent inquiry would vindicate those medical research laboratories who undertake animal experiments and vindicate farms like Darley Oaks who breed guinea pigs in clean and humane conditions for scientific research."
Back in 1997, Tony Blair published "Labour Britain: New life for animals". In it, it says of a future Labour Government "We will support a Royal Commission to review the effectiveness and justification of animal experiments, and to examine alternatives."
"I agree with that promise as an independent inquiry would prove once and for all the case for animal experimentation. But Tony Blair has not been kept his promise." says Michael Fabricant. "Nevertheless, I told the Prime Minister that I do welcome the Home Secretary’s commitment to introduce legislation in Parliament to control the activities of animal rights extremists. There is a very clear difference between those who campaign legitimately for the welfare of animals and the few animal rights extremists who have been terrorising villagers in Yoxall and Newchurch for the last 5 years.
"Some weeks ago I asked the Home Office how many experiments are undertaken on animals to test household cleaners and other similar products. I deplore this practice. The Home Office have told me that 99.9916% of all animal experiments is exclusively for medical and scientific research to find cures for diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. I hope it will be 100%" Michael adds.
The following is the report (from Hansard) of what was said in the House of Commons:-
Michael Fabricant: What assessment has the Government have made of the activities of animal rights extremists?
The Prime Minister: The Government take the threat posed by animal rights extremists very seriously, and we have taken every opportunity to make it clear that their illegal activities will not be tolerated. We are tightening up the law with provisions in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which it is important that we emphasise. First, it will introduce a new offence of protesting outside homes in such a way that causes harassment, alarm or distress to residents. Secondly, it will amend the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 to extend it to the harassment of two or more persons who are connected, such as employees of the same company. Thirdly, it will provide an additional power for the police to direct a protester to leave the vicinity of a home and not return to it within a specified period up to three months. I assure the hon. Gentleman that if we need to do so, we will legislate even further.
Michael Fabricant: I am grateful to the Prime Minister for his reply, and my constituents in Yoxall, Newborough and Newchurch, who have been terrorised by animal rights extremists now for five years, will also be grateful. We welcome the legislation, although, as with everything, the devil will be in the detail. But does the Prime Minister also accept that there are genuine animal rights campaigners? What does he say to those who read the pamphlet, "Labour Britain: New Life for Animals", which made the pledge back in 1997 that a Labour Government "will support a Royal Commission to review the effectiveness and justification of animal experiments"? Why doesn’t the Prime Minister keep to what he promised, an independent inquiry, or was that just all talk?
The Prime Minister: I was going to say that we could dissect that question, but it is probably not the right thing to say. We pledged to ensure better welfare and better safeguards in animal experiments, and we delivered on that pledge. We have made sure that all experiments that are conducted are conducted according to the tightest possible regulations. It is for precisely that reason that we are in a strong position to say to animal rights extremists that we have tough measures in this country, so there can be no justification whatever for harassing and intimidating people who are going about their lawful business.