US animal activists to learn from UK groups

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LEADING American animal rights protesters are coming to Britain later this month to meet senior activists who they hope will pass on valuable campaign tactics.

The Americans plan to use strategies recently developed in Britain to try to ban blood sports such as duck and geese shooting in the United States.

They will use lobbying tactics, such as those developed in the campaign to stop the export of veal calves, to help release zoo animals and to try to outlaw intensive rearing on American farms.

The 15 activists, from throughout the US, will be given private briefings by the League Against Cruel Sports, which masterminded the recent vote in the House of Commons to ban fox hunting; Compassion in World Farming, at the forefront of the veal exports campaign; Animal Aid; Respect for Animals (formerly Lynx); and the Hunt Saboteurs Association.

The results of the briefings and campaign advice will be transmitted across the Internet to animal welfare groups across the United States.

Don Graft from the Animal Rights Resource information network in Florida said: "We wanted to find out how we can emulate the UK protesters' success. We want to find out what it is that it creating so much support for the veal protesters. We are up against some very powerful lobbies here and we want to see how we can match them."

The Americans will also meet MPs sympathetic to animal rights at the House of Commons and will join a march in central London against animal testing.

The tour was organised by Kim Stallwood, a former acting general secretary of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, who now lives in America and edits the news sheet Animals' Agenda.

"The aim is to learn from successful British strategies," he said. "There has never been an orchestrated political campaign in the US like in Britain. American activists look to Britain as at the forefront of the campaign for animal rights."