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Anti-vivisection campaigners convicted of blackmail

imc-uk-features | 29.12.2008 00:13 | SHAC | Stop Sequani Animal Testing | Animal Liberation | Repression

On December 23rd, 4 out of 5 activists on trial at Winchester Crown Court were found guilty of 'conspiracy to blackmail' Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) after a 3 and a half month long trial. The world's media, prompted by police press officers, were quick to condemn Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), providing examples of harassment against the employees of HLS, their customers, suppliers and investors.

Direct action against the company, not linked to those convicted, such as arson attacks, hoax bombs, letters alleging paedophilia, and threats were pointed to as evidence of the defendants' extremism. Police spokesmen and the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), the branch of the police set up to dismantle the animal rights movement and other expressions of the public's dissent, hailed the convictions as a victory. What was not examined in the media was the worrying development of the repressive use of the law which lead to the conviction of the four defendants.

The trial is the second large animal rights conspiracy trial this year following the imprisonment of Sean Kirtley, an activist involved with Stop Sequani Animal Torture (SSAT). Sean was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for updating a website with news about a legal, nonviolent campaign to close down Sequani laboratories in Ledbury. Despite the Sequani and SHAC investigations leading to convictions, both campaigns against the vivisection labs are continuing undeterred.

Newswire: Strategic Importance of HLS in the broader anticapitalist fight | SHAC Do Christmas & Solidarity Demos | Corporate Watch on SHAC Trial - State Repression of Anti-Corporate Dissent | Campaigning against cruelty is now punishable by up to 14 years in prison! | SHAC campaign against HLS continues despite the convictions says the Guardian | SHAC v HLS

Previous featuers: Solidarity For Political Prisoner Sean Kirtley | Largest HLS Investor Dumps All Shares | SHAC Prepares For National March & Rally | Victory for animal rights campaigners | Activist Imprisoned for Shouting | Fisher Scientific Embarrassed Over Links with HLS | SHAC World Day for Lab Animals | Asahi Glass Protesters Harassed by Police | "March Against the Murderers"

Links: Support Greg, Natasha & Heather | Support Dan Amos | Vegan Prisoners Support Group | SHAC | NETCU Watch | Indymedia UK SHAC topic page

Inside HLS - USA, 1997
Inside HLS - USA, 1997


Huntingdon Life Sciences are in the business of poisoning healthy animals to death. They are a contract testing operation that tests products for others. They have three sites two in the UK and one in the US. Five hundred animals are put to death every day by HLS, killing tens of thousands of horses, cats, dogs, primates, rabbits, hamsters, rats, mice and fish amongst others each year. Every one is an individual with a heart beat.

HLS hit the headlines in 1997 when they were exposed by an undercover worker with a hidden camera. This expose was screened on national TV and showed workers screaming abuse at terrified beagle dogs. One is filmed punching a puppy in the face in anger! The outcry that followed rocked the foundations of this once profitable company as the public made their objections felt. HLS shares were devastated and never recovered. Today HLS are unable to trade in more than 1% of their shares. This is a very, very sick company.

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is a public pressure campaign that grew out of the prime time exposure of HLS into a supremely efficient and imaginative global initiative. Using a variety of tactics intended to draw public attention and hamper operations such as mass protests, home demonstrations, leaflet drops, lock-ons, blockades and email floods SHAC has brought HLS to its knees. The informed public finds the business of HLS repulsive and will not allow them to regain their feet.

HLS have been exposed to the public time and time again. On each occasion a very familiar story comes out. The only logical conclusion is that HLS is rotten to the core. It is in the public domain that HLS workers have falsifying test results, include known sex offenders, have carried out tests while drunk, have been found guilty of animal cruelty and of using drugs. From 1995 to 2000 HLS broke the Good Laboratory Guidelines no less than 520 times in just one experiment! In 2004 The Observer exposed HLS for gassing beagle dogs to test a CFC chemical which was banned 15 years earlier. HLS is a very leaky secret.

Government legislation and public money has come thick and fast to ensure this distasteful scientifically unproven commercial concern continues unhindered by the progress of public opinion. High Court injunctions restrict public protest to a few hours a week at the gates of HLS. The company no longer owns its property but it reduced to leasing it back from those it sold out to. HLS has the Bank of England to sign its cheques because none of the High Street banks will provide banking services. The UK tax payer is also funding HLS’ insurance and for the police to spend vast resources on harassing citizens who speak out against this abhorrent business.

It should be worthy of note that an estimated 10,000 people die prematurely in the UK each year due to being given drugs that have been tested on animals by HLS and others and passed as safe. (1) Ten thousand human fatalities! In the US the number is estimated to be in excess of 100,000 with a further 2.2 million hospitalisations due to adverse drug reactions. (2)* *Animal tested drugs are the fourth biggest cause of death in the West after heart disease cancer and stroke. This is a scandal.

