Huntingdon Life Sciences Leaves the London Stock Exchange

Last week, Huntingdon Life Sciences left the London Stock Exchange as it prepares to move its stock listing to the U.S. NASDAQ where its shareholders will be afforded more protection from the animal rights terrorists who have plagued the company for the past few years. The move brought reactions from all of the different players in the HLS saga.

Not surprisingly, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty spokesman Joseph Dawson told Reuters that, “We will not stop until we have driven this disgusting firm out of business.” Of course given SHAC’s recent fortunes he might have wanted to add to that “or until we’re all in prison.”

Great Britain’s Home Office spoke out promising that it would not allow another testing firm to be hounded out of the country as HLS was. “We will not hesitate to take any further action to make sure that legitimate businesses are free to operate without fear of intimidation,” a spokeswoman for the Home Office said. Words are cheap, though. We’ll see how Great Britain reacts when the SHAC protesters inevitably turn their hostilities toward other companies.

Paul Drayson, chairman of the BioIndustry Association, said that the industry needs to deal with the anti-HLS thugs head on. “They’re bullies and . . . there’s only one way to deal with bullies,” Drayson said. “You stand up to them together.”

Drayson urged Great Britain to adopt U.S.-style disclosure rules where shareholders with less than a 5 percent stake in a company can remain anonymous. In Great Britain, the threshold is only three percent.

HLS managing director Brian Cass debunked a piece of nonsense that SHAC had been floating in the United States. SHAC has been sending out press releases claiming HLS’ listing on the NASDAQ over-the-counter bulletin board as Life Sciences is in danger because the company has been unable to find a market maker for the listing.

Cass described this as nonsense saying, “We needed a market maker to sponsor the submission of our listing request. But that has happened.” The companied does not need a market maker for NASDAQ’s over-the-counter bulletin board trading.


Call to shelter shareholders from extremists. Geoff Dyer, Patrick Jenkins, and Robert Shrimsley, The Financial Times (London), January 25, 2002.

UK says will defend firms as Huntingdon quits LSE. Mark Potter, Reuters, January 24, 2002.

Stand up to bullies says biotech chief. Rosie Murray-West, The Daily Telegraph (London), January 25, 2002.

The Tactics and Effects of Animal Rights Terrorism from a British Women Who Experienced it First Hand

The Times (London) ran a horrifying op-ed by Sally Staples about her experience after being targeted by animal rights terrorists in Great Britain who want to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Staples has no connection at all with HLS. Her crime was that she sat on a residents committee. On that committee with her was a man who worked for a bank that in turn had helped to finance HLS. This sort of association with HLS was enough to cause Staples to be inundated with threats, pornographic magazines, obscene phone calls, and a variety of other harassment techniques.

Staples writes,

For the past two months I have been bombarded with obscene phone calls, threatening and abusive mail and rape threats. Pornography, fetish magazines and even a Haitian voodoo curse have come rattling through my letterbox.

Yes, you read that correctly, a voodoo curse. Staples writes that the curse came on a photocopied piece of paper saying, “Whilst in Haiti a voodoo spell was cast upon you. You will soon feel the effects of it. The spell will be lifted when your involvement in HLS ceases. Do not underestimate this warning.”

Staples reports that many of the people who served with her on the residents committee received letters claiming their spouses were having affairs. One received “a stack of paedophile literature sent to his address” (exactly what are activists doing when they’re not worrying about the suffering of animals?)

Staples urges readers not to donate to the terrorist behind such acts,

Next time you are out shopping in your high street and see one of those trestle tables covered in gut-wrenching pictures of suffering animals, look closely at the people seeking your support. They may seem well-intentioned and caring, they may be eloquent in their arguments . . . But before you open your wallet, remember that money donated to this cause is often spent on promoting terrorism against people like me . . .

Animal rights activists keep claiming that their terrorism efforts are in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Funny, I don’t remember King or Gandhi urging followers to send pornographic magazines and paedophile literature to his opponents.


Terror behind the trestle tables. Sally Staples, The Times (London), January 24, 2002.

