Animal rights campaigners SHAC disband group against Huntingdon Life Sciences

17:52 29 August 2014

Huntingdon Life Science demonstrations, High Street, Huntingdon 24/03/2000

Huntingdon Life Science demonstrations, High Street, Huntingdon 24/03/2000

Archant

An animal rights group looks to have ended a 15-year fight against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).

Huntingdon Life Science demonstrations, employees cars burnt out, in Godmanchester. 2000Huntingdon Life Science demonstrations, employees cars burnt out, in Godmanchester. 2000

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) was started by Greg Avery, his wife Natasha Avery and former wife Heather Nicholson in 1999 after a Channel 4 documentary highlighted animal abuse at HLS’s base in Woolley Road, Alconbury.

Its aim was to force the closure of HLS – Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries – but, despite a temporary resettlement of the company to America, SHAC failed to achieve its main task.

A statement on SHAC’s website said: “After more than 10 years of organising the SHAC campaign and having sent shock waves throughout the entire vivisection industry, our opposition has evolved.

“The global animal abuse and legal landscapes have changed and so it’s time for us too, to change our tactics. Although we’re announcing the closure of the SHAC campaign, it will always be an important part of our history and a reminder of the ingenuity and power of the animal rights movement.”

SHAC campaigners carried out a series of peaceful protests but will be more synonymous with violent attacks and death threats to staff at HLS and other companies involved with the lab. In 2001, HLS managing director Brian Cass was ambushed near his home in St Ives by three people armed with pickaxe handles. And Andrew Gay, marketing director for HLS, was temporarily blinded when he was sprayed in the face with a chemical.

Campaigners were also linked to attacking a businessman, who had connections to HLS, and leaving his unconscious body next to his barn, which they set alight.

Hoax bombs were planted and letters were sent to HLS employees’ neighbours claiming they were living next to paedophiles.

The group also claims to have sunk a boat belonging to an executive at a bank which was funding HLS.

Seven SHAC members were jailed in 2009, including leader Greg Avery, who was sentenced to nine years after admitting conspiracy to blackmail. A further five were imprisoned the following year.

A statement from HLS said: “The decision by SHAC to end the campaign is welcomed by Huntingdon Life Sciences and all those associated with the company.

“Even during the early years when extremism was at its height HLS still managed to successfully grow its research business.

“The UK environment for the use of animals in biomedical research has improved greatly in recent years, and this is the result of action taken by law enforcement agencies to control animal rights extremism.”

The unlawful action against HLS – and the work to prevent it – continued as recently as earlier this year when Debbie Vincent, of St Marks Road, Easton, Bristol, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail in relation to her 10-year association with SHAC.

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:57
Missing girl Lili Munteanu

Police are growing increasingly concerned for a teenage girl who has gone missing from Lincolnshire and may have travelled to the Birmingham area, but is also known to have links in Cambridgeshire.

Sunday, April 26, 2015
The Hunts Post Hustings, at Huntingdon Regional College, Green Party Tom Maclellan,

Next month’s General Election could be the most tightly fought in decades and last Thursday (April 16) night an audience of voters at Huntingdonshire Regional College were given the opportunity to find out what the prospective parliamentary candidates for the Huntingdon seat will be offering should they be selected.

Sunday, April 26, 2015
Annabelle, centre, who is doing the bean bath stunt, pictured with SIYT members (from left) Paul, Sam, Chloe and Holly.

A St Ivo pupil plans to sit in a bath of beans in St Ives town centre to raise money for a theatre group’s performance in Edinburgh.

Sunday, April 26, 2015
Police are investigating after a 16-year-old boy was left with serious injuries.

A teenager suffered serious neck injuries after rope tied between trees in St Neots caused him to come off his motorbike.

”Calendar"/

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hunts Post e-edition today E-edition