Vioxx alone has caused in excess of 100,000 deaths worldwide! SHAC activists have been persecuted relentlessly by the agents of government yet have hurt no one. SHAC activists are at work in many countries today and pledge to continue in their clearly defined, well advanced agenda to close down HLS.

Gregg Avery, Natasha Avery, Dan Amos, Heather Nicholson, Gerrah Selby, Gavin Medd- Hall and Dan Wadham and all others accused in this witch hunt are guilty of the highest level of compassion. They have given their all to save the lives of others and expose the inbuilt failings of animal experimentation. They are human beings of the future. Prison and the threat of prison will not stop decent people from doing what is right.

The use of further draconian laws to harass, detain and imprison animal advocates as threatened by Elizabeth Windsor in her latest annual speech will not right the many wrongs inside HLS and the wider drugs industry, nor will it remove the desire in the hearts of good men and women young and old to rid society of this cancer that consumes so many lives.

These law makers and those who remain silent during this onslaught against human freedom and animal rights will come to learn that there is no legislation can hold back human evolution. Animal testing is an ancient theory that has never been tested scientifically. Animal are dying. People are dying. Huntingdon Life Sciences is dying. The Animal Liberation Movement is alive and thriving.

Further information is available at

(1) Safe Medicines Campaign

(2) Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine



Hide the following 19 comments

SHAC CITY SHAKEDOWN: Protest 27th Feb 2009

29.12.2008 12:27


Important mass protest is taking place on Friday 27th February 2009, meeting 12noon at Bank of England, central London (nearest tube: Bank).

WHY? >> We have reached a critical time. HLS' financials are wobbling dangerously close to the edge and enough persuasion to key financial institutions could be enough to close them. Click here for more information about the financial aspects of the campaign.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN? >> We will be meeting at the Bank of England, central London, on Friday 27th February at 12 noon. From this point we will have a brief speech, before moving off together.

The day will all be about focusing on HLS' key financial supporters. We will be conducting demonstrations against several targets that are either major shareholders or are listing HLS, enabling them to stay open. The demonstrations will of course be entirely legal, as the entire day as been organised with the help of the police. Once we have finished the demonstrations, we will return in a loop back to the Bank of England where we started. Any further questions, don't hesistate to contact us on!

Transport is being arranged from across the country, so if you don't want to make your own way there, get in touch and we can help you find a minibus or shared car from your area.

[more information, downloadable banners, leaflets and posters are available here]

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Why such a blinkered single issue mentality with you folks?

29.12.2008 13:16

You don't seem to have any level of understanding, concern or thought for whats happening in the bigger picture.
If HLS shares are wiped out does that make everything else ok. Is the oppressive state, government and all its aparatus justified as long as the animals are treated ok. Open your fucking minds if you have any and stop trying to hijack situations for your cause instead of showing solidarity to all those oppressed.....


Maybe "anarchist" should go and do something then !

29.12.2008 14:34

Most campaigns are "single issue". To take everything on board would dilute any campaign so "anarchist" I would suggest that you stop criticising other people and spend your time doing something YOU think is worthwhile. No one is forcing you to do SHAC stuff and I don't know anyone in the animal rights movement who would turn around and lambast for example the campaign as EDO as "single issue", many of our number make the effort to support such campaigns but we can't do everything. Maybe "anarchist" you could enlighten us with telling us all what we should be campaign on or do in the true spirit of anarchy of course!!! A note of advice, being patronising does not endear you to the animal rights movement.

Lynn Sawyer

National Anti-Vivisection Day of Action - Mon 19th Jan

29.12.2008 15:01

In solidarity with SHAC campaigners in court on this day for sentencing(and all other animal rights prisoners)

On Monday 19th January, 7 SHAC campaigners will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court for conspiracy to blackmail Huntingdon Life Sciences. The 7 have done nothing more than help to co-ordinate and join peaceful protests aimed at closing down this evil hellhole. They could each potentially be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison!!

Assuming they do all receive custodial sentences(extremely likely), these convictions will bring the total number of animal rights prisoners in the UK to 17, many of them serving long term sentences. With more trials in the pipeline in 2009, the total number of prisoners of compassion is likely to soar to an all time high. The animal rights movement is clearly under attack - more laws, raids, arrests and convictions are likely. NETCU and police forces across the UK are no longer content with going after activists taking part in illegal actions. Over recent years, they have designed and implemented a range of new laws, all geared towards criminalising activists running legal campaigns and those who peacefully protest.

Please don`t just accept this co-ordinated attack on our freedom to protest - STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK!!!

