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Animal rights

September 2001 | by Jonathan Skinner

A UK drug-testing company at the centre of an intimidation campaign by animal rights activists has been given banking facilities by the Government at the Bank of England.

It is understood that Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), which carries out cancer and other medical research, will be given a bank account in an unusual move by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Earlier this year the company was brought to the brink of bankruptcy as animal rights demonstrators applied intense pressure to its financial backers.

A number of commercial banks severed links with HLS after threats from animal rights organisations, and the company had been unable to get a bank account in this sector.

The then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, accused Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland of having a ‘cowardly’ attitude in the battle against animal rights extremists.

Crucial work

The Government wants to enable the work of HLS to continue, believing it to be valuable, even crucial, research. Dr Matfield, president of the Defence Society for Medical Research, commented: ‘This is a hugely important decision. Not only does it allow HLS to continue work but it shows that the Government is prepared to stand up to the intimidation by these extremists’.

Recently, eight people were arrested during a protest at the headquarters of HLS. A total of 15 people demonstrated outside the pharmaceutical-testing firm, blocking entrances with cars and handcuffing themselves to the vehicles.

Back in February, Brian Cass, the managing director of HLS, was assaulted with baseball bats by three masked attackers. He was beaten about the head and upper body, and suffered an arm injury as he tried to defend himself. Two members of the public who tried to help Mr Cass were sprayed with CS gas.

Hypocrisy

When we reflect on this situation, the hypocrisy of protecting animals from harm on one hand, while beating up a member of the ‘primate family’ on the other, seems absurd in the extreme.

Animal rights protesters who resort to violence are defending a view that is illogical and contradictory — a practice that threatens to bring disrepute on the whole movement.

Another point that needs to be made is that it would also be hypocritical and dishonest for animal rights protesters to accept any medical treatment for cancer, heart attack, stroke — or indeed almost any illness.

All these treatments would have involved animal experimentation at some point during their development.

Humans are different

It is surely right that animals should not be cruelly abused — the Bible speaks of humans having stewardship over the animal kingdom, a role that implies a degree of care.

The Old Testament law also shows concern for the welfare of the animal world, while in the New Testament Jesus declares that God knows the fate of every sparrow.

But the Bible also makes it clear that there is a profound and radical difference between animals and people. It confirms that animals can be sacrificed for the benefit and welfare of humans.

What is this difference? Simply that man is made in the moral and spiritual ‘image’ of God. He has a special relationship to God and a special accountability to God.

Animals can neither sin nor obey God’s laws; they are not moral creatures. But man is a moral being and is answerable to God for the way he lives and the things he does.

Evolution or judgement?

The animal rights movement is coloured by (perhaps even founded on) an evolutionary view of human origins. Their position is logical if humans are simply advanced animals.

The great damage inflicted on our thinking by evolutionism lies in the denial of man’s accountability to his Creator. But Jesus Christ warns us that we shall give an account to God for every idle word that we speak!

In short, the Bible teaches that every single human being will be judged at the end of time. Not animals, only humans!

The good news is that, by his death and resurrection, Christ has borne the condemnation and judgement of all who repent and put their trust in him, and has purchased their forgiveness and reconciliation to a holy God.

Are you gambling your eternal future on the theory of evolution, or entrusting it to one who ‘shall save his people from their sins’?