Is animal testing a "small but vital" part of medical research?
More than 500 doctors and scientists shown their support for continued "humane animal research" following the decision by a Staffordshire farm to stop breeding guinea pigs.
They have signed a petition, maintaining that the role of animals is a "small but vital" part of medical research.
Darley Oaks Farm in Staffordshire has been the target of a campaign of abuse, including death threats to the owners and staff.
What do you think about animal testing? Are the scientists right to show their support for it? What is your reaction to the closure of Darley Oaks Farm? Send us your comments.
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of views received:
Of course animal testing is necessary, try telling the relatives of someone dying that their death is unavoidable because you can't research the treatments. We aren't advanced enough yet to have any suitable alternatives.
Dave Derrick, Bristol, UK
I think it's wonderful news the farm is being closed. Obviously I would never condone digging up a grave. That is quite disgraceful, however it just goes to show the lengths people have to go to make the general public aware of the suffering and abuse animals go through.
Mark, Manchester, England
It's unfortunate that the views and actions an 'extremist' minority (with intimidation, threatening and anti-social behaviour) have put a potential block in the way of medical research which would be for the greater good of the majority of the population.
Bruce, York, UK
Although I don't agree with cruelty to animals, I find it completely unacceptable in the way in which this family have been treated. Inflicting harm on the family in this manner goes to show that these people have no respect for feelings wherever it be a guinea pig or a human being. If they did then surely they would not have put this family through that ordeal.
R Moreton, London, England
I am angry that these animal terrorists should have won. Another example of a noble cause, hijacked by young angry men, with little understanding and perspective of the real world. The UK is already very well regulated in terms of animal research. Animals will be sourced from less reputable countries, meaning more suffering in the end.
Craig Waddington, UK
It's terrible when you see people being harassed like this and their relatives being dug up. Whatever about an animal's rights, there are basic human rights which must be recognised. Those individuals who perpetrate and excuse such behaviour as this, have no idea of what are basic rights.
Well I am truly disgusted. It shows us that the actions of a few malicious and bigoted extremists can completely ruin a family's life, shut down a legitimate business and hinder medical research, which I would think unfortunately must not have been possible without the involvement of animals as there is such strict legislature on vivisection these days as it is. I have the utmost sympathy for the Hall family and what they have been through and this kind of behaviour (particularly the grave desecration incident) totally and utterly kills any sympathies I might have had with animal rights groups over use of animals in medical research.
Caroline, London, UK
I, like many others, I'm sure, wish there were other than animal testing research. However, the methods employed by some animal rights activists in achieving their aims are too extreme. Perhaps they should forego any medical benefits they might personally enjoy which stems from the research they campaign against?
Carl, Wokingham, Berks
I feel so sorry for the family, having been forced to close their business due to these so-called animal rights activists. Not only did these terrorists harm the business, but others whose livelihoods depended on it (suppliers, and local merchants). These activists should be treated exactly the same as any extremists.
Tony, Dorking, Surrey
I am glad that they have closed their doors for good. I don't agree with extremists, but no animal should be bred to experiment on. Animals have rights as much as humans do. If the experiments were for human benefit it would have been wiser to use humans to test a product. Why have factory farms for breeding animals for testing products on? Isn't there already enough misery in the animal world already, due to humans??
Nothing would please the animal rights movement more than to enter into an open discussion on the scientific validity of animal testing. However, with the pharmaceutical companies earning big profits, the government raking in billions, the scientists ensuring future funding by maintaining the status quo, it suits them all, with the help of the media, to paint all campaigners as mindless nutters and feed the public the same platitudes about "saving lives". If the media focused and listened to the science, the morals and the ethics of the anti-vivisection case rather than just the violence then soon the violent element would become marginalised and subside. It is the frustration of being silenced that drives the movement on to more direct action. If you listen, we don't need to shout!
There are many people on this page who are totally in favour or totally against, but both positions are ridiculous. Allowing animal testing for any product at all would be utterly irresponsible - there are products that clearly aren't worth it. Millions of decent ordinary people are against animal testing for cosmetics, for example. But to think of banning testing completely would be to ignore the benefits of decades of medical science, and utterly unrealistic. This debate should begin from the realisation that we have to draw the line somewhere, with legislation, and it should be about where we draw it.
