UK Animal Liberation Feature Archive
The flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the M/Y Steve Irwin, is heading back from the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary where it has been on patrol to enforce international conservation regulations in protection of the area's great whales. Since its departure from Brisbane, Australia on December 4th, the ship and its crew have been involved in various confrontations with a Japanese Whaling Fleet, which continues to operate a commercial whale hunt in the area illegally.
On December 26th, the Steve Irwin confronted the Japanese vessel Kaiko Maru. The ships collided and Sea Shepherd crew deployed butyric acid on its decks. From 1st February the whaling operation was shut down for 8 days straight with both sides of the conflict accusing each other of dangerous manoeuvres and tactics. On February 6th, the Steve Irwin collided with a harpoon ship twice, when it tried to block the ship from offloading a dead whale onto the factory ship Nisshin Maru. As part of an international crew of volunteers, 3 activists from the UK worked onboard the Sea Shepherd vessel during the campaign which was dubbed operation Musashi.
On The Newswire: Sea Shepherd Forced To Leave Killing Grounds In Antarctica | Ramming the Japanese whaling ship, onboard the Steve Irwin | Sea Shepherd blames acoustic weapon attack for Ramming Whaling ship | Japanese Whalers Playing Dangerous Games in the Ross Sea | Sound weapons used against protestors | Whalers harassed by Sea Shepherd in Australian Antarctic waters | Whalers flee Sea Shepherd in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
Previous Features: Japan issues arrest warrant for Nottingham activist | Arrests As International Whaling Commission Fails To Protect Whales | Nottingham Activist Returns From Whale Saving Mission In Antartica | Sea Shepherd activists injured as Japanese military open fire | Activists Held Hostage By Japanese Whalers In Southern Ocean | Whalers use Public Relations to twist the truth
Sunday 25th January saw the national Animal Rights Coaliton meeting (ARC) take place at the Beesley Green Community Centre near Manchester. Attendees came from as far afield as Birmingham, Nottingham, North Wales, Leeds, Lancashire, London, Swansea, Coventry and of course Manchester. There was also a representative of the Mexican Animal Rights movement who attended to see how the process of Animal Rights activism in the UK was organised.
Notable absentees it would seem, refreshingly, were PC Plum and his camera wielding hordes, due to the heightened threat of terrorist activity in the town of Balamory perhaps?
Kicking at 10am with a chance to form and strengthen bonds between AR activists from across the country, the event drew in excess of 50 people, both human and canine. Far from presenting an image of a movement in fear, licking it's wounds following recent high profile trials, including the sentencing of a number of SHAC activists for conspiracy to blackmail and the start of Mel Broughton's retrial, the mood was on the whole upbeat, positive and imaginative.
On 22 January 2009 an Indymedia server was seized by the Police in Manchester. This was related to postings about the recent Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) trial.
Kent Police had e-mailed imc-uk-contact in the morning requesting that personal information about the Judge from the recent SHAC trial in the UK be removed from the site. However this information had already been quickly removed in line with IMC UK policy. The e-mail also requested information relating to the poster be retained. Indymedia as an open posting news service does not log such information about its sources.
The machine was handed to the Police by the management of UK Grid, a Manchester based colocation facility, without a warrant being shown. It is believed that a warrant for this one server may exist and have been issued by a Chief Inspector. As the server was a mirror of the site, it can be concluded that the validity of the seizure wasn't checked, and the police attacked Indymedia infrastructure in the UK.
Other sites that have been affected as a result of this seizure include London Indymedia, the global Indymedia documentation project server, la Soja Mata – an anti-GM soya campaign focusing on South American development, Transition Sheffield and a Canadian campaign against the 2010 olympics.
On Wednesday 21st January, seven activists from the campaign Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were sentenced to a total of fifty years in prison, after they were found guilty in December 2008 of 'conspiracy to blackmail' Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Heather Nicholson was jailed for 11 years, Gregg and Natasha Avery sentenced to nine years each, Gavin Medd-Hall an eight-year prison sentence, Daniel Wadham jailed for five years, Dan Amos and another were both sentenced to four years in prison.
"They conspired to do A B and C ... with Persons or Persons Unknown." - Who were persons unknown? It really didn't matter, as the above conspiracy law linked the individuals even though they had never met them or talked to them. However, this was all ignored as the media falsely charged the activists with hypocrisy, extremism and terrorism, instead of acknowledging their own hypocritical standpoint, best portrayed by the Telegraph, with NETCU helping to further the hysteria following the activists guilty verdicts.
Related newswire: Steve Pearl and Netcu we know where you work... | How you might go to prison for not knowing or knowing someone... | Article on the SHAC 7 [USA] | SHAC Sentences anounced | SHAC trial ends - defendants jailed with disproportionate sentences! | SHAC Sentencing - watch this space | SHAC : Hypocrisy, Terrorism and Extremism. | Yesturdays Torygraph frothing at the mouth over SHAC | SHAC sentencing and festering hypocrisy | Demonstrations outside HLS on days of SHAC sentencing. Join us! | SHAC Case’s Impact on the Environmental Movement | Thoughts on media hysteria post SHAC trial. | SHAC Newsletter 50 - Out Now! | National Anti-Vivisection Day of Action - Mon 19th Jan | Letter from AR Prisoner Luke Steele
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"
It has come to light that Nottingham is host to one of the few companies in the UK that sell shark fin. Not only is the finning of sharks barbaric, but their indiscriminate slaughter at an unsustainable rate is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Since the 1970s the populations of several species have been decimated by over 95%. Horn Of Africa Traders Ltd, based at Kelvedon Gardens, Carlton, Nottingham buy and supply sharkfin originated from North Eastern Somalia. The company is said to have a factory based in Somalia and able to supply up to 1000 ton of dried shark fin a month.
The marine conservation action group Bite Back and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been working closely in the UK to get companies to ditch shark fin from their menus and shelves. As well as various restaurants in London's Chinatown, the health chain Holland & Barrett recently stopped selling shark cartilage capsules under pressure from the campaign.
On Saturday 6th September two hundred activists made it to Ledbury, Herefordshire, for the Carnival Against Vivisection in solidarity with political prisoner Sean Kirtley. The day of action was called by various groups in resistance to the imprisoning of peaceful campaigners under SOCPA legislation, and as a stand for the animals suffering inside vivisection laboratories.
Protesters met on the grass verge, where the police held them allowing a maximum of 15 at a time to demonstrate outside Sequani labs. Shortly after campaigners made a spontaneous break for the labs, with police responding by blocking the bridge to push back the crowd, creating minor scuffles. Multiple attempts were also made to access the labs using various pre-planned routes, meeting police each time, some of which had dogs. Protesters then regrouped at the grass verge to march the original route around town.
Related links: Free Sean Kirtley | Stop Sequani Animal Testing | Antispeciesist Action | Animal Liberation Front | Bite Back | NETCU Watch | FIT watch | Western Animal Rights Network | Indymedia UK Stop Sequani topic page
On Friday, 15 activists held a visual and noisy demo outside the Bradford Council Head Office at Jacobs Well, because of their plans to return grouse shooting to Ilkley Moor.
Banners were tied up and held, and information given to all the members of staff and visitors going in through the main entrance. Members of public were very supportive and many made comments about the council not caring about the people of their town, never mind the animals to be killed if bloodsports return to the moor. The constant noise from the megaphone and chanting made sure that nobody could be unaware of why we were there.
The demo then moved onto the City Hall where campaigners went inside the office and put the West Yorkshire Sabs website on every computer screen. Outside the main entrance, activists climbed up the gates and tied a banner across, much to the annoyance of the security guards who begun shaking the gate whilst someone was still up it!
Other campaigners dropped banners off a nearby flyover to inform everybody coming into Bradford about council involvement in animal cruelty and bloodsports.
Then on Sunday, West & South Yorkshire Hunt Sabs joined forces to stop grouse shoots in the Holme Valley, near Holmfirth.
At the first shoot, over 25 sabs got between the beaters and the guns and then blocked the shooting butts resulting in most of the bloodsport enthusiasts cracking their guns and abandoning the first drive. Obviously angry at their 'sport' being stopped, members of the shoot assaulted one sab to try and get their video camera, rammed the sab van and the owner of the shoot decided it would be a good idea to put one of the front windows through on the vehicle. As per usual, the police couldn't care less and were more interested in getting rid of the sabs with laws they didn't even know themselves.
The next group of shooters, a bit further down the road, packed up straight away when they saw the sabs arriving; however poor communication meant that they couldn't tell the beaters who carried on driving the grouse towards guns that weren't there. Realising they had been made fools of, one of the head beaters began shouting at the police to enforce laws that didn't exist, to which they just told him the truth.
The days sabbing was a great success, with countless lives being saved and two shoots stopped from killing.
Japan has issued an arrest warrant for a Nottingham-based activist, alleging that he damaged the country's whaling fleet. Warrants have been issued for Daniel Bebawi, a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and two American volunteers and the Japanese government has sought to have the three placed on the Interpol wanted list.
The three all participated in the Sea Shepherd Whale Defense Campaign: Operation Leviathan in December 2006 and January and February 2007. The charges apparently stem from an collision between Japanese whaling vessel Keiko Maru and the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter. The incident was investigated by the Australian Federal police at the time, with forensic evidence demonstrating that the Kaiko Maru had rammed the Robert Hunter.
Previous feature: Nottingham Activist Returns From Whale Saving Mission In Antartica
In solidarity with Sean Kirtley, who was imprisoned by the state for supposedly organising legal demonstrations against Sequani's vivisection laboratories, activists will be making a stand for the animals with a march and rally against Sequani labs on September 6th in Ledbury, Herefordshire.
Since campaigning against vivisection labs has been criminalised under Section 145 of the SOCPA legislation, such as operating a website critical of a company like Sean did, the event has been organised without organisers and is not an authorised event.
Hereford Police have already shown concern for the day of action by contacting NETCU Watch and are appealing for organisers to identify themselves, in the hope of finding somebody responsible. Despite this, the call for mass action has been promoted by various groups including Antispe Britain, West Midlands ALF, Stop Sequani Animal Testing, SHAC, and the Western Animal Rights Network.
Details: About | March, Maps + Important Police Information | Routes | Programme/Newsletter | Antispeciesist Action Press Release | Poster Translations | Hereford Police | Police want the organisers | Transport | Other Targets in Herefordshire! | SEQUANI Site plan with building information | Promo video | Webpage for the Carnival
Sequani newswire: Sean Kirtley Moved Prison | The tormented and the witness: Inside Sequani Limited EXCLUSIVE REPORT! | ALF Support The Carnival | why come to the carnival | GSK and Mars vending machines sabotaged | Sean Kirtley's Appeal Launched | Independent: Judge who sentenced animal rights activist was fan of blood sports | AR Protesters Illegal Arrest at Arromight Hereford [Videos: 1 | 2] | Activist arrested for writing in the ground | ALF Chickin' Nickin' For Sean | Sequani Trial Talk | Law-lord ruling to free Sean Kirtley? NETCU on the run | Felix Says "Free Sean Kirtley" | Solidarity actions for Sean Kirtley | Serious Implications for Freedom of Speech as Activist Jailed for 4.5 years | NETCU and Judge Ross crucify civil liberties | Response to state crackdown on peaceful protest | Support Freedom of Speech - Support Sean!
Sometime during a busy day of policing the Camp For Climate Action, near Kingsnorth Power Station in Kent, an officer dropped a so-called 'Pocket Legislation Guide on Policing Protest'. The document, issued by the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), gives an overview of legislation the police can use to stifle all forms of legitimate protest. The document, which is supposedly not for public consumption, was subsequently posted on Indymedia UK by a camper attending the Climate Camp.
NETCU describe themselves as "promoting a coordinated response to domestic extremism by providing tactical advice to the police service, and information and guidance to industry and government." According to NETCU Watch, an online initiative to monitor the service's activities, the main purpose of their existence is to monitor protest groups, especially related to animal rights campaigns. A further concern is that the police seem to be supporting commerce (especially the vivisection industry) beyond their remit of upholding the law.
