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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Guinea pig farm closure: Reaction
During its lifespan, the Darley Oaks guinea pig farm in Staffordshire was a constant target for animal rights protesters. As its owners announced its closure, interested parties gave their opinions.


We welcome the fact that Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm is to close but this is no "victory for animal rights", as the closure seems to have been mainly due to the violent actions and harassment done by a minority rather than a realisation that animal experiments should stop.

Darley Oaks farm
The farm's owners announced the closure on Tuesday

In this case, there has been no fundamental shift in attitude and so guinea pigs and other animals will continue to be bred for the unethical and unscientific vivisection industry and continue to suffer in the hands of other suppliers.

We would prefer if the government reviewed its attitude of blind support to animal experiments and for the media to stop confusing a few violent people with the peaceful millions who reject all violence - and therefore oppose all animal experiments.

BUAV is opposed to violence of any kind, whether that be the violence of vivisection itself or the harassment and intimidation that some people use as a means of protest.

We hope to see all the farms breeding animals for experiments closing down for good, and will continue to campaign in a peaceful way, as we've always done, until this goal is achieved.


The BIA applauds the Hall family's resilience in the face of a violent campaign of intimidation by animal extremists.

The widespread public revulsion at the campaign, which has included the theft of a family member's remains, demonstrates that these deplorable tactics go far beyond the boundaries of legitimate protest.

Guinea pig
Guinea pigs are used to develop cures for respiratory diseases
Commitment from the government on tackling animal extremism, together with new legislation, is a move in the right direction.

We must continue to support adequate policing and resourcing to protect companies and individuals involved in, and connected with, groundbreaking biomedical research.

The use of animals in medical research is vital in order to find treatments for the 50% of the world's diseases for which there is currently no cure.

The UK law is widely regarded as the strictest law on animal testing in the world and grants permission only where there are no alternatives.


The activities of a few animal rights extremists have placed impossible pressure on those going about their legitimate business.

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 and committed long-term resources from the government to back up the recently-introduced legislation.

Guinea pigs are used for a small but important part of world-leading biomedical research in the UK and the animals from this farm have a particular role to play in developing new and better treatments for respiratory diseases, such as asthma.

While new technologies and techniques lead to the replacement of animals in this research, the use of animals remains essential.

The closure of the breeding facilities makes it less likely that investment in such research will be made in the UK, which has the tightest regulation and world-leading standards of animal welfare.


The animal rights movement will claim this as their victory, but the closure of the Halls' guinea pig farm should never be called a victory.

It was a succession of criminal acts over many years, some utterly despicable, and the perpetrators of these crimes need to be punished.

This is the closure, through illegal coercion and the triumph of mob-rule, of a crucial and perfectly legitimate business helping in the advancement of medical science.


The government is determined to tackle extremists who harass or threaten those involved in vital, life-saving scientific research.

It is wholly unacceptable that a small minority of animal extremists should mount a campaign of fear and intimidation in an attempt to stop individuals and companies going about their lawful and legitimate business.


I am disappointed that animal rights extremists will believe that their reign of bullying, intimidation, and terror was justified following the announcement of the closure of Darley Oaks Farm.

Michael Fabricant
Darley Oaks is in Michael Fabricant's Lichfield constituency

It is an irony that the guinea pigs used for medical research will now have to be imported from France and Spain where, unlike in Britain, the animals are bred in overcrowded conditions and not subject to regular inspection.

Far from improving the conditions of these animals, these narrow minded extremists have worsened them. It is also important that future medical research in this country is not held back as a consequence.

My heart goes out to Chris and Margaret Hall, their family and friends, and local tradespeople and villagers who have had to suffer abuse and terror at the hands of these short-sighted extremists - many of whom have personally benefited from medical treatment as a result of animal research.

Targeted guinea pig farm closes
23 Aug 05 |  Staffordshire
Is guinea pig farm right to close?
23 Aug 05 |  Have Your Say
Campaign of abuse for one worker
23 Aug 05 |  Staffordshire
Timeline: Farm under siege
23 Aug 05 |  Staffordshire
The siege of Darley Oaks Farm
25 Jul 05 |  Business
Body theft suspects' bail renewed
23 Feb 05 |  Staffordshire
Activists agree to limit protests
17 Jan 05 |  Staffordshire

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