In August, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry issued a press release saying that the number of attacks by animal rights activists were down in the first half of 2005 compared to 2004, but that the organization is concerned by a number of extremely dangerous attempted attacks earlier this year.
According to the ABPI, there were just two cases of damage to company property by animal rights activists through June 2005, compared to 29 such incidents during the same period in 2004.
Attacks on private property of pharmaceutical company employees was also down, from 56 in the first half of 2004 to just 35 instances in the first half of 2005.
The ABPI credits new efforts by the British government to crack down on violent animal rights extremism.
ABPI director of science and technology Philip Wright said in a press release,
However, the figures indicate that Government’s commitment to tackling the problem of extremism is starting to pay off, and we hope that both the commitment and the drop in incidents continue. At the same time, the number of legal demonstrations has remained at the same level, so the right of people to protest in normal, democratic ways has not been compromised.
But the organization is still concerned by two incidents earlier this year in which bombs were left at the homes of individuals connected with the pharmaceutical industry. Wright said,
While the reduction in the number of incidents is welcome, it is disturbing that, in some cases we are seeing more aggressive attacks taking place. In particular, we are seeing cases where incendiary devices have been attached to cars, which is a very worrying change of tactics.
Fewer violent protests. Heather Tomlinson, The Guardian, August 2, 2005.
Fewer but more aggressive animal extremist attacks recorded. Press Release, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, August 2, 2005.
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