The problem is, of course, that many of these activists live in little self-reinforcing circles of fanatical belief. Make no mistake, that’s what they are: fanatics who believe their own conviction puts them above the law. Certainly they show a fanatic’s contempt for the law. With no-one within their circle to challenge their beliefs, they grow and develop in strange ways. They tell each other that there’s no scientific basis for animal experimentation, and scientists only do it because companies pay them, as one suggested on Today the other morning. When he was confronted with the question: “And why would companies pay for this if it doesn’t do any good?”, he had no answer. He’d never thought about it, nor sufficiently interrogated his own beliefs.

This is the politics of the schoolroom, given deadly life by adults. Without any intellectual frame of reference that lets them analyse their own beliefs, we come down to “cute fluffy animals good, nasty scientists bad”. The irony, of course, is that the very scientists they call “bad” have to pass every action they take through committees of ethics. Clearly, the activists have no such safeguards.