Document Type

Editorial and Commentary

Publication Date



Born 51 years ago in Antwerp, Belgium, Henry Spira ran away from home at 17 to join the Merchant Marine and took his first politics lesson in the National Maritime Union. After the Korean War he worked on a General Motors assembly line in New Jersey. "One thing you learned," Spira said, "is that the meek don't make it." In the late 1950s he first saw animal experiments in a laboratory while working his way through Brooklyn College. He joined the civil rights campaigns in the South and marched against the war in Vietnam, "from beginning to end." Henry Spira is now devoting his considerable energies to the fight for animal rights. He recently headed the campaign which successfully overturned the Metcalf-Hatch Act which permitted laboratories to confiscate animals from humane shelters for experimentation. One New York newspaper commented: "The repeal of Metcalf-Hatch is a major breakthrough for the animal rights movement and for the growing questioning of the lack of medical/industrial complex accountability of which animal experimentation forms a multi-billion dollar part." What follows are extracts from an essay by Henry Spira entitled Notes of An Animal Activist.


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