The British media, in general, does a horrible job of covering the animal rights movement. Is it really asking too much, for example, for reporters to actually know a bit of background on the groups and individuals they are covering?

On November 18, for example, the BBC ran a bland profile of SHAC headlined “How animal rights took on the world.” The profile contains numerous quotes from Greg Avery saying SHAC has focused on companies because,

“Businessmen don’t care about ethics; all they care about is profit. They don’t make ethical decisions; they make financial ones. So we turn it into a financial decision — we will hit you where it hurts and that’s hitting you in the pocket.”

The BBC profile incredibly continues claiming that,

For all of the sophistication of the movement [??] they are well aware that if arguments and legal pressure fail there is always illegal intimidation. The SHAC campaign says it is against all such tactics but some nasty things have happened to companies it has named and shamed on its website.

Would it have reporters Simon Cox and Richard Vadon to note that SHAC’s three primary organizers, Avery, his ex-wife Heather James, and current wife Natasha Avery, were all sentenced to six months in jail in 2001 after they plead guilty to conspiring to incite a public nuisance. The three published newsletters that published personal details of various individuals associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences and urged readers to commit a number of illegal acts, such as order goods on behalf of the individuals in an effort to harm their credit ratings.

Nor is it true that SHAC has simply named companies and individuals. It has a long history of posting personal information along with clear threats such as “smash them.”

One thing those of us opposed to the animal rights movement must do is make these links clear. Every time Neal Barnard or someone else from Physicians Committee for Medical Research pops up with a press release, for example, the Center for Consumer Freedom quickly responds with a press release noting that PCRM is simply a PETA front. This is clearly annoying Barnard and company, but more importantly it typically leads to followups (as it did recently over PCRM’s airport food ratings) in which reporters and newspapers admit they were had and concede that PCRM is simply another name for PETA. That sort of sustained effort will eventually suck the oxygen out of media efforts of groups like PCRM.

There are two other interesting quotes from the BBC profile. First, Avery admits to what is widely believed in anti-animal rights circles. If SHAC should succeed in closing down Huntingdon Life Sciences, it would simply be the first salvo in an all out war against animal enterprises. The BBC quotes Avery as saying,

We won’t just go on to another company [after HLS falls]. We will go on to a whole area of animal abuse. And look to knock out big chunks — puppy farming, factory farming, circuses and zoos. All these could be finished. We’re becoming bigger, even more intelligent and even more determined not just to take companies down but to finish whole areas of animal abuse.

Finally, the BBC quotes National Animal Interest Alliance chief Patti Strand as giving the UK a tongue lashing for allowing a viable animal rights extremist movement to gather steam and take hold. The BBC quotes Strand as saying,

We view the United Kingdom as the Afghanistan for the growth of animal rights extremism throughout the world. The animal rights movement that we are dealing with in the United States is a direct import from the United Kingdom.



How animal rights took on the world. Simon Cox and Richard Vadon, The BBC, November 18, 2004.

SHAC's Lunatic Delusions about UK Injunctions

Courts in Great Britain have granted Huntingdon Life Sciences and some of its affiliates temporary injunctions over the past few months, and the High Court there is now considering whether to make those injunctions permanent.

Four Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty Activists — Greg and Natasha Avery, Heather James and Claire Percy — have asked for a trial before the court on whether or not the injunctions should be made permanent, while Huntingdon Life Sciences argued that the trial was unnecessary. Mr. Justice Mackay ruled that the issue should go to trial for resolution.

In making the ruling, according to a Press Association account,

Mr. Justice Mackay said that he believed the claimants, HLS and Mr. Cass had a “formidable” case and one which appeared likely to proceed, but he was not satisfied there was no real prospect of a successful defence for the four defendants.

Based on that reasoning, Greg Avery declared that HLS had suffered a “spectacular” failure and told the Press Association (emphasis added),

The judge has recognized that SHAC is now a peaceful organization. The temporary injunctions were granted on the basis of unchallenged evidence. We shall now have our day in court.

Aside from Avery’s delusional reading of Mackay’s ruling, it is interesting that Avery said that SHAC is now a peaceful organization. Of course anyone can see that SHAC has been a violent organization in the past, and by now a peaceful organization, Avery apparently meant for the length of time it took him to finish that sentence.

As for those covered by the temporary injunction who did not challenge the proceedings, Mackay made permanent the injunction against six individual defendants and London Animal Action.


Animal rights protesters given go-ahead to challenge harassment injunction. Cathy Gordon, Press Association News, May 26, 2004.

British Judge Grants Anti-SHAC Injunction for Emerson Development

In January a High Court judge in Great Britain granted Emerson Developments an injunction against several animal rights groups and individuals that will restrict how and where the activists can protest against Emerson Developments and its employees.

Emerson is a property company that has been targeted by activists because it leases property in the UK to Japanese firm Yamanouchi. Yamanouchi, in turn, is a major customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences. According to the Financial Times, 19 Emerson directors were sent letters purportedly from the Animal Rights Militia accusing them of “swimming in the blood of innocent animals” and threatening “violent retribution” if Emerson does not end its relationship with Yamanouchi.

