Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
HLS tests household cleaners, pesticides, weedkillers, cosmetics, food additives, chemicals for use in industry, and drugs for use against Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. It conducts tests on around 75,000 animals every year, including rats, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and primates (marmosets, macaques, and wild-caught baboons).
SHAC was started in November 1999 by British animal rights activists Greg Avery and Heather James after video footage shot covertly inside HLS in 1997 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was aired on British television. The footage showed staff shaking, punching, shouting, and laughing at beagles in an HLS lab. The employees were dismissed and prosecuted, and HLS's Home Office licence to perform animal experiments was revoked for six months. Along with the British video, footage shot in the U.S. appeared to show technicians dissecting a live monkey.
PETA withdrew its campaign against HLS after being threatened with legal action, and SHAC took over. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors U.S. domestic extremism, has described SHAC's modus operandi as "frankly terroristic tactics similar to those of anti-abortion extremists." On May 26, 2005, the Animal Liberation Front issued a warning in support of SHAC that threatened further violence: "A new era has dawned for those who fund the abusers and raise funds for them to murder animals with ... If you support or raise funds for any company connected with Huntingdon Life Sciences we will track you down, come for you and destroy your property with fire."
- 1 The SHAC campaign
- 2 Effects of campaign on HLS and its customers
- 3 Criticism and legal action
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
The SHAC campaign
The SHAC spokespersons are Greg Avery, his second wife, Natasha Avery (nee Dellemagne), and his first wife, Heather James (also known as Heather Nicholson), who as of April 2004 live together rent-free in a £500,000 cottage provided by a supporter, named as Virginia Jane Steele. The Observer describes Steele as an "extremely wealthy" anti-vivisectionist who "in effect bankrolls the jobless Averys ... allowing them to devote their time to the group's cause."
Heather James and the Averys publish reports on the SHAC website and by mail, and provide press information and interviews. The website and mailing list serve as a platform for supporters. Action reports are published on the website and mailed out to subscribers, and may contain details of potential targets and lists of the companies that have severed links with HLS. According to Greg Avery, "[t]hey've made their beds and now it's time to lie in them, and they're all whining." The information disseminated and shared between activists allows SHAC groups throughout the UK and North America to act autonomously. SHAC maintains a decentralized approach with no central leadership.
As a result of campaign, James and the Averys were jailed for six months in December 2001 for conspiring to cause a public nuisance. Greg Avery was also jailed for six months in 1998 for affray and for four months in 2000; he also served 14 days for assaulting a policeman in 1998, and previously six months for affray. Heather James and Natasha Avery were sentenced to 16-month prison sentences in July 2006 after shouting and spitting at a 75-year-old woman and her family because their car had a Countryside Alliance sticker on it.
SHAC's modus operandi is direct action, comprising intimidation, harassment or even physical attacks against the property of HLS, its employees, its employees' families, its business partners, their business partners, insurers, caterers, cleaners and children's nursery school. This direct action approach is designed to force the financial backers of HLS to take personal accountability.
The Daily Mail cites as examples a SHAC activist sending 500 letters to the neighbours of a company manager who did business with HLS. The letter warned parents to keep their children away from the man - falsely claiming that he had raped the letter writer when she was a child. Police subsequently visited every household in the manager's area to tell his neighbours that the allegations were false. A woman in her 60s who worked for a HLS-related company allegedly had every window in her house smashed twice, both after visits from SHAC supporters during the night, and found an effigy hanging outside her home, which read "R.I.P. Mary, Animal Abusing Bitch".
SHAC say they publish names and addresses only so that people can protest peacefully and within the law. However, testimony to the British House of Commons on March 19, 2003 included excerpts from a document reported to have come from within the SHAC organization. Quotes include:
- A simple tactic has been adopted recently. Pick your target. Throw a couple of rape alarms in their roof guttering or thick hedgerow, and leg it....
- Being kept awake at night hardly puts you in a good mood at work or with your family....
- Another idea is to set off extra loud fireworks from a safe distance that will wake up the HLS scum and everybody else for miles around....
- From the comfort of your own home, you can swamp all these bastards with send no money offers. They cause huge inconvenience and can give them a bad credit rating. Order them taxis, pizzas, curries, etc, the possibilities are endless.