Gregg, Natasha, Dan A., Heather, Gerrah, Gavin and Dan W. don`t want lots of supporters to attend their sentencing at court. What they want is for YOU to get active out on the streets or in any way you can. Demo your local lab, customer, supplier or animal breeder. Hand out leaflets outside your local Cancer Research UK or British Heart Foundation charity shop. Set up a town centre stall to raise awareness, stage a publicity stunt, go door to door leafletting or write letters to the press. (send for leaflets from SHAC, SPEAK, Uncaged, Animal Aid etc)

More and more draconian laws will NEVER stop the animal rights movement. We will NEVER stop fighting for those that can`t speak up for themselves. The SHAC 7 can`t join the demos but YOU can!!

GET UP, GET OUT AND GET ACTIVE on Monday 19th January 2009.


I left the ARM because of its worped single issue mentality!

29.12.2008 16:45

Having being involved for many years with Hunt sabs and various other groups I no longer wanted to associate myself with the AR activist mentality that most AR activists I met had being that the cause for animal liberation was more important than the cause for people liberation and they simply could not grasp the relationship between the exploiters/oppressors they were fighting and the state.

"Maybe "anarchist" should go and do something then !"

I have been involved in the anarchist movement for many years working on many community, national and international projects.

"A note of advice, being patronising does not endear you to the animal rights movement.

Lynn Sawyer"

Why would I care if I was endeared or not to the ARM, what sort of veiled threat is that?
Its exactly comments like that show the massive ego's that surround the ARM (The larger egos even sign their postings cos they want to feel special, superior and important) and its also the reason why the ARM is isolated when the nation should be fighting for Human and animal rights!


Hmmmmm I think I spot a lie...

29.12.2008 17:49

No one who has been active in AR circles would ever use the initials ARM for Animal Rights Movement, People in AR tend to relate the initials ARM to something else ;)


Solidarity from the ALF

29.12.2008 18:18

received anonymously:

"As 500 animals die every day inside HLS, top logistics supplier Fedex continue to profit from the suffering of animals. This is why in the early hours of the morning the A.L.F. super glued one of their vans in the South West of England.

A fighting embrace to the British SHAC 7: Gregg Avery, Natasha Avery, Dan Amos, Heather Nicholson, Gerrah Selby, Gavin Medd-Hall and Dan Wadham. We will continue to directly attack the institutions that imprisoned you!

Our sabotage is infinite ... for the destruction of speciesism!
Solidarity in the form of rage and action!

Animal Liberation Front"

Bite Back
- Homepage:

For fucks sake, why try discredit me cos I gave my opinion?

29.12.2008 18:19

Open a debate and don't be so up your own arse. Surely one of you has motives beyond the ego that we can move forward with!



29.12.2008 19:02

I am not threatening you just pointing out the fact that calling people single issue and patronising them does not help your argument. Don't be so bloody paranoid and don't fret I've got better things to do than hunt you down.

Now if your point is fighting for human liberation is as important as animal liberation I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE WITH YOU as do many other animal rights people who have been on marches against EDO, been active in anti fascist actions and even been to the Gaza strip, I am sure that there are many other examples. If you haven't noticed SHAC is bearing the brunt of oppression aimed against grass roots activists. What about the human rights of activists who have harmed none but face more time in prison than a rapist?

None of us are perfect least of all me I sign with my own name because I want to stand by what I write and take responsibilty for it. I thoroughly respect others using aliases which is quite sensible in this current climate. My view is that if I am ever accused of anything in court I would rather not be seen to hide behind an alias which for me would be a bit too "cloak and dagger" for the mere expression of an opinion.

Lynn Sawyer

To @narchist

29.12.2008 19:08

There are many thousands in AR, very very few of them are in it for ego. The ones that are tend to make a big show and then leave within a few months/year. The grass-roots AR movement tends to shun ego's and quietly get on with the job.

There are many anarchists in AR, we also campaign on other issues. Just because we don't shout about it doesn't mean we don't help!



30.12.2008 15:52

Anarchist sounds like some of the ignorant people I have met on demo's who shout 'get a job' or 'why aren't you protesting about people issues', which usually comes from people who do nothing about anything and those who just want to belitle us as we prick their conscience. Anarchist is probably the last thing he is, sounds like a cop trying to stir things up. Most people who use Indymedia are fighting various causes, they don't expect everyone to fight evey cause and are not derogatory to any other cause. Anarchist sounds like a fake to me.


I think @narchist might be genuine

03.01.2009 01:46

I hope I'm not insulting all anarchists by suggesting that @narchist might be genuine!

There is a minor anarchist tendency to hypercriticality. Anarchism is a utopia, and thus by definition it is never totally achievable, we can only get a little closer to it. So some anarchos feel the need to criticise absolutely everyone else for any tiny thing they can, simply because nothing is ever perfect. Maybe it's down to something like clinical depression, or maybe they are just negative nellies by nature. They are well-meaning, but they can drag other people down with their miserable attitudes.


anon et al, blah blah blah blah

03.01.2009 15:11

I suppose there is no point in arguing or debating with the level of intelligent comments put forward by the above..(silly middle class kids). It somehow reminds me of the blinkered response to comments which question whether Hamas should be vilified for their involvement in starting the Gaza bombardment. ie if you don't totally agree with our single issue mentality then your a Zionist. (maybe you can jump on that band wagon to. Surely some animals have been killed during the raids!


