Should Pharma Firms Bear Costs of Police Protection?

The Times (UK) reported in February that the cost of policing animal rights protests over the last 5 years has been roughly 10 million pounds. The Times also suggested that the government was investigating the possibility of having the companies being protested pick up some of that 10 million pound tab.

According to The Times, Cambridgeshire police alone spent 5.4 million pounds and 400,000 man hours protecting Huntingdon Life Sciences and its staff over the past five years.

As far as charging the targets of the activists for this protection, the Times claimed that,

Discussions were under way between the Home Office, industry executives and police forces about whether companies should pay something towards the vast policing bill.

This would certainly follow the already-established pattern for the Labor government. First, openly court the animal rights movement. Second, ignore for years the increasing number of violent attacks against the industry. Then, finally, compensate for that laissez faire policy by seeking compensation from the victims of such violence.


Animal protest costs Pounds 10m over five years. Nicola Woolcock, The Times Online, February 28, 2005.

Sarah Gisborne Receives 6 1/2 Years for UK Animal Rights Attacks

Animal rights extremist Sarah Gisborne was sentenced in February to six-and-a-half years in jail after pleading guilty to causing criminal damage.

Gisborne caused an estimated Pound 40,000 in damages in five attacks on the automobiles and homes of individuals associated in one way or another with Huntingdon Life Sciences in the July 2004.

Gisborne was caught after one of her attacks was captured on a security camera which police used to identify the rental car she used.

This is not Gisborne’s first arrest or time spent in jail. She has been arrested 9 times for animal rights-related offenses, and spent time in jail twice, including for an attack on the home of Huntingdon Life Sciences’ director Brian Cass.

At least one of the homes was spray painted with “ALF,” but Grisborne has been very active in another group — Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. As Brian Cass noted in commenting on the verdict, this is yet more evidence that SHAC engages in violent extremism. Cass told The Hunts Post,

I’m delighted that the court treated this offence with the seriousness which it deserves and I hope that this will serve as a lesson to other people who are similarly conspiring to harm the medical research community. Sarah Gisborne has been a very close associate to the leaders of SHAC for many years – they surely now cannot expect anyone to believe that they have nothing to do with criminal damage.

Along with the jail time, Gisborne is banned from coming within 500 meters of Huntingdon Life Sciences or Yamanouchi or contacting any of its staff for two years after her release, and is also banned from driving for three years after her arrest.


Animal protester jailed for attacks. February 26, 2005.

HLS activist gets six years. Amanda Breen, The Hunts Post, March 2, 2005.

Columnist Provides Interesting Look at Animal Rights Activist Ariel Swan Greenspun Gale

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Jane Ann Morrison recently wrote an interesting look at California animal rights activist Ariel Swan Greenspun Gale.

As Morrison notes, the 23-year-old Gale is a member of the wealthy Las Vegas Greenspun family, and recently purchased a $1 million home in California. When she was arrested on a trespassing and disturbing the piece charges at an animal rights protest, however, she demanded a public defender. The public defender negotiated a plea bargain for her which resulted in a sentence of community service, but when Gale never bothered to show up in court to enter that plea, a bench warrant for her arrest was issued.

Gale has been a part of Last Chance for Animal’s protests against the family of Mitchell Lardner in Monrovia, which this site has covered in detail. Lardner is a manager at Sumitomo Corporation, which has been targeted by animal rights activists due to its ties with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Protests at Lardner’s home have involved threats and someone chucking a brick in the face of an off-duty police officer that the Lardner’s had hired as a security guard.

Like many activists, Gale is willing to threaten others, but carefully hides for fear of being targeted herself. Morrison writes,

Third, she has no qualms about standing outside a private home chanting the threat: “For the animals we will fight! We know where you sleep at night.” Yet she asked me not to reveal her address. (She said she has been threatened and didn’t want people to know where she lives).

. . .

Gale was one of the protesters who stood outside Lardner’s home May 23 and chanted, “Hey, Mitchell, what you say? How many animals died today?”

As police stood by, one protester yelled, “Your police aren’t always going to be here.” Lest this sound like an empty threat, on May 29 an off-duty police officer hired to protect the Lardner home was struck in the face with a brick, breaking his jaw, said Monrovia police Detective Rob Wilken.

Ah, those ever-compassionate activists.


Arrogant words and deeds of animal activist beastly. Jane Ann Morrison, Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 3, 2005.

Oh That Sinister Huntingdon Life Sciences and Its Super-Secret Front Groups

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty circulated an amusing release in early January supposedly exposing a secret effort by Huntingdon Life Sciences to hide a clinical research division.

