Like David Cameron (and it’s a horrifying concept, when you realise you like some of the same music as the leader of the Conservative Party), I love The Smiths. In a short but prolific period, Steven Patrick Morrissey and Johnny Marr produced some of the most effortlessly poignant and wonderful songs ever written, scattered across a handful of superb albums. Even in his solo years, Morrissey has continued to be one of the most enigmatic people in his profession, not to mention one of the wittiest and most articulate.
So it was disheartening (but, if I’m honest, not that surprising) to read in The Times today that this most committed vegetarian supports animal rights extremists who target scientists and companies involved in animal testing.
I support the efforts of the Animal Rights Militia in England and I understand why fur farmers and so-called laboratory scientists are repaid with violence — it is because they deal in violence themselves and it’s the only language they understand — the same principles that apply to war.
A contemptible argument. I’m not going to defend fur farmers or hunters – they clearly perform no useful function, satisfying only the needs of the vain and the bloodthirsty – but nor would I advocate harm against them. The use of animals in medical and scientific experimentation, however, is a different matter entirely. Citizeness Sane, for an example close to home, is kept alive on a daily basis by a cocktail of drugs to treat a medical condition, almost certainly all tested on animals at some point. A horrible fact, but it’s true. So, my girlfriend is alive as a direct consequence of scientists testing on animals. I’m also willing to bet large amounts of money that every single reader of this post is either alive, or knows somebody who is alive, due to a medical breakthrough reached by testing on animals. Nobody wants to do it, nobody is happy about it, it’s just necessary. Animal ‘rights’ activists bombing individuals and companies associated with the industry operate within the same moral universe as all other terrorists and their behaviour can never be condoned.
So I wonder if, were he to be struck down with a potentially lethal condition, Morrissey would refuse to take life-saving drugs if he knew that animals had suffered along the way in their development and preparation? There’s nothing to wonder. Of course he would. In a flash.
They do say you should never meet your idols. You should certainly never read about their political beliefs.