Named in the injunction were the Animal Rights Militia, the Animal Liberation Front, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty as well as SHAC activists Greg Avery, Natasha Avery, and Heather James.

For its part, SHAC issued a statement claiming,

Following legal advice, the three defendants and SHAC wish to clarify that these companies are not, and never have been, targets of the SHAC campaign or of interest to the three named defendants.


Judge puts curbs on Huntingdon activists. Nikki Tait, The Financial Times (London), January 27, 2004.

SHAC, The Alf, The Animal Rights Militia And Yamanouchi’S Landlords – SHAC Statement. Press Release, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, January 24, 2004.

Legislation used to contain protesters. Tiesenhausen Cave, The Financial Times (London), January 28, 2004.

SHAC Activist Receives Suspended Sentence in Japan

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activist Dawn Hurst was sentenced to a three-year prison sentence that the judge in the case then suspended for five years.

Hurst, 31, is a British citizen who was convicted of stealing a dog and dozens of videotapes from research laboratories in Japan between 2001 and 2002.

Unfortunately, Judge Satoshi Shibayama apparently fell hook, line and sinker for Hurst’s repentance routine, explaining he suspended her sentence because she had sincerely repented of her crimes.

Hurst, of course, was only arrested because she travelled to Japan in April with other SHAC activists to protest at a pharmaceutical trade show being held there.

It’s amazing that they were able to convict Hurst at all since, according to statements at the time of her arrest by SHAC spokeswoman Heather James, Hurst never actually committed any crime,

Hundreds of animals are poisoned to death every day at Huntingdon Life Sciences on behalf of their Japanese customers. Dawn’s only alleged ‘crime’ is to expose this animal abuse while the real criminals such as Daiichi, CBC, Yamanouchi and Sumitomo continue to profit from the torture of animals at HLS. We demand her immediate release.


UK shock tactics repel animal-rights activists in Japan. DAVID CYRANOSKI, Nature, 424, 119, July 10, 2003.

UK animal rights activist sentenced in Japan. China Daily, August 25, 2003.

Cops doggedly pursue animal activist. June 30, 2003.

SHAC Campaigner Arrested In Japan! Press Release, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, April 17, 2003.

British SHAC Office Allegedly Raided

Over the weekend the following message was posted to an animal rights e-mail list. So far, however, there is no independent confirmation of this.

News just in – The SHAC offices in England, were raided earlier today [Friday 4th October]. Five computers were stolen by the police. Greg [Avery] and Heather [James] were arrested and taken into police custody. Greg has since been released but Heather remains in police custody. Donations are needed to replace stolen property,so that SHAC can continue their work to close down the animal torturers at Huntingdon Life Science. This is just another tactic on the part of the authorities to distrupt SHAC operations. The one consolation that can be gained from such actions is: if SHAC weren’t having an effect, the authorities wouldn’t be using such tactics. Postal Address: SHAC
c/o Lynn Sawyer
6 Boat Lane
WR11 4BP / UK Telephone: 0845 458 0630 Email: [email protected] MORE NEWS UPDATE AS WE RECEIVE IT


The SHAC offices in England were raided Friday, October 4th. E-mail Communication, October 5, 2002.

Great Britain Grants Early Release to Anti-HLS Activists

After all of this talk recently from UK government officials about how they are prepared to get tough with animal rights activists who cross the line, The Financial Times reports that in fact two animal rights activists sentenced to six months in jail for a campaign of harassment were released early several weeks ago.

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists Greg Avery, 35, Natasha Taylor, 33, and Heather James, 34, plead guilty for their campaign of harassment against people who were associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences. The trio published a newsletter that was distributed to 5,000 to 10,000 people that listed the names, phone numbers and addresses of individuals. The newsletter urged people to falsely order products to be delivered to targets in order to harm their credit rating. They also advocated phone blockades against banks, letter campaigns directed at individuals and other actions.

At their sentencing, Judge Zoe Smith told the three that, “The effect was to cause stress and strain. Witnesses have spoken of feeling violated and frightened and ill and it is clear you were aware of the effect and the stress they suffered.”

But the BioIndustry Association is warning that activists will get the message that they will be let off easy for such violations after it was revealed that Avery and James were released early a few weeks ago. According to The Financial Times they were ordered to wear electronic tags and not talk to the press.

New legislation has been enacted in Great Britain, but BioIndustry Association deputy chief executive Aisling Burnand told The Financial Times, “It is too early to say if it was enough. Seven people have been put behind bars and there is a feeling the campaign has run out of steam, but that could change.”

The Financial Times quoted SHAC as saying that the idea that their campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences had lost steam was “rubbish.” The Times quoted SHAC as saying,

We have been targeting financial backers of HLS, not just the pharmaceuticals companies. That is the only reason we’re less visible to the industry. They’ll never stop us. We’ll get worse and worse.

Well, at least the last sentence there is certainly true.


Drug companies warn of animal rights protests. David Firn and Patrick Jenkins, The Financial Times (London), April 23, 2002.