Animal rights man ends hunger strike

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The Independent Online
BARRY HORNE, the militant animal rights campaigner, yesterday ended his hunger strike, having refused food for more than nine weeks.

In a brief statement issued last night, the Animals Betrayed Coalition said Horne, who is in Full Sutton prison, near York, had decided to rescind his living will - which ensured he would not be kept artificially alive - after studying a series of government papers. He had also requested to be fed.

The papers were released to him this week and it is understood that Horne believed they represented a change in the Government's stance on animal experimentation.

"Barry has finished going through the papers today and at 4.30pm he rescinded his living will," said the statement.

The Prison Service confirmed that Horne, 46, had requested "nutrition and medical attention".

Whether he will be able to make a full recovery is unclear. At one stage, it was claimed that he only had a 70 per cent chance, but specialists at York District Hospital, where he had been taken, decided last Thursday that he was not suffering from an irreversible condition, prompting questions about the extent to which his supporters had over-dramatised his situation. Although refusing food, he had been taking some liquids. The hospital also felt the presence of his supporters outside the building was causing serious disruption to its normal operations and, as a result, he was returned to jail to continue serving his 18-year sentence for arson.

Horne's condition is said to be "serious but stable", although supporters said yesterday that his eyesight had deteriorated to the extent he could only see silhouettes.

Horne began his hunger strike on 6 October but said he would end it if the Government announced a date for the setting up of a Royal Commission into the use of animals in experiments. The Government said it refused to be blackmailed by his tactics.

Police had been warned to expect a surge in violent activity from animal rights activists if Horne died. It is understood that a hit-list of people linked to animal experimentation had been drawn up.