Many of your readers will share their homes with cats, dogs and other animals.

We all know that they have their own personalities, and scientists are constantly discovering how similar animals are to us in how they feel pain and emotions ranging from love and friendship through to fear and grief.

But how would we feel if the animals that are part of our families were slowly poisoned to death, deliberately infected with deadly diseases, or crammed into sheds with no natural light and knee-deep in their own waste? Unfortunately, this is the fate suffered by millions upon millions of animals in this country in vivisection labs and factory farms.

When you look into what happens to animals, the level of suffering and abuse is truly chilling.

It is shameful that these things happen in our name. The way we treat animals is a real test of how civilised we really are, and as a society we are failing miserably.

This cruelty happens because politicians cave into the demands of big businesses that make money from animals' misery. But it doesn't have to be like this!

The public cares but our voice is being ignored.

It's time we started to defend the defenceless. We're starting up a new network of animal advocates which aims to show politicians that we won't stand for cruelty to defenceless animals.

The more pressure we can put on our local MPs in our area and the government, the more they will be forced to take account of animals' welfare and give them the protection they deserve.

This is an intelligent, peaceful and democratic way of really influencing the way that absolutely crucial political decisions are made.

If you're moved by the plight of animals, and you won't turn your back on their suffering, please contact Protecting Animals in Democracy, 9 Bailey Lane, Sheffield S1 4EG, email, or sign up at

Jan Yarker, Passive Pressure Animal Welfare Group