The following item from the Daily Telegraph:- Animal activists torment parents of rabbit flu man By Amy Iggulden (Filed: 24/08/2006) Animal rights extremists have targeted the parents of Britain's first known human victim of "rabbit flu", with telephone callers telling them his death was a "rabbit's revenge". Joan and Peter Freeman were called within days of the funeral of their son John, who died after handling an infected rabbit he had shot on the family farm. They had appealed for greater awareness of the bacterium that caused his death. Pasteurella multocida is present in cats and dogs as well as the sinuses of rabbits. But on the day they spoke out, anti-hunting extremists telephoned the family's 800-acre farm near Stowmarket, Suffolk, to tell Mrs Freeman that the couple's only child had been "popping off rabbits for fun". In a separate call, Mr Freeman was told that the death might be "rabbit's revenge". The couple went to a relative's house to escape the ringing telephone. Mrs Freeman said: "They were implying that my son deserved to die. I just can't understand how people can be so callous. To ring someone up who is devastated with grief - it is disgusting." The calls came days after a group of anglers were attacked in Lancashire by a gang of masked animal rights activists, prompting fears that extremists want to widen the scope of their campaign of intimidation. A woman was punched in the face and several cars were vandalised at Bank House fly fishery, at Caton, near Lancaster, when a group of people, including families, were attacked by saboteurs who had earlier failed to disrupt a grouse shoot. Countryside campaigners said the targeting of bereaved parents suggested that the threat from militants could be worsening. Liz Mort, the eastern regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "It is truly dreadful. A hard core of people are prepared to stoop to what amounts to rural terrorism." In May, four animal rights extremists were jailed after a six-year campaign of terror against the owners of a guinea pig breeding farm at Newchurch, Staffs, that culminated in the theft from a grave of the remains of Gladys Hammond, the mother-in-law of the farm's co-owner. Last August, Debra Rowe, whose son Byron Evans, 13, was accidentally shot dead by his stepfather while out shooting foxes near Haberton, Devon, also received hate mail. John Freeman's parents said their son had been a conservationist. Mrs Freeman said: "I can't believe these people are caring, or nature lovers or conservationists themselves. If they were, they would know that rabbit culling is a part of country life." John, 29, a 6ft 5in former public school rugby player, was a shooting and fishing enthusiast who studied land management at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. He is believed to have been infected through a blister on his thumb while out on a rabbit cull on August 1. The following day, he fell ill with a fever, which doctors thought was flu. But he later collapsed and was taken to hospital, where he died of septicaemia - apparently caused by a virulent form of Pasteurella multocida - three days later. Doctors initially suspected he had died of E.coli, but a post mortem examination revealed that he was infected with the bacterium that causes pasteurellosis, which is known as "rabbit flu" or snuffles, even though it is not a virus. Mr Freeman said: "We are just ordinary country people who want to live our lives quietly. The only reason we have accepted publicity is so that others can be aware that this disease exists. "We expect [opposition] from people who are anti-hunting. They have their views and we have ours. But this is sick. We have got more than enough to contend with, losing John." He was the first person known to have died in Britain after catching the germ from a rabbit, although health officials have recorded rare previous cases of people dying after catching it from cats. The bacterium is typically passed to several hundred humans a year through bites, but the illness can usually be treated successfully with antibiotics if diagnosed. The League Against Cruel Sports described the telephone calls as "completely unacceptable". Seems that nothing is too low for these scum-bags.