Animal Protection >
TAKE NO PRISONERS – an interview with the
incorrigible British doctor, author, and vivisector's nightmare,
Vernon Coleman, about vivisection and his new book Animal Rights,
With all his heart and soul Vernon Coleman believes, and
lives that belief, that animal experiments are morally,
scientifically and ethically wrong, wrong, wrong.
"The only reason that vivisection has not yet been
stopped is that the battle of words has been fought, not just
against waves of commercially sustained prejudice but also against
apparently endless seas of ignorance and indifference" he has
Now the indelible Mr Coleman has taken time out to speak on a
diverse range of issues with us, from vivisection and Tony Blair's
New Labour Government, to the role the media could play in fighting
vivisection to his opinions on the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
Interviewed by Claudette Vaughan.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself Vernon.
A. I qualified as a doctor in 1970, 10 years worked
as a GP in the UK's National Health Service. 20 years ago I
gave up my job as a GP because I wanted to try and change the
world – and you can't do that working inside the system. Since
then I've earned my living as a author.
Q. I once saw you debating a vivisector on TV and
even the host of the show was pro-vivisection. He was getting
so furious with you that the veins in his neck were popping
out. I can't believe how well you kept your cool. Got any
suggestions for us?
A. Sometimes calm is best on TV and radio. Sometimes
passion works. If the opposition gets excited it is sometimes
better to stay calm. This has two effects. First, it makes the
opposition get crosser. They often look nastier and sillier –
and frequently end up becoming aggressive. This usually wins
you audience sympathy. And staying calm means you can think
better. I have enormous difficulty staying calm when debating
animal issues. Sadly, I don't get invited to debate animal
Q. Why is that?
A. Vivisectors and vivisection supporters say they
won't go into a studio with me. So perhaps my approach has
proved too effective!
Q. In your latest book Animal Rights, Human
Wrongs you speak at length on how the Blair Government has
sold the animals down the river. Would you reiterate your
thoughts on the subject?
A. Before the last election – when Blair and New
Labour wanted all the votes they could gather they promised
all sorts of things. As a National newspaper columnist in the
UK (with around 5 million weekly readers), I wrote to all
three parties asking them what they would do for animals if
they won. I offered to support (and encouraged my readers to
support) the party which offered most to animals. The Labour
Party agreed that I might hold the balance of power in the
election and so in a letter to me New Labour made a number of
promises. (I had not believed the promises they had made and
had, in the end, encouraged my readers to abstain and vote for
other parties in order to weaken the inevitable Labour Party
After the election, when the Labour party had forgotten and
denied these promises, I sent copies of the letters to every
British MP, every newspaper, every TV station, every radio
station and every animal rights group. I did this four or five
times. But the promises remained unfulfilled.
Q. What of the police? Is it true that animal
activists in England now come under the province of
A. I believe that new legislation will mean that
animal rights supporters will be officially regarded as
terrorists. But unofficially this has been the case for some
time. The reason for this is simple: those who support animals
are a serious economic threat. Once again, my book explains
this in detail.
Q. What is your way to expose vivisectors and
A. If all the people who claim to love animals
worked together and used the media probably vivisection would
end. If would indeed, have already ended. Sadly, most people
in the animal rights movement have no idea how the media works
– or how to deal with it.
Q. If that's the case, do you see coalitions as the
way to go?
A. Pro-animal campaigners will not work together. I
tried to form a UK coalition – assuring everyone involved that
having set up the initial meeting I would back out completely.
Because I am aware of the number of outrageous egos in the
animal rights world I made it clear that I did not have any
ambition to "lead" any such group. But the attempt to pull
animal rights groups together failed miserably. Why? Could it
be vanity? Could it be that individual animal rights groups
were frightened that their money-raising would be less
successful? Animal Rights groups still fight one another far
more ferociously than they fight animal abusers. This is the
real reason why animal rights abuse continues – and will
Some individuals who claim to love animals seem to delight
in making up – and spreading – absurd, vicious and damaging
lies about others who have the same aims. I suspect ego and
vanity are behind all of this destructive nonsense.
These days I work outside all animal rights groups. My
campaigning is paid for entirely by my novels and other
Q. What are your campaigns at present?
A. Constantly encouraging my readers to protest
about specific instances of abuse. But I am also looking for
ways to end animal abuse in general. For example, I get into
serious trouble for telling my readers that meat causes
cancer. That is, of course, true but serious attempts have
been made to stop me from saying it. Even people who don't
care about animals eat less meat when they know this. My own
web-site www.vernoncoleman.com contains a good deal of animal
information for free downloading. I'm setting up a new
Q. There are so many of us in the AR (animal rights)
Movement and so few achievements are ours in anti-vivisection.
If AR people focussed on the fundamentals of vivisection what
in your opinion would these fundamentals be?
A. We are no further forward than a hundred years
ago. Vivisection would have stopped long ago if those who
cared put aside their egos, used the media properly and worked
together. There is scientific evidence on my web-site which
proves that animal experiments are worthless. But the way
things are going vivisection will never end. I confess I find
Q. Is the use of animals in laboratories slowing
down at all.
A. No. The global rate of animal abuse is not
slowing down. If anything it's going up.
Q. Constantly the argument gets dredged up 'My baby
or my dog?", and of course it will always be the child first.
What do you say to that?
A. I simply point out that animal experiments don't
help human beings. Indeed, all the evidence shows conclusively
that a baby is at extra risk because of animal experiments. I
have huge amounts of evidence for this in my books and on my
Q. Do you support the ALF on the grounds that its
presence has guaranteed the more moderate AR and animal
welfare groups a freedom of expression that they might not
have otherwise enjoyed?
A. I don't approve of any sort of violence. The
activities of those who advocate violence against property or
individuals have drawn attention to the issue of animal abuse.
But those activities have to a large extent played into the
hands of the animal abusers and have, in the long run,
weakened our position in the media battle.
It is true that one or two animals who have been released
have been helped. I will doubtless make more enemies by saying
this but generally speaking these activities have damaged the
interests of animals and strengthened the position of the
animal abusers. We will only win the battle against
vivisection, meat-eating and so on if we use the media
properly. Putting on a ski mask and hurling a brick through a
window isn't ever going to look good and it isn't ever going
to help animals.
I understand the sense of frustration which leads people to
do this. I do not condone it, nor do I wish to criticise
anyone. But I believe, there are better, more effective ways
to fight for animals.
|Note: Vernon Coleman's book
Animal Rights, Human Wrongs – a blueprint for a better
society is available and published by Blue Books,
Publishing House, Trinity Place, Barnstaple, Devon EX 32 9HJ.
Vernon Coleman's websites: