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Morality and the Art of Desecrating Graves
By: Seamonkey  |  January 1, 2008

This Guest Rant is based on the following news article:
Fears over grave-robbing by animal rights activists

Mark Townsend
Sunday October 17, 2004
The Observer

Scientists fear the graves of their relatives will be the next target of animal rights extremists following the desecration of the burial ground of 82-year-old Gladys Hammond.

As hundreds of mourners gathered yesterday for a service of rededication in the Staffordshire village churchyard where her body was stolen, representatives of leading drug firms involved in animal research admitted that the remains of their ancestors may be next in line.

Richard Ley, spokesman for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: 'How many ancestors are they going to go back? Where does it end? There is an implied threat in all this for us, but it is impossible to defend every graveyard.'

Although police are still searching for the culprits, sources with the Animal Liberation Front refuse to condemn the macabre act which yesterday appeared on a website dedicated to glorifying the activities of extremists. Officers believe Mrs Hammond's grave in the burial ground of St Peter's church in Yoxall was removed because of family links to a farm in Newchurch which breeds guinea pigs for medical research.

However last night the owners of the farm vowed they would not be forced to close the business, dubbed an 'animal Auschwitz' by activists. Instead they have erected a security fence, employed night-time watchmen and introduced guard dogs. Chris Hall, the son-in-law of Mrs Hammond, said: 'They claim that we ritually abuse animals for our own pleasure. I can assure you that doesn't happen.'

Candles held by villagers spluttered in the breeze while flowers adorned every grave to mark the bereavement of all those whose loved ones had lain in a place that, until now, had been fondly known for its serenity. Such sentiments were vanquished the moment Mrs Hammond's coffin was raised under the cover of darkness 10 days ago and her remains stolen. Where they were taken is still a mystery.

Animal welfare protesters were forced to cancel, on police advice, a planned demonstration against the farm just hours before yesterday's rededication ceremony. The rector of Yoxall, the Reverend Jenny Lister, said she hoped the service would reclaim the sanctity in the churchyard.

'There was a need to do something to bring back a sense of peace and dignity to the churchyard and the cemetery,' she said.

Conspicuously absent, however, from those that gathered to hear her sermon was the family of Chris Hall.

Since her grave was violated, none of the family has summoned the strength to visit the graveyard. 'It's just too emotional at the moment,' said Chris.

However the decision not close Darley Oak Farm is a rare setback for the increasingly influential animal rights movement.

A primate research centre at Cambridge was abandoned because of the excessive costs of protecting staff. Scientists warn Britain's dominant position in the pharmaceutical industry is at risk.

This week the ABPI will analyse the latest figures on attacks by animal extremists over the three months since the Home Office introduced new regulations to tackle protesters. The Observer has seen figures compiled by extremists which reveal that although the number of attacks has decreased following the crackdown, their frequency is likely to prompt fresh calls from industry for legislation to protect scientists. During July, August and September there were 34 attacks compared to 51 in the preceding three months.

Today the hunt for the Yoxall grave robbers will continue. Midlands activist John Curtin has been arrested and released on police bail. Curtin condemns the act as 'revolting' and denies he did it.
[ Source ]

Before I proceed with this rant, I should probably point out a few basic facts about me and the type of person I am.

FACT 1 - I am a 31 year old, university educated female from a middle class background. I have a good job and am generally a law abiding citizen.

FACT 2 - I like animals. I had a dog from the age of 11 through 25. I loved her and I cried when she died.

FACT 3 - I don't believe in inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on any living creature (unless it's solicited - hey, if you need whips and chains to get you off, then that's your business and good luck to you!)

Grave robbing seems to be the latest tactic de rigour of certain factions within the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). I confess that prior to reading about this thoroughly sick practice, I had sympathetic leanings toward animal right activists and their cause - not to the extent of active involvement but I'd feel bad for the poor little bunnies. The ALFs main argument rests largely on the moral presumption that any benefits that may be gained by humans cannot outweigh the suffering of the animals. They believe that animal testing is wrong and we do not have the moral right to impose pain and suffering on any living creature. I should point out that there are other arguments propulgated by the ALF but they are outside the scope of this Rant.

In light of this admirable 'moral highground', doesn't it seem just a teensy weensy bit hypocritical to go around digging up the dead relatives of people associated with animal testing? How about committing various acts of arson with the potential to kill or maim both humans and...oh the irony....animals too? Does that seem moral?

I would imagine that most people would regard the act of stealing a dead body from a grave as being wholly reprehensible. That's because it is. This kind of behaviour smacks of the worst kind of morality ie. my morals are better than yours. I stand on the Mount Everest of highgrounds and therefore my actions can be justified. A reasonable person would argue, as I do, that stealing Auntie Jean's consecrated remains imposes PAIN and SUFFERING on the living relatives. Is emotional pain and suffering more justifiable than physical? Here's an idea....let's go ask some former victims of domestic violence which scars are hardest to heal.

The second thing wrong with that statement focuses on use of the term 'dead relatives'. Yes, that's right...RELATIVES. These fanatics are digging up graves of people who probably don't even know what animal testing is! Poor Auntie Jean. How dare she give birth to someone who gave birth to someone who might or might not, in the future, perform morally dubious acts, in order to improve the quality of life of his/her fellow man. This grave robbing is the worst kind of behaviour because there are no obvious 'benefits' - these are petty minded revenge tactics which serve only to cause emotional pain to others. Two wrongs do not make a right.

I, myself, used to be a bit of a fence sitter on this subject but not anymore. I will however, make a distinction between testing for medical purposes and testing for cosmetic purposes. Cosmetic testers can go fuck themselves - it's unnecessary. We won't die without cosmetics - we won't suffer without cosmetics. However, medical testing performs a valuable function and the work has helped develop vaccines for polio, rabies, measles, mumps and TB, as well as open heart surgery techniques. As morally dubious as you may find it, there have been clear benefits, not only for humans...but for animals too!

These fanatacists have shown themselves to be a complete set of arseholes and by refusing to condemn this act, the mainstream ALF has completely undermined what is arguably the strongest part of their argument. I have no desire to be lectured on morals by an oganisation which has none.

ALF? - Go fuck yourself!

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