The debate about the rights and wrongs...

05.01.2009 15:45

.............of vivisection is a worthy one. But such violent tactics adds nothing to the debate.

Dan Factor
mail e-mail:

It must be bad ...

05.01.2009 16:02

that I am a 'member' of the animal rights movement, and I agree with a lot of what "@narchist" is saying. I've started to see that the movement has a lot of downfalls, and one of the major being the amount of press they want, and effort they give to a few issues - and the rest are often left at the wayside. I will always work for animals rights, and promoting veganism - but I also think human rights are incredibly important, as is the environment, and I will always campaign to make a positive impact on these too (sometimes I do more AR, sometime more human rights, sometimes more environmental campaining - it depends on money, time, dates etc).

I have met a lot of people within the AR movement who seem intent on stirring up trouble and getting media attention (which is often a bad kind - because it seems a fact that the media love to grab any bad thing about the movement and make it into something terrible). Obviously, on the other hand I have met a lot of wonderful people who are truly inspirational!

I don't know, I guess I am just saying I see where everyone is coming from and nobody can have ALL the right answers - but as we all do (or, should) believe in freedom of speech, surely we should let other people voice their oppinions.

However, I don't think making silly comments to each other that are sarcastic or rude is really doing to achieve anything - calling people "negative nellies" or "silly middle class kids" is really not going to make anyone take anyone seriously.

I agree with parts of what most people have said on here, and debate is always good, just thought I'd add my 'two penny worth' haha :) - I hope I haven't offended anyone as I certainly haven't intended to (it's really hard to get a 'tone' across in comments).



Human Rights, Animal Rights, Environmental Rights - there are no 'single issues'

07.01.2009 23:34

The repression surrounding this case, including the imposition of laws _specifically_ worded against animal rights campaigns, affects everyone campaigning on any issue of social justice.

Many of the tactics used by the state, from the use of CS gas to the miss-use of stalking laws, are 'tested' on animal rights campaigners first. We should all stick together. We are only part-way through the '...then they came for the animal advocates...' list, but they will be coming for the rest of us sooner than we would wish.

I'd urge anyone that believes the corporate media, the judiciary and those speaking for the state, to read another perspective, "Thoughts on media hysteria post SHAC trial", at


Agree with Pat

08.01.2009 18:12

I agree with Pat. Also anyone who is making derogatory comments about SHAC, (although clearly some are infiltrators and cops), should bear in mind that to criticise any campaign is playing into the hands of those with vested interests in stopping protests. In-fighting is never worthwhile and to air any dirty washing on a public site like this one is counter productive. Even if some AR people have issues about certain campaigns it is not wise to make them public on here.


More crap from anon...

11.01.2009 16:15

"I agree with Pat. Also anyone who is making derogatory comments about SHAC, (although clearly some are infiltrators and cops), should bear in mind that to criticise any campaign is playing into the hands of those with vested interests in stopping protests. In-fighting is never worthwhile and to air any dirty washing on a public site like this one is counter productive. Even if some AR people have issues about certain campaigns it is not wise to make them public on here."

According to anon logic EVERYONE who speaks out against SHAC has something to do with the police, change the record!

Even though Ms Saywer will not admit it, SHAC has had a rocky past with other campaign members because of their own underhand methods of gossip in order to shut down other anti-vivisection campaigns that take campaigners away from the SHAC cause. The Covance campaign is a classic example of their "shut down" tactics. This campaign was just too big and needed to be shut down so to add more support to SHACs campaign. It's no secret what went on anon, well not to them in the mix. I would go as far as to say that the only reason Heather was tolerated by Greg and co was because she was popular and good for the campaign because of the amount of people she attracted to it. You only have to spend some time with Greg Avery to see how much of an ego problem he has!

anon, you have to realise that SHAC is not the AR movement and is just a small blot on what is a very large picture. The movement can do better without campaigns like SHAC and the likes of the Averys. They have achieved nothing other than set back the AR movement.

In the wake of SHAC and the Averys is alot of broken people who they have stamped on in the past. Open you eyes anon!


Open yours Paul

12.01.2009 15:40

Paul, if you were a real AR campaigner you would not wash any dirty linen on here in public about any AR campaign. You are just a trouble maker, whatsoever area you come from. You fool noone. All you comments have been derogatory about any AR person. You clearly have no idea that the AR movement has solidarity and would never slag each other off in public. You are a fake.


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