Jonathan Kerr, East Horsley, UK
Although I am a vegetarian and against inhumane treatment of animals, humane animal research must continue. I am also a researcher and know the important contribution animal models can have on biomedical research. I was shocked and appalled by the systematic campaign of terror aimed at the Darley Oaks Farms. The cold truth is that human life is much more important.
Abby, London, UK
They should never have opened. Animal testing is responsible for all the dreadfully bad reactions that people have to medicines, as any vet knows, what suits one species does not necessarily suit another. Very little is actually known about guinea pigs health, I have been told this by my vet as I keep a number of them myself. No one even bothers to understand the way guinea pigs work when they are healthy so how can they understand how they react to a drug not even intended to work on them. This concern is quite apart from the horrible way we undermine our society by basing it on the horror of intensive farming. If society can overlook the suffering of the animals they eat they can and do overlook may other horrors.
I would have a lot more sympathy with the researchers and animal experimenters if they were all involved in medical research - which I support. The fact is they are testing cleaning products and other chemicals, not associated with medicine, on animals - Just so we can all buy the "new, improved formula" shampoo, oven cleaner, disinfectant etc.
Chris, Crawley, Sussex
Firstly, Britain has the most stringent laws regarding animal experimentation in the world; in British research labs, animals are treated better than 90% of pets in British households. Secondly, whilst the Darley Oaks farm has stopped breeding the guinea pigs, the Darley Oaks breeding colony has simply been moved to another supplier; the global pharma companies which source their guinea pigs from Darley Oaks are now sourcing the same guinea pigs from someone else. Thirdly, the global pharma companies are looking to move their research to Singapore and the Far East, where animal research is far less regulated than the UK, and where there are no animal "liberation" extremists. So, who wins at the end of the day? It's certainly not the guinea pigs.
How many of the people on this page who support the animal rights activists have actually volunteered to be used as test subjects for drugs? It's easy to say that there should be no animal testing, but when it's your dear ones who are suffering from cancer, MS or other horrible diseases you're quite happy that there are people out there who are still willing to do the research, despite all the threats and intimidation.
Animal testing is useless for treating humans. Doctors have been able to cure cancer in mice for years, but the treatment doesn't work on humans. We are different genetically from mice, rats, guinea pigs, so this ""research" is totally pointless.
Anybody who had cancer or a serious medical condition would say it is necessary evil. I do not agree the animals should be hurt or used for testing cosmetics. Even the protesters will accept drugs developed with animals.
Brian M Keith, Ellesmere England
I want to know why there isn't more campaigning against things that are frankly far more important, for example, child abuse or other crimes against humanity. By the fact that there are more people actively campaigning for animal rights than for human rights, are we saying that animals are more important?
The rights and wrongs of using animals for research will go on for many years. A lot of people who protest against using animals for testing, have benefited from it in medicines from doctors. In the case of the desecrated grave and cadaver removal, this was done just to close the guinea pig breeding farm. This disgusts me and greatly lessens my support against animal cruelty. When the police catch up with these people, I really do hope they get heavy sentences.
W P Derbyshire, London, UK
Once again medical research is set back by the mindless violence and callous behaviour of animal rights activists. I hope the principles, for which these activists appallingly defy the law in the name of, are strong enough to refuse any treatment in future if developed using such methods that they have fought to end. For surely the hypocrisy would otherwise undermine their cause.
It is appalling that people call this a victory and it appears inspiring. The family were not breaking the law - so it is the law which should have been criticised, to stop cruelty and develop more humane methods.
If there are other ways that are as efficient or more efficient then yes, it should close. If not, then no, it should not close. It has to be remembered that bacteria/viruses are evolving just as quick, if not quicker, than we are and medical research is crucial if we are to stay ahead of the game. It's as simple as that.
These kinds of perfectly legal and scientifically valuable operations should be protected. Their locations should never be released into the public domain. Their role will continue to diminish but for now remains essential.
S Byrne, Chester, UK
I'm no fan of animal testing but I believe the rule of law should be paramount - in this case the end does not justify the means. Bullying other people into acting differently, and avoiding the legal framework that society provides, is an affront to the very notion of civilisation. If you don't agree with the law, there are means to lever change - or are these people so immature that impatience is considered a virtue?