The SHAC press release said, in part (emphasis added),

Now present before our eyes is what can only be seen as Huntingdon’s most desperate last bid for corporate survival. Hidden behind another name is the emerging clinical division to the lab. Life Sciences Research In, the name Huntingdon took when it was forced to relocated [sic] and re-incorporate in the US consists of TWO divisions, the infamous animal testing services we all sadly know too much about, and the newer and very quiet non-animal clinical testing services.

As the clinical laboratory arm to Huntingdon Life Sciences, Centralabs actively recruits much needed business to the lab in areas it could not previously compete for. With Centralabs HLS can now offer simple analytical work, specisimen management, investigator support services, and demographic clean-up. Huntingdon is banking on these abilities to corner the market on Phase I – IV research, consolidate pharmaceutical support, and essentially secure its uncertain future.

Centralabs is one and the same with Huntingdon. They share the same facilities, employees, phone lines, and payroll. They share the same vulnerabilities and ultimately the same destiny. Huntingdon’s survival largely depends on the success of the sales of their new clinical division.

This week we track down the secret asset to HLS’s survival and give them a proper SHAC-style welcome to the campaign. Trying to sell the dark services of HLS we must compassionately root out their marketing ploy.

First, if HLS has attempted to hide its relationship to Centralabs it has certainly done the worst job ever at secrecy. On Centralabs’ website, the company notes (emphasis added)

Who we are

CentraLabs Clinical Research is an emerging force supporting global drug development in the pharmaceutical industry. Part of the Life Sciences Research group of companies, CentraLabs has evolved from the clinical laboratory services arm of one of the world’s longest established CROs. This has allowed CentraLabs to utilise its extensive analytical experience to provide focused and dedicated support to all stages of clinical drug development.

That’s one secret front group.

Secondly, I laughed out loud at SHAC’s claim that with Centralabs HLS hopes “to corner the market on Phase I – IV research.” Only idiots who know nothing about medical research could make such a bizarre claim. The contract research organization is huge — on the order of as much as $10-$20 billion worldwide depending on whose figures you believe. The idea that a single company could corner the market on such research is ludicrous.

Its even more ludicrous to suggest that HLS could corner the market given that it is a relatively small company (one of the reasons SHAC has focused on it). HLS has a very good quarter when it books $40 million or more in new sales, as it did recently. Compare that to a CRO like Covance which has a good quarter when it books more than $300 million in new sales.

Presumably if SHAC opens up an office in a new state, we should assume that’s an effort to corner the market on animal rights idiocy.


Urgent Action Alert. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, January 9, 2005.

Huntingdon Life Sciences Business and Stock Price Soars

The other day I was catching up on reading an animal rights discussion list in which someone had posted a notice that some small company or another with some tangential relationship to Huntingdon Life Sciences had severed ties with the company after animal rights extremists started harassing it. Some newbie activist was apparently thrilled at this news and sent a reply that, obviously, activists must be close to shutting down HLS and they just needed that last extra push to finish the job.

The reality is a bit different. At the end of October, HLS filed its third quarter report which showed fantastic results for the company,

Net revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2004 were $40.9 million, an increase of 24.9% on net revenues of $32.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2003. Excluding the effect of exchange rate movements, the increase was 13.4%. UK net revenues increased by 30.0%; at constant exchange rates the increase was 15.2%. In the US, net revenues increased by 7.9%. Net new orders for the three months ended September 30, 2004 at constant exchange rates, were 31% above the same period last year. This growth in net new orders, which was particularly strong from the pharmaceutical industry, coming on top of the high level of orders taken in the first two quarters, have fed through into revenues in the quarter, but has been partly offset by a decline in non-pharmaceutical business.

. . .

Basic income per common share was 15 cents, compared to 3 cents last year on the weighted average common shares outstanding of 12,165,643 (2003: 11,932,338).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and other income/(expense) (“EBITDA”) was $7.0 million for the third quarter of 2004, or 17.0% of revenues, compared with $3.9 million, or 11.9% of revenues for the same period in the prior year.

. . .

Net revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2004 were $116.4 million, an increase of 19.7% on net revenues of $97.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2003. Excluding the effect of exchange rate movements, the increase was 8.6%. UK net revenues increased by 22.4%; at constant exchange rates the increase was 8.3%. In the US, net revenues increased by 9.9%. Net new orders for the nine months ended September 30, 2004 at constant exchange rates were 29% above the same period last year. This growth in net new orders, which was particularly strong from the pharmaceutical industry, has fed through into revenues in the nine months, but has been partly offset by a decline in non-pharmaceutical business.

While the activists seem to think they are still close to shutting down HLS after years of trying, shares in the company reached a high on November 24 of $9.75/share, after trading for less than $3 for most of the past two years since the company moved to trading in the United States.

So all of the animal rights harassment and terrorism can’t even bring down a small contract research company.


Form 10-Q for LIFE SCIENCES RESEARCH INC. October 29, 2004.


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.