Covance Should Not Bury Its Head in the Sand

Just when you think testing firms are finally getting the message about the animal rights movement, along comes somebody to prove that some folks in the industry still have not learned a thing from the campaign targeting Huntingdon Life Sciences.

In an article for The Financial Times (London), David Firn contacted several biotechnology and testing firms. Most of the firms seem to grasp how dangerous the animal rights movement is to their business. The BioIndustry Organization, which represents British biotech firms, supports efforts to allow shareholder anonymity in companies likely to be targeted by violent protesters.

But the folks at animal testing firm Covance just don’t get it. Covance’s market is largely the same as that of HLS. It is a contract research organization — pharmaceutical firms that need to test drug compound contract with Covance to perform such tests. Covance has facilities in the United States, Germany, Great Britain and elsewhere, and does extensive animal testing including with specially-bred dogs and rabbits.

Yet Chris Springall, head of toxicology for Covance’s UK operations, tells Firn that his firm is not too concerned about animal rights activists targeting his firm. The way Firn describes it, Springall sees HLS as a special case. Huntingdon was targeted because of 1998 documentary that made allegations of cruelty against HLS. Because of this, Springall argues that,

HLS was targeted by a special organization, SHAC. (SHAC) could easily be transferred to the US but we are not anticipating any difficulties.

Springall and others at Covance are burying their heads in the sand if they think that SHAC is going to simply fade away should it ever achieve its goal of driving HLS out of business. Such a victory would immediately make Covance, Quintiles, and other testing firms immediate targets of opportunity, using the same strategy that has been deployed relatively successfully against HLS.

Whether or not it is accurate, clearly Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty clearly believes it has the pharmaceutical industry on the run and living in fear, and it is hardly like to be satisfied for long with simply harassing HLS.


Silent message to animal rights activists: The events at Huntingdon Life Sciences have cast a shadow of fear over the pharmaceutical industry. David Firn, The Financial Times (London) January 11, 2002.

SHAC Wants to Force Stephens Group to Continue Lawsuit

When Stephens Group originally filed its multimillion dollar lawsuit against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, SHAC and other animal rights groups accused the company of trying to suppress free speech. Now Stephens is trying to drop its lawsuit while SHAC plans on asking a court to force Stephens to proceed with the lawsuit.

In a joint action in April 2001, Huntingdon Life Sciences sued SHAC seeking $2 million in damages and Stephens sued seeking $7 million. The lawsuit accused SHAC of violating the |Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations| statute and sought compensation for the poor performance of HLS.

Stephens recently announced that it had sold its investment in HLS to an as-yet undisclosed buyer. SHAC’s Kevin Jonas told The Financial Times (London) that it had been notified by Stephens that the company plans to drop its lawsuit. Jonas said that SHAC will seek to have the lawsuit proceed.

“We want this suit against us to proceed,” Jonas told The Financial Times. “The whole basis for it conflicts with Stephens’ argument for selling out last week. . . . We want Stephens to go against us in court, because we belive they will be forced to disclose the exact nature of their relationships with HLS.”

Jonas and SHAC seem to think that Stephens Group is maintaining some sort of business relationship with HLS. If so, SHAC seems to be talking out of both sides of its mouth, on the one hand claiming credit for driving Stephens to sever ties with HLS, and on the other hand seemingly claiming that Stephens really hasn’t cut ties with the company at all.

HLS will, of course, become Life Sciences Research sometime this week, and under Maryland law (where Life Sciences Research is incorporated), investors with less than a 5 percent stake can remain anonymous.


Protest group in court move. Patrick Jenkins, The Financial Times (London), January 15, 2002.

Did SHAC Illegally Transfer Funds from American Charity to British Protesters?

In December, the Sunday Telegraph (London) published a story alleging that Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty was illegally funneling money from a U.S. charity to SHAC operations in the United Kingdom.