- Above all, stay free and safe, and don't get caught. The more preparation you do the better.... Think, think, think. Don't lick stamps, use gloves when pasting stuff.... No idle talk in pubs. Burn your shoes and clothes after your night of action.
A few months later, HLS marketing director Andrew Gay was attacked on his doorstep with a chemical spray to his eyes which left him temporarily blinded.
The campaign continues to develop new tactics and targets. In 2006 alone, SHAC activists were charged with and found guilty of burglary, affray, illegal street collection, highway obstruction, public order offences, inciting violence and terror and stalking.
Alleged ties to ALF
The SHAC spokespersons deny any link between their campaign and attacks carried out by activists using the name of the Animal Liberation Front. However, the SHAC website features ALF news, and Kevin Jonas, the president of SHAC USA, who took charge of SHAC UK while the Averys and James were jailed for six months in 2002, has declared his "unequivocal support" for the ALF. Robin Webb, spokesman for the ALF in the UK, has attended and addressed SHAC conferences in the U.S., announcing: "We'll sweep Huntingdon Life Sciences aside, and we'll raze this evil place right to the ground."
According to Keith Mann, described by The Guardian as a "senior figure" within the ALF, a government clampdown on legal protest against HLS means "all that is left to them is extremism". He commented after a May 26, 2005 warning was posted on the ALF website: "A new era has dawned for those who fund the abusers ... If you support or raise funds for any company connected with Huntingdon Life Sciences we will track you down, come for you and destroy your property with fire." The warning coincided with the ALF firebombing of a car belonging to the finance director of, Canaccord Capital, a brokerage firm. Members of SHAC defended the bombing, suggesting the company acted as brokers for Phytopharm, which had used HLS for contract testing.
The ALF continued to target individuals associated with HLS throughout 2006. On August 17, 2006 Donald Currie was charged with a number of fire bombing offenses, leading police to describe him as an "active bomber for the Animal Liberation Front" who may be responsible for "eight or nine" other similar crimes targeting HLS. In December 2006 Currie was jailed for 12 years for the crimes. On its web site SHAC encourages supporters to help Currie, and other jailed ALF activists, explaining: "write a letter now, help them whilst they are in there, it could be you!"
"Dangerous activists are moving freely between these groups, money is changing hands and the threat is escalating," David Martosko, spokesman for the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) — a lobby group that campaigns against a number of animal rights organisatitions — told The Observer in August 2004. The FBI suspects that British SHAC activists are being bankrolled by groups and individuals in the U.S.
Effects of campaign on HLS and its customers
The campaign has reportedly had a major impact on HLS's business deals, share price, and profits. The SHAC website maintains a list of companies, 166 (June 2005) up to 272 (06/July/2006), that they claim have severed business ties with HLS. The British Department of Trade and Industry had to insure HLS because all previous insurers had abandoned them after being targeted by SHAC.
- Shareholders published
- In 2000, SHAC obtained a list of HLS shareholders. The list included the names of beneficial owners: anonymous individuals and companies who bought shares using the name of a third party. Shareholders included the pension funds of the Labour Party, Rover cars, and the London Borough of Camden. The Labour Party sold its 75,000 shares in January 2000. The list was passed to the Sunday Telegraph, which published it on December 3, 2000, and several beneficial owners disposed of their shares. Two weeks later, an equity stake of 32 million shares was placed on the London Stock Exchange for one penny each. HLS quotes crashed immediately. The Royal Bank of Scotland closed HLS's bank account and the British government arranged for the state-owned Bank of England to give them an account. The British Banking Association said "Huntingdon Life Sciences are in a nightmare situation," (Huntingdon Life Sciences, financial report 2002).
- Dropped from NYSE
- On December 21, 2000, HLS was dropped from the New York Stock Exchange because of its share collapse: its market capitalization had fallen below NYSE limits and the NYSE did not accept HLS's revised business plan. On March 29, 2001, HLS lost both of its market makers and its place on the main platform of the London Stock Exchange.
- Move to the U.S.
- Because of SHAC's use of public records to threaten HLS investors, HLS moved its financial centre to the United States and incorporated in Maryland as Life Sciences Research, Inc., in order to take advantage of stricter U.S. securities laws, which allow greater anonymity of shareholders.