Ken Davidson, Solihull, UK
I am an animal lover and yes, the thought of what the animals go through when used in research is appalling. But if one of my kids had an illness and medical research on animals could help find a cure, I certainly know where my allegiance would lie. Don't activists feel the same way?
Kate Ollier, Lausanne, Switzerland
I believe that the ends justify the means. These animals are testing drugs that could be used to save our lives in the future. Perhaps the animals rights activists would volunteer to have these drugs tested on themselves if they feel so sorry for the animals involved.
Ben Walker, Basingstoke
These animal rights people just have no idea do they? I'm sure the guinea pigs were better looked after than most pets, when are they going to attack pet owners and threaten them with violence?
Animal rights protesters have been repeatedly marginalised because the Establishment knows best and stifles honest debate. Having no democratic outlet, activists have turned to violence. We will see more of this unless our participative institutions are reformed.
Although unpleasant I believe it is vital to progress medical development. A small vocal minority should not be permitted to disrupt it.
Gerry Farrell, Knighton, Wales
A family that has young children, moved into our cul-de-sac and within days of moving in, the house was covered in horrible words/graffiti. It was taken off and within hours daubed on again. Not only was it dreadful for the family that lived in the house but the neighbours like myself who live in this quiet road felt that they were being watched and intimidated, although we didn't know why it was happening. We later found out the father of the young family is a brilliant brain surgeon who has been associated with the Huntington Research Centre.
Isabel Pick, Leatherhead
It's sickening that a farm is forced to close because of the acts of a few extremists.
Andrew Robinson, Nottingham, England
We live and then we all die, some unfortunately sooner than others. What we do, how we act and the cruelty and suffering we cause other beings, human and otherwise, during our time here is a measure of our personal levels of humanity. Both sides of this argument should think very carefully on this.
I condone any kind of testing on animals. I can't understand why animals are put through this testing torture to satisfy our medical needs. Surely animals have a different genetic make-up to humans so how does this figure? I'd put myself forward for testing if it meant saving one rabbit or rat. It's cruel and barbaric. Just another way of mankind trying to take charge of the whole planet and keep his spot at the top of the food chain.
Tally Stevenson, Kirkby, Cumbria
I don't like the idea of any animal being harmed for the sake of medical science. I would be a rich man if I could invent a more acceptable alternative. Until then, I don't see how things could change so that all are happy. Maybe the activists should spend their time coming up with some suggestions.
Chris Gear, Hurstpierpoint England
I am against cruelty to animals. I agree that the animals should be respected and treated fairly. However, the activists seem to focus entirely on this without considering how such research benefits humans. I am totally against testing cosmetics on animals but an intelligent person must consider a more balanced opinion. I think that many of these activists need to reassess their simple-mindedness, would they take medication when they're sick, do they check if it's been tested on animals first? They should consider whether they are as good and well-meaning as they think they are or whether they are thuggish, misguided hypocrites. I fear that most are the latter.
Andy, Portsmouth, Hampshire
If people don't want drugs tested on animals, then presumably they will not use those drugs. Perhaps they could carry something like a donor's card, so doctors would know not to give them any of those drugs. No? Thought not.
The problem with animal testing is that it is cheap compared to the research which would make other methods possible. Until we view animals as worth more than their carcass, animal experiments will continue.
Clive, Milton Keynes, UK
I am fully supporting animal testing. How else those who protest against it see the drugs could be tested? What are the alternatives? I am against mistreating the animals in the labs and hope it does not happen. I believe that amount of bred animals for this purpose does not disturb the natural balance. I wish the activists would concentrate on more important environmental issues which effect the natural habitat on earth.
Elena Boockhagen, Dublin, Ireland
What are the alternatives the animal rights protesters refer to? How do you replicate a heart or a nervous system? I look forward to an answer.
Darran Kilburn, Manchester, England
Why are activists blaming the farm and its employees? Surely the activists should target the government? The Halls have found a way to make a living and are being punished for it.
A Tangri, Nottingham, UK
The violent animal rights protestors have a terrorist mentality. If they were football supporters, they would be hooligans. If they were religious, they would be extremists. They are a minority culture in this country which pursue anarchy through unlawful means whatever ever their chosen cause.
'Humane' animal experimentation - what a joke and surely a contradiction. If people don't care about the unnecessary suffering inflicted on helpless animals then consider the facts. Animal experimentation is not reliable for the simple reason that they are different to us humans. One example being the drug morphine - while it relaxed humans, it excites cats! While I do not support bullying tactics I am pleased that Darley Oaks farm has decided to stop breeding guinea pigs and hope it is the start of things to come.
I am very grateful for the results of all the animal testing - my sister has been diabetic for over thirty years - without the animal testing she would very probably not be alive now. Perhaps some of the animal rights representatives would like to put themselves forward as guinea pigs if they are so concerned about the animals.
Felicity Wood, London England
One word "Thalidomide". A whole generation of children were seriously deformed because the effects of the drug on developing foetus' were not properly investigated - the only way of investigating these effects is in live animals. Try asking one of the thalidomide kids what they think!
What alternatives are there? Please someone say. I am sure drug companies would be more than happy to stop animal experimentation. Animals are expensive to breed and keep, any other methods of testing drugs would be welcomed.
Ben, Durham, England
The number of animals used in laboratory procedures in the UK each year has been less than 3 million since before 1995. 3 million people world-wide die of tuberculosis every year. And that's only one disease.
Lorna, London, UK
Fantastic news. The current defence for animal testing seems to be that, 'Sometimes the ends justify the means.' Well I think the result of closing down the farm justified the behaviour of the animal activists. We have the arrogance to proclaim we are a civilized society whilst committing horrendous crimes against the 'lesser' animals.
More guinea pigs die in the hands of crazy children than will ever be used in the advance of medical science?
Paul Rees, Northallerton
Animal testing will never stop. In this country it's well regulated and controlled, not every country is as well regulated - or as ethical. All this group of so called "activists" have succeeded in doing is to force this activity aboard - and if they try their tactics in some other countries they will probably be shot.
Terry, Epsom, Surrey, England
If the activists get their way there would be no animal experimentation, what about the sick animals? I remember seeing a poster for an arthritis drug for dogs and cats, I didn't even know that dogs could get arthritis. So what about them, where will the new cures for pets come from?
Michael Pearce, UK
How ironic that last week all the right-on veggies I know were complaining that Vioxx hadn't been tested enough before it was marketed. This week they're against testing medicines altogether.
Desmond Persaud, Wimbledon, London
Can one of the individuals on this board claiming there are 'safe, ethical alternatives' please back their claim up with some hard evidence. The only ethical alternative I see is to test new medicines on them!
How sad that this farm closed. If anyone seeks funding for a necessary animal testing venture, I shall feel morally obliged to invest.
Michael, London, UK
Anybody convicted of vandalism/harassment etc in the name of animal rights should be placed on a register preventing them from receiving or purchasing medicines or treatments that have been tested on animals. Perhaps there should be a voluntary register that people who are against testing medicines on animals could sign so they do not receive treatment with such medicines in event of emergency. Guess a lot of them wouldn't sign up.
Kaz, London, UK
No civilised country should be experimenting on animals. It is unnecessary and achieves nothing. Animals are not the same as humans and do not react in the same way. Testing on them is a waste of time and money.
Martin, Evesham, Worcs
Although opposed to animal testing, I do not believe that the closure of Darley Oaks is a step forward for the anti-vivisection movement. The farm was closed because the Hall family felt threatened, not because they changed their views and grew to realise that animal experiments are unethical. The majority of those opposed to vivisection believe in campaigning peacefully; the violent actions of a few do not represent the movement as a whole.
Julie Dixon, Stockport, UK
What of the thousands of peaceful, non-violent activists? Why does the media continually focus on the actions of the violent minority, leaving the work of the peaceful majority completely ignored? More exposure for the peaceful crowd would create less incentive for the thug contingent, but that doesn't sell newspapers, does it?
Dave, Nottingham, UK
I know that experimenting on animals isn't a very nice thing to do, but when I hear an enraged protester squealing about a few guinea pigs I can only wonder how they feel when they hear on the news about, say, millions of people dying of starvation. My impression is that they care a whole lot more about the former than the latter, which is why I tend to disregard their opinions.
Martin Treadwell, Oxford, England
Animals have as much right to be on this earth as we do. Testing on any animal should not be allowed.
