6 November 2001
Animal rights death sparks fears

By Adrienne Francis

FEARS are growing of a violent reaction from extremist groups after Britains most notorious animal rights campaigner died during a prison hunger strike.

Convicted firebomber Barry Horne, 49, suffered kidney failure and died in Ronkswood hospital, Worcester, on Tuesday (5 November).

He was jailed for 18 years in November 1997 at Bristol Crown Court after causing millions of pounds-worth of damage to shops in the Isle of Wight.

A front-page story in the Daily Telegraph says Mr Hornes death was a surprise, as few outside the prison service knew he was on hunger strike.

Robin Webb, of the Animal Liberation Front, said: ” People are becoming angry and I believe this will make them angrier.

He added: “People are becoming more radical still.”

The Independent reports that Mr Hornes death prompted a “warning” from Ronnie Lee, the founder of the Animal Liberation Front.

“Some people will regard Barry as a martyr. Everyone in the animal rights movement feels a combination of sadness and anger over his death.”

It could “spur people to work harder” for the cause, he added. According to the Financial Times, pharmaceutical companies are on high alert.

During his 1998 protest, supporters had threatened to kill 10 scientists if Mr Horne died during the hunger strike, the FT reports.

The Times features a front-page story reporting that police are on alert, with more detailed discussion and a feature page.

The Guardian focuses on animal rights campaigners mourning their martyr in an article taking up most of page three.

Since being jailed, Mr Horne went on several hunger strikes in a failed attempt to force a Royal Commission into vivisection.

He was the first hunger striker to die in a British prison since 1996.