The Telegraph reported that it sent a reporter to SHAC saying that he wanted to donate $1,300 to the group. The reporter claims he was told by SHAC activists Gregg Avery and Natasha Dellemagne — both now in jail for their role in harassing Huntingdon Life Sciences employees — that the best way to make this donation for tax purposes was to make the donation to the U.S. charity Animal Rights America.

According to the Telegraph,

Our undercover reporter was told that donating to the ARA was the perfect cover as the transaction would appear on banking records only as a contribution to a registered charity and could even qualify as a tax-deductible expense.

Dellemagne gave the reporter an account number, bank code and charity identification for Animal Rights America, and the money was transferred in July 2001.

According to the reporter, Dellemagne confirmed the money had been received and claimed that some of the money was taken out of the United States to Great Britain in cash carried in aircraft baggage.

This would be illegal under IRS rules governing charities. U.S. SHAC point man Kevin Jonas claims this never happened and that Dellemagne “must have been mistaken. Maybe she got confused.”

SHAC also criticized the Telegraph for using “tabloid-style” tactics. Right, because the activist at SHAC would never use such tactics.


Animal rights group faces new claim. Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times (London), December 1, 2001.

Animal welfare thugs funded via US charity. Daniel Foggo, Sunday Telegraph (London), December 2, 2001.

Three SHAC Activists Plead Guilty to Harassing HLS Employees

Three British animal rights activists who helped coordinate a campaign of harassment against employees and shareholders of Huntingdon Life Sciences were recently sentenced to 6 months in jail followed by 6 months probation after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to incite a public nuisance.

Greg Avery, 35, Natasha Taylor, 33, and Heather James, 34, plead guilty just a few days before a trial on the charges was to begin. The three worked on behalf of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and produced several newsletters that were distributed to 5,000 to 10,000 people.

The newsletters 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.

Some targets of the harassment campaign were receiving 10-20 letters a day and spending considerable time returning unwanted packages. As prosecutor John Farmer said, “It is the sheer persistence of it again and again — the deadening effect on their lives of these shoals of letters coming through time and time again so in the end they did not bother to open them.”

During sentencing of the three, Judge Zoe Smith agreed, saying,

Through your newsletter, you advocated and encouraged a campaign of harassments against employees, shareholders and financial backers of Huntingdon Life Sciences.

You orchestrated a campaign against shareholders and workers in their own homes. The language used at times in your newsletter was strong, referring to employees ‘Lets smash them.’

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.

Meanwhile, SHAC tried to spin the guilty pleas and jail sentences as a victory for anti-HLS activists. According to a SHAC press release,

The trial for 3 the SHAC volunteers ended quietly yesterday leaving HLS completely gutted. HLS had hoped to make a show trial out of the testimonies of its pathetic employees and then claim victory in what was hoped to excessively long sentencing. Much to the lab’s dismay, the three campaigners took a deal — pleading guilty to the charge of Conspiracy to Cause a Public Nuisance, and each received a sentence of 12 months in prison.

This means they only have to serve six months in jail, and taking tagging and the time they spent on remand over a year ago into account, they could all be out in a little over three months time. Not bad, considering the police (who wasted millions of pounds and countless hours of work on this pitiful case) and HLS had been pushing for, and banking on, custodial sentences of not less than 5 years.

Hey, we can only hope that more SHAC activists thwart HLS by pleading guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy!

For its part, HLS released a statement saying that the guilty pleas and sentencing was “not only a good day for biomedical research and the public who benefit from this research, but also for law and order in the UK.”


Animal Rights Activists Jailed for Nuisance Mail Campaign. Emily Pennink, PA News, November 14, 2001.

Huntingdon animal rights activists jailed. Financial Times, November 15, 2001.

Animal rights trio jailed for attacks on lab workers staff. Jason Bennetto, November 15, 2001.

Animal rights trio jailed for campaign. The Scotsman, November 15, 2001.

Animal rights activist jailed for harassment. Adam Fresco, The Times (London), November 15, 2001.

Huntingdon Life Sciences Media Statement. November 14, 2001

HLS / police fail with their show trial against 3 SHAC volunteers!. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, Press Release, November 15, 2001.