Damon, Camberley, UK
It amazes me how people get upset about a relatively tiny number of animals used for testing when millions of times more are kept in awful conditions, fed on rubbish and then killed (often horribly) just so we can eat them. While we abuse animals on that kind of scale, the handful that are subject to experimentation have got no chance. Only vegans have any right at all to protest.
Kulu, Basingstoke, UK
I'd rather see animal testing and an advance of medical science than the cessation of testing and pain and suffering being endured by people that could possibly have been cured or treated. In my view, I feel that animal rights protesters have got their priorities wrong.
Ricky Harding, Exmouth, England
Do these animal activists realise that they may not have even been born if the testing of antibiotics (and other life saving medicines that reduced infant mortality rates decades ago) hadn't been tested on animals?
Nicola, Newcastle upon Tyne
Regardless of whether it is right or wrong to farm animals for medical research I am sure that most people would agree that it is wrong to subject a family to such disgusting actions. What makes animal rights activists think that they can take the law into their own hands? Presumably they believe that the farm is ethically wrong, I ask the activists if they believe that destroying this and other families livelihoods is ethically right?
If science is as advanced as 'they' claim, it is not necessary for animals to be bred for medical research. There are safe, ethical alternatives.
Rhona, Argyll, Scotland
The protesters are allowed their opinion that this farm is doing something wrong, but they have gone too far in this case, intimidating and threatening the people working there. Surely this is a far greater evil than farming guinea pigs for medical research. These protesters need a little perspective - whose life matters more, the people at the farm, or the guinea pigs they breed?
Heather, Stockport, UK
I am a biotech entrepreneur. I would love to be able to offer reliable non-animal testing services to pharmaceutical companies to replace current methods of drug discovery. There would be a clear commercial case for such a business model. But the fact is that animal testing is currently necessary for new medicines. When somebody discovers a better way you can bet the pharmaceutical world will beat a path to their door.
Although involved indirectly in research, I am not a huge fan of animal experiments. However, if you offered me a straight choice between the morality of the researchers, and the morality of the extremist protesters, then I'd be waving the banner for more vivisection, thank you very much.
JG, Huddersfield UK
In my student days I was a vegetarian and joined one of these "animal rights" groups. In reality it was just an anarchist group under the guise of helping animals.
Adrian Boliston, Taunton, UK
Although it is difficult to condone guinea pig farming it is no worse that many other intensive forms of farming in this country. How is it right to raise a chicken from egg to table in just six weeks, yet thousands of people eat meat that has been raised in this way every day. The violence is utterly wrong and so is the disgusting plundering of Mrs Hammond's remains.
Richard Morris, Foxearth. Essex
Very sad to hear the Halls have lost their battle. The laws here are more stringent than overseas and if this forces the farming out to other European countries where the enforcing of laws and standards are much lower. The animals will definitely suffer which really defeats the object of the activists.
Cathy Parker, Bournemouth
I'm so glad that they have finally shut down that awful place. It just shows that if we keep campaigning what we want will be heard in the end.
I'm possibly in the minority here in thinking that animal testing is an acceptable form of medical research. But the issue here is the old dilemma of whether the ends justify the means. In the case, absolutely not.
Testing on animals is bad, we all agree. But just opposing something isn't enough. I know it makes you (animal rights protester) think you are more moral than the rest of us but this is not the case. The question is just not that simple. No one wants to be nasty to bunnies but sometimes you have to do bad things to do good. Terrorising this farm has achieved nothing except entrench public views. Just as many animal will die and it will be harder to stop them through legitimate means.
I too am delighted that this evil 'farm' has been closed down. It is proof that ordinary, decent folk can make a difference in the presence of so much oppression. A marvellous victory.
Graham Alcock, Woking, UK
There is much debate about the effectiveness of medical testing on animals. In many cases the drugs that are developed are either not as useful or in some cases dangerous as the human body reacts very differently to animals. Let's focus on this angle and find new ways to test drugs - through genetics for example - rather than continuing this kind of war between groups of people who are all trying in their own way to end suffering for animals or people.
A. Brown, London
It shows lack of police effort in bringing these thugs to book. It is a sad day for research.
