Sunday Times Claims Wealthy UK Developer Is Linked to Animal Rights Extremists

The Sunday Times filed a story on March 13 claiming that one James Gorman, 57, is linked to extremist animal rights activists in the United Kingdom.

According to the Times, Gorman made his fortune as a property developer and now spends his time giving lectures on the benefits of vegan diets. The Times quotes Gorman as saying he has committed “direct action” attacks in the past and carried out surveillance for other activists planning such attacks.

The Times quotes Gorman as saying,

I’ve rescued animals — no problem at all . . . I have been involved with surveillance, undercover work. . . . The ALF are freedom fighters fighting the terrorists who are terrorizing the animals.

According to the Times, Gorman is a “nutritional adviser” to the UK’s Vegan Prisoners Support Group whose mission is “to fight for the daily rights of vegan animal rights prisoners whilst being detained in prison establishments.”

The Times claims that Gorman is in regular contact with UK animal rights extremists Keith Mann, Greg Avery, and Natasha Avery.

Gorman tells The Times that he plans to leave about 1 million pounds to animal rights groups when he dies, but that he won’t be donating it to groups like Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty out of concerns that the government will seize any such donations.

Its worth noting that The Times uses an extremely deceptive headline for its story, which reads (emphasis added), “Vegan bodybuilder funds animal extremists.” But there is not a single sentence in the story which backs up this claim. The only mention of Gorman’s providing funds to the movement is related to his will, with Gorman telling The Times that, “My money is left in my will, and I’ve left over Pounds 1 million” to animal rights groups. The article contains nothing about whether or not Gorman is currently funding animal rights groups in the UK. Perhaps The Times should require that its editors actually read its articles before writing the headlines.


Vegan bodybuilder funds animal extremists. Nick Fielding and Gareth Walsh, The Sunday Times, March 13, 2005.


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.

Activists Falsely Accuse Emerson Employees of Being Pedophiles

Animal rights activists are the suspected culprit in actions across Great Britain in which leaflets falsely describing employees of Emerson Developments Holdings as pedophiles were distributed and a number of attacks on the homes of Emerson employees were carried out.

The Runcorn Weekly News reported on one such effort,

In Runcorn, one of the worst affected areas was Norton, where posters were plastered all over a phone box ‘naming and shaming’ a local resident — a man who police stress is not under suspicion of any crime — and encouraging people to confront him with these allegations.

The police spokesman said enquiries had revealed the ‘wholly false and uncorroborated’ claims were being made against individuals known to be targeted by animal rights group SHAC — but stressed that none of those named had any connection with the animal research industry.

About the same time, more than a dozen of Emerson’s directors had their homes and cars attacked. Activists covered cars in paint stripper and slashed tires. According to the Runcorn Weekly News,

Ninenteen Emerson directors are believed to have received threatening letters accusing them of “swimming in the blood of innocent animals” and threatening “violent retribution” if the property firm did not comply with their demands. Emerson are still Yamanouchi’s landlords.

Yamanouchi, of course, contracts some animal research out to Huntingdon Life Sciences.

SHAC spokesperson Natasha Avery tried to distance SHAC from the actions, especially since there is still a legal injunction against SHAC limiting where and how it can protest against Emerson. The Macclesfield Express quoted Avery as saying (emphasis added),

There is a campaign being waged by the ALF and the Animal Rights Militia against Emerson because of their involvement with Yamanouchi. There have been a huge number of attacks, things like turning up in the middle of the night and pouring paint stripper on cards and around the place. However it is important to differentiate between SHAC and the other groups. We are a legitimate organization who only use peaceful and lawful forms of protest. Cheshire police have linked us to this crime and we are going to be talking to our lawyers.

SHAC only uses peaceful and lawful forms of protest? This is the same Natasha Avery who in 2002, then going by Natasha Taylor, was sentenced to six months in jail and six months probation for illegally harassing Huntingdon Life Sciences employees. Avery’s modus operandi there was the same as those who distributed and mailed the leaflets accusing Emerson employees of being pedophiles,

[Natasha Avery and two others produced] newsletters [that] published telephone numbers and addresses of people associated with HLS, and urged people to arrange to order unwanted goods to be delivered to people’s homes in order to harm their credit rating. They also urged phone blockades against banks and a persistent letter campaign directed at employees.

The Macclesfield Express also carried a lengthy statement from Sir Nicholas Winterton, who is Macclesfield’s Member of Parliament and a non-executive director of Emerson’s overseas activities,

These criminal acts by members of the animal rights and animal liberation organizations have been going on for more than eight months now and are quite clearly extremely serious. They are carrying out in my view terrorist acts as they are seeking to achieve political ends by undemocratic actions.

Emerson itself, the company and the group, has nothing whatsoever to do with animal experimentation. It owns a property outside London, part of which is leased by Yamanouchi. But they handle completely legal activities there. Emerson is clearly bound by a legal lease that it can’t get out of unless Yamanouchi voluntarily seeks to surrender the lease, which it has not offered to do.

The company has been the subject of many attacks. The police are seeking to do everything they can. And it’s not just the directors, even the most humble employee of the company has experienced attention from activities. Members of the company and, I think, the chairman himself have received the most offensive letters and allegations of unpleasant sexual actions.

These are the actions of terrorists and those carrying them out should be treated as such. They are extremely dangerous people and it is completely unacceptable to target people going about their everyday business. The criminals carrying out these acts should be making representations to the government and parliament. I deplore and condemn their actions against companies that bring jobs, investment and tax revenue to this country.


Campaign of terror waged aginast bosses. Macclesfield Express, September 2004.

‘Paedophile’ smear attack. Germa Melling, Runcorn Weekly News, September 9, 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 Activists Force Cancellation of Conference

Activists opposed to Huntingdon Life Sciences successfully pressured the owner of a hotel to cancel a schedule conference organized by the Institute of Animal Technicians.

The event was scheduled for April 10 and 11 but was cancelled after numerous threats from animal rights activists opposed to Huntingdon Life Sciences’ presence at the conference. Earlier this month Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists had showed up to protest at the hotel and set off stink bombson the premesis.

Institute of Animal Technicians spokeswoman Ann Shaw told the East Anglian Daily News,

The hotel has cancelled the booking due to attacks on its facilities, staff and guests by anonymous animal rights extremists who claim that frightening people enjoying a Sunday trip to the hotel with their families and friends was fun.

SHAC spokeswoman Natasha Avery celebrate the cancellation saying animal rights activist applied “relentless” pressure against the hotel. Avery added,

The cancellation has occurred despite leading UK scientists and directors of pharmaceutical companies writing many letters appealing for the hotel to withstand the pressure. It is a real slap in the face for the industry.


Activists win conference cancellation. David Green, East Anglian Daily Times, March 10, 2003.