From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:

British home secretary Jack Straw,
whose position is analagous to that of the U.S.
Speaker of the House, on December 17 recommended
legislation to expand anti-terrorist legislation
which would both strengthen the rights of
accused persons to a prompt public hearing, and
extend laws now pertaining only to international
violence and the “troubles” in Northern Ireland
to cover any “use of serious violence against persons
or property, or the threat to use such violence
to intimidate or coerce a government, the
public, or any section of the public for political,
religious, or ideological ends.” Although the
proposed legislation does not specifically mention
violence associated with animal rights
activism, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, and
London Times all prominently made the link.
Authorities recorded approximately 800 incidents
of vandalism and arson undertaken in
Britain in the name of animal rights during 1997.

ANSA news agency offices in
Bologna and Florence on December 10 received
Christmas cakes with messages claiming the
Animal Liberation Front had poisoned cakes
like them in supermarkets to protest against
genetic engineering. The cakes were produced
by a subsidiary of Nestle Italia, whose president,
Yves Barbeiux, told media that no genetically
engineered products are used in anything
Nestle sells in Italy.
Convicted Animal Liberation Front
firebomber Barry Horne, 46, on December 14
ended at 68 days his third prolonged hunger
strike since being sentenced to prison for 18
years in November 1997. The end of the hunger
strike “lifts the immediate threat to four named
people whom the Animal Rights Militia s a i d
they would kill if Horne died,” Will Woodward
of The Guardian newspaper reported. Horne
failed to win his demand that the L a b o u r g o vernment
headed by Tony Blair should form a
royal commission to investigate vivisection,
which he contended was promised in a discussion
document released in 1996, about a year
before the start of the 1997 British election campaign.
The end of the hunger strike was also
somewhat upstaged by former European Union
environment commissioner Carlo Ripa di
Meana. According to The Daily Telegraph, di
Meana “said he was ready to join pro-Horne
demonstrations with his wife Marina, who this
month protested topless in Milan against the fur
trade.” Horne supporters claimed the hunger
strike cost him the sight in one eye and hearing
in one ear, but York District Hospital, where he
was held for the last 21 days of the fast, said he
had suffered no irreversible physical harm.
The Dutch national news agency
A N P on January 5 reported receiving a letter
signed “Earth Liberation Front,” c l a i m i n g
responsiblity for at least six of eight bomb threats
which were telephoned to McDonald’s r e s t a urants
around The Netherlands during the preceding
week by an English-speaking woman. The
purported ELF letter claimed the threats were in
response to McDonald’s patronage of factory
farmers and alleged patronage of rainforest beef.
In June 1997, Justice Roger Bell of London,
England, ruled in the 314-day libel trial of
London Greenpeace activists Dave Morris, 45,
and Helen Steel, 33, that McDonald’s is “culpably
responsible” for “cruel practice” pertaining to
factory-farmed chickens and pigs, but found that
the rainforest beef allegation was insufficiently
supported. McDonald’s won a defamation award
of $98,000, after spending $16 million to wage
the case and attracting an international barrage of
bad publicity. Morris and Steel return to court
for an appeal hearing on January 12.
Brandon Mitchener, 22, who pleaded
guilty to participating in two 1996 Utah mink
releases, was on November 12 sentenced to two
years in jail and ordered to pay a share of restitution
for losses the mink ranchers claimed came to

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