Anti-HLS campaigners this week have gained another major victory in closing down Europe's largest and most exposed vivisection laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences, known also as Life Sciences Research, ticker symbol LSR.
The labs largest investor, Eagle Asset Finance, has sold all HLS shares worth £7,074,059, more than 4% of the company. Raymond James Financial, their parent company, made the announcement within a month of a full-scale campaign in the UK and USA including email alerts, office and home demonstrations against both companies.
Since December 2007 HLS has suffered from a serious lack of investment, with companies last year eventually selling all their shares. Shareholders included; TransAmerica Investment, Frontier Capital, SAC Capital, Axa, Wachovia, Alternative Investment Partners, Rathbone Brothers, Dresdner Bank, Deutsche Bank, La Grange Capital, Robeco Investment Management, Fairfield Greenwich Associates & BNP Paribas [1 | 2 | 3].
Newswire: RJF Statement | Operation IX3 In NYC Continues | Eagle Asset Dumps All HLS Shares | Raymond James Protest after SHAC march | Protests at HLS Financial Allies & AstraZeneca | WAR Launches Operation IX3 - HLS Investor Insanity | SHAC Financial & Supplier Demos Continue
Previous features: 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"
On the 12th July, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) hold national march and rally [Report | Pics] to show the mass opposition to the fraudulent vivisection industry and the vile 'experiments' at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). SHAC is an international campaign aiming to close HLS, the largest contract testing laboratory in Europe.
The rally in the park included info stalls and food/drink from Veggies before campaigners marched through Peterborough. The demonstration ended in Alconbury, so to meet the animal abusers who kill 500 animals every day of the week to test products such as weed killer, food colourings and drugs.
Newswire: HLS Largest Customers Fined For Overcharging Docters | Call for action at SHAC march x2 | Arson Attacks at HLS Animal Breeder | Video of AR Protesters Illegal Arrest at Arromight Hereford | Callout to any FIT watchers - SHAC rally July 12th | Action Alert: Largest HLS Investor: Part 1 & 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Dispatch from Andy Stepanian (SHAC 7) | HLS Supplier DHL trashed for Active Slaughter | Novartis Global Week of Action Roundup | Time For Action 4 - SHAC Need Your Footage + Trailer | Last Primate Lab in Austria to Close! | Staples lies and beagles die | Message from SHAC: May Raids Anniversary | SHAC May Raids Anniversary | ALF torch Staples trucks | PIA Stop Beagle Flights | Sciencelink animal lab has been abandoned | Novartis HQ painted and smashed (Video) | Previous march (Novartis): SHAC Report | Barriers dismantled
Previous features: 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"
The old adage holds that there is no such thing as a free meal. Over the last few months, campaigners in Nottingham have been trying to prove this wrong, dishing out free vegan food to shoppers. Several events have been held in the city centre to tie in with Vegetarian Week, the Day of Action on Food and Climate Change and the Viva! Veggie Roadshow, with a further activity planned for UN World Food Day on October 16th.
While everybody loves free stuff, there is also an important point to the exercise with campaigners promoting a vegan-friendly lifestyle. This is beneficial not only for the animals, who would otherwise suffer the horrors of factory farming, but also for the planet. Livestock accounts for something in the order of 18% of greenhouse gas emissions
Newswire: Free Vegan Food For All! 4/07/08* | The Incredible Veggie Roadshow comes to Nottingham | Nottingham: 'Food Not Bombs', Food & Climate Change Meeting | 3rd June Food Climate Change Day of Action in Nottingham | Ready Steady Skip: Trailer and website launched! | Free Foods Invades Nottingham
The Secretary of State for DEFRA, Hilary Benn, announced today that he has decided against a cull of badgers in England to control TB in cattle. The decision came after protest actions last month with a rally attended by over 300 supporters and the sabotaging of five offices owned by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW). Mr Benn also has resounding public support for sparing badgers. A DEFRA public consultation on the issue received submissions from 47,000 respondents, ninety-five per cent of whom opposed a cull. Despite this, The Welsh Assembly has voted to allow badger culling to go ahead in Wales.