Surely testing is necessary? Otherwise we wouldn't have these 'farms'. So would the activists like to volunteer to be tested on - that way we can get rid of the 'farms' and continue with medical research.
What these activists don't seem to grasp is that experiments involving animals have been at the forefront of many scientific breakthroughs over the past century. The scientists involved in these experiments are not mindless killers who enjoy torturing animals, but instead are trying to make the world a better place, e.g. by curing genetically inherited diseases.
A. Anonymous, London
The comments in response to this story saddens me. The fact that we can no longer differentiate between well-meaning research and wanton cruelty speaks volumes about the misguided sentimentality our society has towards animals. Mankind's future wellbeing should not be jeopardised by a bunch of misanthropic luddites.
Surely a clear case could now be made for the licensing of animal rights protestors. As soon as they sign paperwork to relinquish their 'right' to any medical treatment developed via animal testing then they may be allowed to protest at such sites.
Anon, Tyne & Wear
As regrettable as it is, the law requires these tests to be conducted, therefore the law should protect those who work within the legal frameworks, be it scientists or supplies such as the Halls. This announcement is a damming indictment of this government's gutless determination to deal with animal rights terrorists.
Chris Newman, Hampshire, UK
I hope animal rights activists realise that if drugs cannot be tested on animals, they will have to be tested on people. Either as volunteers or as customers buying a product which wasn't researched well. The scary thing is, some of them will openly admit that they would rather see drugs tested on people.
I wonder how many of these "animal rights activists" go to the doctor when they are sick? Animal research is unfortunately necessary for the development of new and safe medications. None of us enjoy doing it and of course we wish there was a better way (in fact, many of my colleagues are actively searching for this).
Vegan biologist, Konstanz, Germany
I'm delighted by the news this evil farm has been forced to close down. It's a great victory for animal rights and proves that extreme tactics can be effective. The only downside is that the massed British public, in there usual blinkered fashion will view all animal rights groups as being extreme.
Richard Dews, Spain
Biologists and scientists simply can't win. When we're developing drugs, everyone assumes that computer simulations and in-vitro (test tube) experiments will suffice, unfortunately that is not yet the case. And the public don't really want us to take a chance with medical drugs. Let scientists do their jobs, let protesters speak their views peacefully, and things will get better for people, animals and the environment, I promise. Intimidation and fear don't help anything in the long run. Andrew.
Andrew Maddison, London, UK
Just because the farmers weren't breaking the law does not mean they were right. A great victory for the animal rights protesters. Let's hope they can bring about more change through this type of pressure and prevent evil people like these farmers from making a living from the pain and suffering of other animals.
The tactics used by a minority of protesters were illegal, disgusting, despicable and have tainted this 'victory' for animal rights. Regardless of whether you think the activities at the farm were right or wrong, what happened to the owners and the local people was clearly wrong and twisted and should not be celebrated - all terrorism should be condemned.
Sarah, London, UK
Bullies have no place in our society. Activists are the worst form of bullying as they believe they are above the law and take matters into their own hands. The man was not breaking the law and to have these bullying activists at his door on a regular basis is a violation of his human rights.
Doug McFarlane, Glasgow
I am a scientist and am in charge of small animal facility. In order for me to do this I had to go on an intensive course, most of which was based on ethics, animal welfare and health, environmental enrichment of the animals, minimising pain, alternatives to animal experiments etc. Therefore, the animals I care for are extremely well looked after (better than most pets). Plus, most importantly, the experiments we do involving the animals are at a minimum of invasion, with minimum duration and minimum of pain and discomfort. If there were viable alternatives to using animals, I would use it.
Anon, Living in EU (from the UK)
Disgraceful, even if you don't think the farm should ever have been breeding guinea pigs. The "activists" behaviour is no better than what they were attacking; they can hardly claim to have any moral superiority.
Simon, Manchester, UK
I have very little sympathy for anybody who works in these kind of establishments, and I think it is totally wrong to portray animal right activists as some kind of terrorists. Animals cannot defend themselves and need people to stand up for them. I am extremely glad this farm has been closed down, and hope this is the start of more to follow.