- Saved from banktruptcy
- HLS was saved from bankruptcy when its largest shareholder, American investment bank Stephens, Inc, gave the company a $15-million loan. SHAC supporters reacted by targeting Stephens, Inc. HLS's position remains unstable, as is shown by their $87.5-million debt and by documents leaked to SHAC.
- In June 2005, a Vancouver-based brokerage announced that it had dropped a client, Phytopharm PLC, in response to the May 2005 ALF firebombing of a car belonging to Canaccord executive Michael Kendall. The ALF stated on its website that activists placed an "incendiary device" under the car, which was in Kendall's garage at home when it caught fire during the night. Kendall and his family went into hiding. The brokerage, Canaccord Capital Corp., stated that it was not "worth risking its employees' lives" to do business with a company "targeted by animal rights extremists". Phytopharm was targeted, as were those doing business with it, because it had business links with HLS. The ALF warned Phytopharm to stay away from HLS or "see your share price crash and your supporters' property go up in flames."
- Carr Securities withdraws
- Carr Securities announced it had withdrawn from making a market in HLS shares after a New York yacht club was covered in red paint by the U.S. branch of the ALF, because members of the club worked for Carr Securities, which traded in HLS shares. The ALF announced on its bulletin board: "Let this be a message to any other company who chooses to court HLS in their ... entrance into the NYSE. If you trade in LSR shares, make a market, process orders, or purchase shares you can expect far worse treatment. The message is simple, don't touch HLS!" On October 26, 2005, Testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works by John Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director Federal Bureau of Investigation Oversight on Eco-terrorism included statements that in September, "Carr Securities began marketing the Huntingdon Life Sciences stock. The next day, the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, to which certain Carr executives reportedly belong, was vandalized by animal rights activists. The extremists sent a claim of responsibility to the SHAC website, and three days after the incident, Carr terminated its business relationship with HLS. These are just some of the examples of SHAC’s use of threats and violence to financially strangle HLS and permanently mar its public image. These examples demonstrate some of the difficulties law enforcement faces in combating acts of extremism and domestic terrorism. Extremists are very knowledgeable about the letter of the law and the limits of law enforcement. The SHAC website has a page devoted to instructing activists on how to behave toward law enforcement officers, how to deal with interrogations, and what to say — and not say — if they are arrested."
- NYSE listing postponed
- On September 7, 2005, the New York stock exchange asked Life Sciences Research, the name HLS is trading under in the U.S., to delay its listing. The company has been listed on the junior OTC bulletin board since its move out of the UK. The NYSE offered no reason for the delay.
- GlaxoSmithKline targeted
- A posting on the website Bite Back on September 7, 2005 said that the ALF had carried out an attack on the home of Paul Blackburn, the corporate controller of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Buckinghamshire, because GSK is a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences. The activists admitted to detonating a device containing two litres of fuel and four pounds of explosives on the doorstep of Blackburn's home, causing minor damage.
- HLS can no longer trade on OTCBB
- On February 4, 2006, activist pressure resulted in HLS losing its only listed market maker, Legacy Trading. As a result of this, the company can no longer trade on the OTC Bulletin Board.
- GlaxoSmithKline small investors targeted
- In May 2006, an anonymous group said it would be writing to every one of GlaxoSmithKline's 170,000 small investors warning them to sell their shares, as part of the campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences. The letters began arriving at investors' home addresses on May 7, 2006, asking that shares be sold within 14 days, and that the group should be informed of the sale by e-mail via a hotmail address. It added: "We will be checking that you have done this. The choice is yours." The number of letters sent was much smaller than was claimed, reports suggesting "at least 50" shareholders received the warning. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph the following week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed support for animal experimentation in the face of an "appalling...campaign of intimidation."
Criticism and legal action
SHAC has been cricitized for condoning or encouraging violence. Activists may use the information published by SHAC, which includes names and details of people and organization deemed to be targets, to cause criminal damage; for example, those associated with HLS often have their cars damaged by paint-stripper.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) included SHAC in its fall 2002 Intelligence Report. In an article entitled "From Push to Shove," the SPLC described SHAC's modus operandi as "frankly terroristic tactics similar to those of anti-abortion extremists." Kevin Jonas, the leader of SHAC-USA told the Intelligence Report: "There's a very famous quote by John F. Kennedy. If you make peaceful revolution impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable."
British government response
On July 30, 2004, the British government released a paper called "Animal Welfare — Human Rights: protecting people from animal rights extremists." The paper describes what the British government sees as the benefits of medical research, which it argues would not be possible without animal studies; estimates the commercial value of the bio-medical industry in the UK; asserts its concern for the welfare of animals; asserts that all steps to replace the use of animals have been and will continue to be taken; defines 'animal-rights extremists' as those engaged in harassment and intimidation, not seeking civil discourse; says that it listens to law-abiding animal rights and welfare groups and enacts legislation where appropriate — for example, RSPCA officers now have the power to investigate animal abuse claims on the spot, and the LD50 test was permanently banned in the UK after peaceful, lawful lobbying by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection; reviews the existing laws used to prosecute what it calls animal-rights extremists; proposes new legislation and amendments to existing legislation.
Injunctions, convictions, and legislation
Several companies targeted by SHAC have obtained High Court injunctions against SHAC under the Protection From Harassment Act. These include HLS itself, Chiron UK, Phytopharm, Daiichi UK, Asahi Glass, Eisai, Yamanouchi Pharma, Sankyo Pharma, and BOC. The injunctions compel SHAC to print the injunction on their website, so that SHAC's action targets are juxtaposed with a legal notification that there is a 50-yard exclusion zone around the homes of employees and places of business. Protest outside HLS itself may only occur one day a week with a police presence.
These injunctions are not permanent. HLS tried but failed to obtain a permanent injunction against SHAC, which represented itself, on June 26, 2004. SHAC's argument against the enforceability of such injunctions was that, despite having hundreds of supporters, a website, mailing address, telephone information hotline, mailing list, and bank account, it does not exist as a corporate or charitable body, and therefore cannot prevent its supporters from taking action against HLS.
Tim Lawson-Cruttenden, lawyer for HLS, has explored another legal avenue to hold SHAC financially accountable. HLS sought £205,000 in damages from the owner of a property SHAC used as a mailing address, for the costs incurred in its harassment suit, or the forfeit of the property in lieu.
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
The law prohibits any criminal or tortious "act or threat" designed to harm an animal research organisation "intended or likely" to cause someone "to terminate any contract", to "not to enter into a contract" or "not to perform any contractual obligation owed by" it. The law also created the offence of intimidating any person connected to an animal research organization (including inter alia employees and their families, students of establishments conducting such research, investors, suppliers, landlords). Sentences of up to five years can be imposed for offences under the Act. Further provisions were added to create the offence of harassing someone outside his home, for any reason,  as a response to SHAC members who engaged in tactics such as setting off loud rape alarms in the middle of the night outside the home of persons connected to HLS. 
The first person to be convicted under the Act was Joseph Harris, a doctor of molecular biology, who attacked property owned by companies supplying building materials, refrigeration servicing and testing equipment to HLS.  He received a three-year sentence.
In March 2007, three SHAC activists were jailed under the Act for a campaign of intimidation against suppliers of HLS. One supplier dropped its contract with HLS after being invaded by demonstrators wearing skull masks. 
On March 3, 2006, a federal jury in Trenton, New Jersey convicted six members of SHAC of "terrorism and Internet stalking," according to the New York Times, finding them guilty of using their website to "incite attacks" on those who did business with HLS. In September 2006, the so-called "SHAC 7" received jail sentences of 3 to 6 years.
Originally, seven individuals were charged, along with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA. The individuals were Kevin Kjonaas (former president of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA), Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Joshua Harper, Andrew Stepanian, Darius Fullmer, and John McGee. McGee was later dropped from the case.