The government-appointed Independent Scientific Group announced in June 2007 - following a decade of research - that killing badgers would not significantly reduce bovine TB and could make matters worse. It also declared that TB probably first spreads from cattle to badgers, where it remains stable, provided the badgers are undisturbed. Research has demonstrated that culling causes massive disturbance and has the effect of increasing the incidence and spread of the disease. Benn has come under unrelenting pressure from the farming industry to give permission for the destruction of around 170,000 badgers - half the population.
Newswire: Welsh Demo for the Badgers, Colwyn Bay, 26th July | Benn confirms Badgers saved in England | Badgers saved in England, but not in Wales | Badgers spared - Thank you ALF! | Anti-Badger Cull Demo Action Report | ALF target farming union offices over badger cull | Rally For Badgers - Stop The Cull!
There is good news for campaigners on the proposed EU ban on the import on seal products from Canada. The EU's Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has just announced to EU ministers that legislation for a trade ban on all seal products from Canada will come into force in a matter of weeks.
The Canadian slaughter of over 350.000 baby harp seals takes place each year around March/April off the east coast of Canada in Newfoundland. The 'hunt' has been widely condemned around the world, but the Canadian government is ademend in its continued support. The new announcement is seen as a big victory for campaigners.
Previous feature: Armed Canadian Coast Guard Storms Conservation Vessel
On the newswire: Sea Shepherd Moves In On Canadian Seal Slaughter | Seal Slaughter: contacts to protest | Canadian Seal Hunt: New attack by Brigitte Bardot and Franz Weber | Stop Canada's Seal Hunt | Biggest Seal Hunt in 50 Years Draws Protest | Stop Seal Hunt - Hunters Allowed To Kill 350,000 Young Seals This Year
Fifteen people were arrested by police at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), held this year in Santiago, Chile. The protesters were supposedly trying to 'storm' the meeting but other reports state that the mere presence of people in front of the meeting's venue was seen as a 'security threat'.
The IWC meets annually to regulate the whaling industry and make decisions on conservation of whale populations. So far the meeting hasn't reached any agreements and the commission continues to be strongly devided between the pro- and anti-whaling nations. Skye Bortoli, an activist from Teens Against Whaling described the meeting this year as 'pathetic', saying "this body will be known in the future as a small group of ecologically arrogant people who are condemning the world’s whales to agony and oblivion for petty politics and a few lousy bucks."
Previous Features: Armed Canadian Coast Guard Storms Conservation Vessel | Nottingham Activist Returns From Whale Saving Mission In Antartica | Injured Among Sea Shepherd Crew As Japanese Military Open Fire | Activists Held Hostage By Japanese Whalers In Southern Ocean
Ten animal rights campaigners have been held since the 21th May after police raided twenty-three homes and offices in Austria charging individuals with 31 different offences related to the campaign against the the fur-promoting fashion company Kleider Bauer, but most significantly of forming a criminal organisation under Section 278a of Austrian law. One of the prisoners, Martin Balluch has been on hunger strike since the arrests against the violation of his human rights and the state attacks on legitimate campaigning organisations. He is now becoming very weak and was recently moved to a prison hospital after suffering from dizzyness, blurred vision, and stomach pains. Dr Balluch, Chairman of the Association against Animal Factories (VGT) in Austria has asked for "...everyone who cares about animal protection and human rights to take action now to prevent this crime. This kind of police arbitrariness against NPOs is something we might recognize in dictatorships, but not in a democracy. Please stand up strong; stand against this outrageous injustice. My life depends on it." Chair of the Austrian Vegan Society, Felix Hnat and other members have even been remanded, although no charges have been made against any members of the board.
Newswire: Human Rights Scandal | About the prisoners | Message from Prisoners; Felix, Elmar & Chris | Message from Prisoner Martin Balluch | Statement by Martin Balluch | Activists remanded in custody 4 more weeks! | VGT Chairman Dr Martin Balluch Phd. On Hunger Strike