Karen Fletcher, Leeds, England
Whilst I don't agree with the extreme measures used in this case, I'm pleased at the result. If the commitment to the cause could be better channelled then we may make progress on animal rights issues. Talk of a democratic society is rubbish, when were we ever asked to vote on animal testing, and what do you think the result would be? If people as so concerned at the loss to science then volunteer as a "guinea pig" themselves. I won't protest!
J Farrow, N. Yorkshire, England
I am sure if I was in the position of the Halls I would have given in a long time earlier - their courage and persistence have been incredible but they cannot be expected to suffer this way any more. There is no doubt in my mind that these "people" who have committed such horrific acts should be branded terrorists and pursues as such. They are using underhand, despicable and violent methods to pursue their cause, just like other forms of terrorism. I am ashamed that in this country it has been allowed to happen, especially over a such a prolonged period.
Simon Lytton, Warwick , UK
Why haven't these animal rights extremists been arrested under anti-terrorism law? I live in Cambridge and am so sick of hearing time after time about local people being harassed and threatened by animals rights protestors. All of these companies have been working within the law to bring out new medical drugs so if people object to the use of animals in testing then they need to campaign at Downing Street not on the doorsteps of people just making a living. And also what they don't seem to understand is that they may well be able to force the closure of one farm but another will replace it probably from a foreign source and that their cause is hurt by those not protesting peacefully.
Cat, Cambridge UK
I think it is appalling that in a democracy a few extremists have been able to prevent a decent family conducting their legitimate business that benefits us all, whatever our opinion. It is a travesty of the democratic process.
Chris Price, Telford, England
I'm absolutely disgusted. This kind of intimidation should never be allowed to prevail, no matter how justified you think your cause is.
Dean, Maidenhead, UK
The terrorists have won. Why didn't the police protect the villagers? Animal rights protestors seem to be able to run riot with complete freedom.
I appreciate that the activists feel strongly but I would have thought that if the IRA can turn away from terrorism, the animal rights folks should think again about using terrorist tactics to drive law-abiding citizens (who are furthering the cause of medical research) out of business.
Julie Duffy, Phoenixville PA
I feel that there has been a fundamental change in the way animal rights protestors are portrayed. They seem now to gain nothing but negative press. While certain groups or individuals clearly go beyond a certain line, overall the cause of animal rights groups can hardly be said to be malevolent or poorly intended. Their desire for a cruelty free world is a positive vision.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of animal testing, I am utterly appalled that people running a legitimate and legal company have been forced to close their business. A small group of extremists have shown they are unable to grasp the concept of living in a democracy, where it is our elected representatives who make the law, so we should have no hesitation in using any means necessary to stop them.
David Orford, London, UK
I am appalled that there are people that say the farmers made an 'honest living'. Raising helpless animals in small cages to be tortured and killed in horrible ways in a lab is not an honest living. However appalled some seem to be by the ways of the activists, the rights of the animals to be free should be the focus. Whatever the results of the testing on animals, animals ought to be freed from that. Testing on humans would produce even better results, but we don't do that, now do we?
Patrick Heller, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
I wonder if the protestors would be willing to visit the homes and hospices of the chronic and terminally ill people of all ages and explain to them why the development of drugs which may have helped or saved them will now not happen in time for them. Perhaps they could give them guinea pigs as pets to comfort them in their dark hours.
Although I didn't approve of some forms of intimidation used by the most extreme representatives of the animal rights movements, I am thrilled at the news and hope this will send a strong message to other businesses involved in the vivisection industry. The world is changing, science is progressing and alternatives are now available. There is no excuse for the cruel exploitation of creatures who feel pain and suffering as much as humans do.
Mimi Schon, London
It is sad to hear that the farm has closed due to unlawful acts by these so-called 'animal rights activists'. No-one enjoys subjecting animals to scientific research, and despite advances in computer modelling the only concrete manner to investigate the effects of a drug is through lab testing. Do not forget the stringent laws on animal welfare in a research lab. If there is a problem, is it better that it is first discovered using a guinea pig or a human? I am against animal testing for cosmetics, but feel that animal testing for drugs is necessary to avoid adverse effects in humans.
Liam, Camberley, UK
I think this is appalling. The Halls were doing nothing illegal; although it may be distasteful to some, that is absolutely no excuse to injure, intimidate, threaten and frighten the farm owners, those who work for them or those that supply them. Shame on the activists.
