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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 September, 2004, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Banned activist resorts to video
Laboratory mouse
Animal testing remains a contentious issue
A controversial US animal rights activist, barred from attending a major UK conference, has delivered a speech through a video recording.

Dr Jerry Vlasak was due to attend a three-day Animal Rights Conference 2004 near Tonbridge in Kent this weekend.

But last month Home Secretary David Blunkett wrote to the surgeon and his wife saying they would not be allowed into the country.

Dr Vlasak had reportedly incited violence against vivisectionists.

'Successful struggle'

In the video, he said that if governments were acting against animal rights campaigners this meant their work was having an effect.

"The animal rights movement is making strides unlike any other movement of our time," he said.

"Where is the legislation aimed at limiting the efforts of environmental campaigners? Who is getting major press coverage?

"The struggle for animal liberation is like no other, and because of our successes, we are beginning to incur the increasing wrath of the abusers and their lackeys in government."

'Unfair'

Mr Blunkett reportedly decided to prevent Dr Vlasak and his wife from attending the conference after a report in the Observer newspaper quoted him as advocating the killing of scientists involved in animal research to discourage others.

A Home Office spokesman earlier said their presence "would not be conducive to the public good".

Dr Vlasak said he had been "misrepresented", and was considering legal action against the British government.

He argued that Britain had "a long history of providing refuge to people with their own ideas", and that banning his wife was unfair since she was not due to speak at the conference.

The three-day conference, organised by anti-vivisection groups Speak and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, features several workshops including one on self-defence.

The Home Office last month unveiled plans for a crackdown on animal rights campaigners who use terror tactics against scientists.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Juliette Parkin
"Organisers today insisted this wasn't about being violent themselves"



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