Animal Rights Terrorist

At his gig in New Theatre, Oxford, May 25th 2006, Morrissey said, ‘well, if you agree with vivisection you go and be vivisected upon… Terrorism’. He’d also made comments on his now defunct fansite True to You, that were interpreted as pro-violence by the right-wing press, and silly 80s posturing in the left-wing press.

With people in the world such as Jamie Oliver and Clarissa Dickson Wright there isn’t much hope for animals. 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 principals that apply to war. You reach a point where you cannot reason with people. This is why the Animal Rights Militia and the Hunt Saboteurs exist. They are usually very intelligent people who are forced to act because the law is shameful or amoral. In England, animals are hunted to the point of extinction, and then a great effort is made to save and reintroduce animals, and once they are re-established, they are then hunted back to the point of extinction. Everybody needs to hate something, it seems.(Morrissey, True to You, 4 January 2006)

The Mancunian student icon of the 80s wears his vegetarianism as flamboyantly as his gladioli, and he’s known to be a passionate advocate of animal rights. Now he’s got Oxford’s new animal research lab in his sights. At a concert in the city last week, he condemned the lab and warned its workers: “We’ll get you”. Animal testers – long the bogeymen of the idealistic left – have enjoyed something of a resurgence recently with the formation of the Pro-Test campaign group in favour of animal testing. The group even counts a number of students among its members – something that would have been unheard of in Morrissey’s heyday, when it was impossible to walk through any student town without signing up (again) to a gorily-illustrated anti-vivisection petition. Morrissey’s got previous on this one. In an interview with the True to You fanzine earlier this year, he said he understood “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”. I’m not quite sure how easily that sits with the view Morrissey expressed elsewhere in the True to You interview that “the proof of your political thinking is usually in your conduct. I find myself opposing barbarism, that’s all”. Viva hate, as the great man put it. (Shelia Pulham, the Guardian, 30 May 2006)

Earlier this year, the artist who now lives in Rome, was criticised for comments attributed to him on fan website True To You, in which he appeared to back what he called “animal rights militia”, saying violence was the only language fur farmers and laboratory scientists understood. This prompted the Conservative’s Home Affairs spokesman David Davis to call for Morrissey to be investigated by the police. Referring to the media’s reporting of his outspoken views, he told the Oxford audience: “Because I have no identity, I rely on the press to tell me!” Morrissey also sparked controversy in June 2004 when he broke the news of Ronald Reagan’s death to fans at a concert in Manchester, saying he wished it had been President George W Bush who had died. (Oxford Mail, 2 June 2006)