Can end result justify means?
HAND outstretched and a concerned look on her face, Heather Nicholson strokes a donkey at an animal sanctuary in Devon.
The photograph nestles alongside other images in the family album, displaying the childless divorcee's love of all creatures great and small.
Her father, George Barwick, a retired carpenter and strict vegan, casts his eyes over the pictures.
"I'm so proud of her," he says through his greying beard.
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"She has always loved animals and been committed to trying to stop cruel and the barbaric torture of them."
Earlier this month, Heather Nicholson was handed an 11-year jail sentence.
She had founded campaign group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which was determined to shut down a controversial testing lab.
Practices at the lab included getting rats to breath in cigarette smoke until they had convulsions.
Leaflets were handed out and protests were staged. But when they were not being taken seriously and the experiments continued, SHAC upped the ante.
Terrorism-style tactics were introduced.
Bomb-hoaxes, paedophile smears and chilling threats of violence were dished out — with a top judge labelling the campaign "relentless, sustained and merciless".
But why does the issue of animal testing provoke such heated reactions?
Although experiments on animals date back as far as 400BC, serious questions about its ethics were not raised until the 17th Century, when Irish physiologist Edmund O'Meara said "the miserable torture" placed the creatures in an unnatural state — bringing the reliability of any tests into question.
But scientists hit back, with the godfather of vivisection Claude Bernard arguing: "The science of life is a superb and dazzlingly lighted hall, which may be reached only by passing through a long and ghastly kitchen."
Scientific group Pro-Test argues animal testing is necessary.
A spokesman said: "Animal research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century — for both human and veterinary health.
"Seventy-one of the Nobel Prizes for medicine won in the past 103 years were awarded to scientists who used animals in their research.
"Smallpox has now been eradicated entirely and polio has been eradicated from North America.
"Insulin is now able to help control diabetes, and there are vaccines for tetanus, rubella, anthrax and rabies."
However, while testing for medical reasons is seen as a necessary evil, it is conducting experiments for cosmetic purposes which touches a nerve the most.
George Barwick, said it was these kind of tests that sickened his now imprisoned daughter.
"She was against animal cruelty, not humane forms of testing," he added.
"How can you justify experiments where immense suffering is caused to cats by stabbing probes into their brains just so you can find a new form of bleach?"
Abuses of animals during testing were well publicised throughout the 1990s, and served to create a public frenzy on the issue.
Cosmetic testing has been banned in the UK since 1998. But anti-testing groups still say more needs to be done.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection estimates 115 million animals worldwide are "tortured" every year.
However, it argues companies should be made to say precisely how many animals they test on.
A spokesman said: "It is shocking so many countries think it unimportant to count the number of animal suffering in their laboratories.
"It is impossible to have a clear and honest debate about the role of animal experiments in the 21st Century when the official numbers of animals involved is outrageously underestimated.
"Vivisection is considered one of the most controversial uses of animals.
"It's about time governments, including our own, brought the truth into the open."
But while testing at facilities such as Huntingdon Life Sciences, continue, the issue won't go away.
Nicholson denied causing any physical harm to anyone. The 41-year-old co-founder of SHAC insisted she had done nothing wrong and pleaded not guilty.
Her father said: "In her eyes, she was innocent.
"She could have pleaded guilty and got a lesser sentence, but she was prepared to stand up for what she believed in."
More hard-line campaigners actively advocate terror tactics to justify their actions
A recruitment poster for one group reads: "A little jail time is nothing compared to what lab animals go through."
But criminal defence lawyer Clive Rees, of Swansea, said campaigners would not be doing their cause any favours.
He said: "Heather Nicholson was involved in a deliberate and very nearly successful campaign to terrorise a large number of people who — whatever you may think of the subject — had committed no crime and their families, who were obviously innocent of any involvement in animal testing.
"The sentence reflects the despicable actions of her group, the terror felt by those who were affected by their actions, and the complete absence of remorse shown by her."