The defendants were charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, in the first application of the 1992 statute. Kjonaas, Gazzola, Conroy, and Harper were also charged with conspiracy to harass using a telecommunications device (sending black faxes). Kjonaas, Gazzola, Conroy, and SHAC USA were charged with conspiracy to commit interstate stalking and three counts of interstate stalking via the Internet. The case first went to trial in June 2005, but ended in a mistrial when one of the key defense attorneys fell ill during the opening statement. It resumed on February 6, 2006. The defense of the SHAC 7 rested largely on the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that political speech is legal unless it can be shown that a defendant has told specific individuals to commit specific, imminent acts of violence. On March 3, 2006, the defendants were convicted and sentenced to an aggregate of 24 years in prison, and ordered to pay a joint restitution of $1,000,001.00.
In February 2007, a number of SHAC supporters were charged with illegal street collecting without a licence.  According to the Metropolitan Police, two stalls in London's Oxford Street collected over £80,000/year. The police said that the money is "untraceable and not accountable," and could be funding "criminality or the lifestyle of full time extreme activists." Police said that animal lovers were encouraged to sign petitions that were never sent anywhere as a pretext for their fundraising activities.
Arrest of the Averys
On May 1, 2007, after a series of raids involving 700 police officers in England, Amsterdam, and Belgium, 32 people linked to SHAC were arrested, including Greg and Natasha Avery, who were refused bail. Twelve of those arrested were charged with blackmail. 
- Green Scare
- International trade in primates
- Non-human primate experiments
- Pamelyn Ferdin
- Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty photographs.
- Alleyne, Richard. "Terror tactics that brought a company to its knees", The Daily Telegraph, January 19, 2001.
- "A controversial laboratory", BBC News, January 18, 2001.
- "New bill clamps down on animal activist activity", Drug Researcher, November 17, 2006.
- 2006 APHIS Report for Huntingdon Life Sciences
- "From push to shove" Southern Poverty Law Group Intelligence Report, Fall 2002.
- "Diaries of despair", xenodiaries.org, Uncaged Campaigns, retrieved June 18, 2006. A report about the transplanation of pig hearts and kidneys onto the necks, abdomens, and chests of monkeys and baboons captured from the wild. The experiments were carried out by Imutran Ltd, a subsidiary of Novartis Pharma AG, in conjunction with Cambridge University. They took place at Huntingdon Life Sciences.
- Townsend, Mark. "Exposed: secrets of the animal organ lab", The Observer, April 20, 2003.
- "It's a Dog's Life" (1997), Countryside Undercover, Channel Four Television, UK.
- Doward, Jamie & Townsend, Mark. "Beauty and the beasts", The Observer, August 1, 2004.
- Laville, Sandra & Campbell, Duncan. "Animal rights extremists in arson spree", The Guardian, June 25, 2005.
- SHAC World Day for Lab Animals, Indymedia Cambridge. 19 April, 2004
- Doward, Jamie. "Sex and violence allegations split animal rights campaign", The Observer, April 11, 2004.
- "Red in Tooth and Law".
- Laville, Sandra. [http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/sciences/story/0,12243,1271535,00.html "I won't give up until I die"], The Guardian, July 29, 2004.
- "Animal Rights Trio Jailed For Grandma Attack", July 25, 2006.
- "Childcare group warned of 'hell'", BBC News, September 29, 2005
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- SHAC Disclaimer
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- "Animal rights activists convicted of affray", National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, July 26, 2006.
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- Money talks June 1, 2006
- Lab firm ditched by share brokers 28 Marcy 2001
- Dumped Huntingdon
- Quantum Analytics: Drop HLS
- When threats turn to firebombs, Canaccord cuts loose on client June 24, 2005
- Huntingdon delays listing after attacks September 8, 2005
- Animal rights activists tell drug firm's small investors to sell up or else May 9, 2006
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- Case History of the SHAC 7
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- Max Gastone 
- SHAC website
- Undercover video footage of apparent animal abuse shot inside HLS by SHAC.
- Undercover video footage of HLS employees beating a puppy, filmed at the Huntingdon Research Centre, England. Size: 8.6 megabytes. Format: MPEG
- Undercover video footage of HLS employees apparently dissecting a live monkey, filmed at the HLS Princeton Research Centre, NJ, USA. Size: 5.8 megabytes. Format: Quicktime Movie.
- "Inside HLS" describes five undercover investigations into HLS between 1989 and 2001
- Video and photo gallery of animal abuse, a website set up by SHAC
- Huntingdon Life Sciences an article by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)
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