Letter: Of 'mad cows' and animal liberation

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tom Wilkie ('Tongue-tied by technocrats', 28 July) has been among scientists too long. It is not that opponents of nuclear power or factory farming lack the 'linguistic space' or the language with which to express their concerns. It is simply that many of us have come to believe that whatever language we employ, however well we argue our case, somehow we will always lose: the nuclear plants will still be built, the motorways pushed through, the whales slaughtered.

The frustration that this state of affairs breeds is enormous and it should therefore be of no surprise that radicalised groups such as Earth First] and the Animal Liberation Front are gaining ground.

For when the civilised arguments of the Gandhis, Schumachers and Lovelocks are repeatedly seen to be of no avail it is such groups who increasingly articulate the feelings for which Mr Wilkie would have us believe we have no language.

Unless and until the public inquiries, parliamentary committees, general elections and Earth Summits are seen to be capable of effectively listening to the deep and growing unease that many of us now feel about the daily rape and pillage of the Earth, for which a good deal of the blame is, rightly or wrongly, laid at the door of scientists and economists, we should expect to hear more of this roar of disapproval - the language of direct action.

Yours sincerely,

STEPHEN HOPKINS

Llandeilo, Dyfed

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