While I think that some of the actions of the protesters went too far I must say I am glad to see that the farm has stopped breeding animals to be tortured. However justified animal testing may be to some until the medical profession is forced to find other avenues it will continue to abuse animals and that should stop.
David Bakes, Leeds
Why have the police done nothing to stop the intimidation and death threats against law-abiding, tax-paying citizens and businesses? Where are the arrests and ASBOs?
Rupert Marshall, Kettering, UK
At last this trade in using guinea pigs is to stop, whilst I realise the need to carry out medical research this cannot be done on animals any longer.
My sympathies go out to the Hall family. Still, it amazes me that these groups can be allowed to get away with this type of thing in the current political climate. This simply has to stop.
John Wooding, Oxford, Oxfordshire
In centuries to come we will look back on the activities of animal rights activists and recognise them as brave and principled people who did what most of us could not do - they stopped the wholesale and pointless torture of millions of defenceless animals.
Absolutely disgusted by the protestors. It sends out the message now that by threatening people with violence and death threats is the way to get your point across. I hope that they never need the treatments this farm was helping develop
Ed, London UK
I am against animal testing in any form but think the way the activists went about the closure was pretty sick. However, if this type of testing were to be banned this sort of behaviour would cease. Animals do have as much right to be here as we do. To take a life to potentially save another makes no sense to me.
I am glad the farm has closed because in this day and age there should be no need to test on live animals. However I do not agree with the tactics of the animal rights activists and feel that the closure will give them the right to try these actions on other testing facilities and that they have won.
Clare Murgatroyd, Stafford Staffordshire
No one wants inhumane treatment of animals, but it cannot justify inhuman treatment of families, whether dead or alive. I would be interested to know whether the extremists involved refuse to use any medicines that have required testing on animals.
Chris Pritchett, Bristol
It is a tragedy that these thugs can get away with undermining and destroying medical research. I'd suggest that life imprisonment would be an appropriate remedy.
Julian, Derby, UK
Disgusting. They have no right to put a family through what they have done. They've damaged their 'cause' beyond repair - there is no valid argument left for them.
D Ellis, London
Silly really. Medical research is vital to the success of developing new medicines and techniques that can save lives. Actions by narrow-minded people ruin the efforts of hardworking individuals. I feel for the business and their employees.
Gareth Brunswick, Manchester
You've got to hand it to the activists, they kept up the pressure relentlessly until this distasteful activity was stopped. I hope it is an inspiration to all such campaigns everywhere.
Tom, Dublin, Ireland
I am appalled that intimidation and violence have forced Darley Farm out of business. I may not agree with what the Halls were doing, but for activists to use the methods against them that we have read about is beneath contempt, and certainly not behaviour fit for supposedly decent, caring human beings. These people do not love animals - they simply hate everyone and everything else.
Arthur South, Codicote, Herts
It is a shame that this has happened to a family who were trying to make a living. I wonder how many of these individuals who harass and intimidate (supposedly) in the name of animal rights will refuse all medical treatment for illnesses they get. Will they turn down cancer treatment because of the "poor" animal who "suffered" in order for it to be produced to save their life? I think not.
T, London, UK
I personally don't support intimidation that these people have suffered but by the same token I also don't support experiments on animals. Dare I say I'm glad the breeding for experimental research has stopped. However, the stealing of a body laid to rest is deplorable and I sincerely hope the people affected will be able to find some peace at last and for the safe return of their relative.
Fred Brown, Cardiff, Wales
I suspect the vast majority of these animal rights protectors would lack the courage of their convictions if they later relied on medical help which was only available as a result of animal-based research. They are nothing more than cowards and petty criminals.
David Briggs, Bristol, England
I hope these animal rights activists do not see this as a victory. All they have managed to do is force the pharmaceutical industry to look elsewhere for supply of its animals. Ultimately they will be supplied from abroad where animal welfare is not as high a concern or as regulated as it is here in the UK.
All that will happen now is that the guinea pigs will be imported from countries where their living and transportation conditions are far worse than those bred in the Darley Oaks Farm.
It sickens me that these so called 'animal rights campaigners' get away with intimidating people making a honest living. The fact that I don't think that animals should be used in experiments doesn't encourage me to go and vandalise someone's property. These people are just criminals!