From Ms Julie Whitlock Sir: Polly Toynbee is correct in stating that animals do not have rights: one need only view the treatment of animals in our society to recognise this fact. However, Ms Toynbee's lambasting of animal rights activism through her tears over the state of human rights is disingenuous in light of the fact that human and animal rights are a continuum. The idea that one group should have its rights protected only after another "more important" group is comfortable is a rationale that is rapidly being rejected by the public at large: hence the recent public protests over live exports.
Human and animal slavery differ little in form and practice: they are both forms of oppression and institutionalised suffering. The current animal rights movement does not, in fact, differ significantly from its predecessors - the suffragist and anti-slavery movements - in its actions and objectives.
Yours faithfully, Julie Whitlock Assistant General Secretary The Vegan Society St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex