Questions about freedom, helplessness, choosing sides, and power are all playing a very important part in our lives nowadays as we watch so much of what we love about our society become unraveled. The topic of animal rights is often seen in the media as a radical movement without much popular interest, but ask the average person how they feel about the 60 million animals a year being burned, poisoned, tormented, and deprived of intellectual and emotional stimulation - all in the name of science - and you'll generally get a strong and heartfelt reaction. In evidence of this point, many talented people in both the film and music industries have made public statements in support of animal rights over the past few years.
The scenario that the TAGS screenplay is based on, the 1984 raid on the City of Hope lab facility in California, received widespread news coverage at the time and was one of a series of scandals that shook the vivisection industry. The raid brought to the forefront the conflict between scientific testing and the welfare of animals like few other events ever have, and helped establish PETA as one of the main forces pushing for animal rights around the world. By ambitiously targeting one of the largest and well-established institutions, a tiny ALF cell with limited funding and experience very successfully revealed to the public that even the most reputable laboratories were susceptible to massive grievances against helpless animals. This was a David and Goliath battle, and the stakes - public opinion - couldn't have been higher.
Because of growing public sentiment,
there was intensive lobbying campaign from the pharmaceutical companies,
and in 1985 the US Senate introduced the
Animal Research Facilities Protection Act, effectively making it illegal
to publish or broadcast any of the documents that show what goes on inside
the labs. It has now become impossible to know the truth. This altered the
mandate of animal rights activists and, unfortunately, ended some of the
incredible potency that was then forming in the movement.
TAGS is a way, through terrific storytelling, to once again inform and re-energize the North American, European and Australian markets; where the animal rights movement has enjoyed a steady building of support. There are approximately 34,100 websites containing the phrase “animal liberation” and 476,000 websites with “animal rights”.