Horne's fast may end soon

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The Independent Online
THE ANIMAL rights hunger striker Barry Horne may end his fast this weekend, claiming that the Government has moved towards meeting his demands for an independent inquiry into animal experiments.

After 66 days without food, the convicted fire-bomber is trying to study recent statements from MPs, the Government and its advisers. His supporters say that, if he decides they amount to the kind of inquiry he wants, he may start eating again.

He drank orange juice and sweetened tea for a three-day period earlier in the hunger strike, his third. That may help to explain why he is still alive after more than two months without solid food. Supporters say he was given last rites more than two weeks ago.

Horne, 46, was moved from York District Hospital back to Full Sutton prison on Thursday. He is serving an 18-year sentence for an arson campaign that caused pounds 3m damage. After visiting him in prison yesterday, his friend Tony Humphries told journalists: ``Barry has deteriorated rapidly as a result of his move. Because of the disruption and confusion Barry has been unable to fully consider these documents. He will now need a further day or two.''

The "documents" come from the Government's leading advisory body on animal experiments, the Animal Procedures Committee, and the Parliamentary Standing Group on Animal Welfare.

The chairmen of both organisations said yesterday that Horne's hunger strike had not influenced them, and the papers would have been produced in any case.

There is no indication that Horne's original demands - for the abolition of the Animal Procedures Committee and the setting up of Royal Commission to examine animal experiments - could be met.