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        22 August 2014

        Posted by: Tom Holder

        Category: Antivivisection & extremism

        shac–ends–logo.jpgEarlier this month the animal rights extremist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)?announced?that?it was ending its long running campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and shutting down the?organisation.

        The campaign ran for 15 years, from 1999 to 2014, resulting in dozens of arrests of animal?rights extremists across the UK, US and Netherlands; and a string of prison sentences adding up to over a?century.


        ?In 2001, SHAC started an American newsletter. In the?first issue?they announced that
        “The Campaign to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is fast becoming one of the most significant in?animal rights movement’s history.”

        They were probably not far wrong. Certainly SHAC’s campaign was the longest targeting a single institution.?However, greater police powers granted under the?Serious Organised Crime and Police Act?(2005) allowed a?series of arrests that would result in at least 18 British SHAC members going to prison, and a further 6 in the?US. Most recently,?Debbie Vincent?was convicted in April 2014, and two more activists are currently awaiting?trial in the Netherlands for criminal activity relating to SHAC.

        HLS has certainly had shaky times in the past, but the outlook appears much improved. In May 2014,?HLS?acquired Harlan Labs, “creating a business that will?turnover?half a billion pounds”. Through dogged?perseverance, HLS had survived the biggest animal rights campaign in history (many companies in the UK?have not, for instance the breeders?Consort Kennels?and?Newchurch?Guinea Pig Farm)?Wendy Jarrett, CEO of Understanding Animal Research?noted;

        “It is a testament to the bravery and resilience of a lot of people that SHAC never achieved its aim of closing?Huntingdon Life Sciences, despite some horrific crimes against HLS staff and suppliers. We know that the?British public is generally supportive of the use of animals in medical research and I am glad that HLS has?persevered in carrying out legally-required animal research, such as that mandated in the development of?potential new human and veterinary medicines.“

        So is SHAC gone for good? Certainly we can hope so, but many of the activists who were involved have been?released from prison and some may well still be involved in the animal rights movement. Given that?many?companies have won injunctions?against SHAC and its members, some activists may believe that by closing?SHAC they can circumvent these legal protections. In May 2014, AstraZeneca won an injunction?preventing?SHAC adherents from?“entering land owned by AstraZeneca, or the property of its protected employees or?from pursuing any course of conduct deemed by a court to amount to harassment of the company’s staff.”?One person named, activist Aran Mathai, claimed SHAC had ceased to exist as an entity and denied having?any leadership in SHAC – given the success of the injunction, perhaps the formal announcement of closure?by SHAC makes more tactical sense.?Nonetheless, we should welcome the end of SHAC. We can only hope it is an end to the kinds of activities so?many of its members were convicted for.

        SHAC in Shackles:

        2006 - UK
        Joseph Harris –?Conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship?– 3 years
        Donald Currie –?Arson and possession of explosive substances?– 12 years

        2006 – US Court Cases (“Shac7”)
        Jake Conroy –?Conspiracy to cause damage?– 4 years
        Darius Fulmer -?Conspiracy to cause damage?– 1 year
        Lauren?Gazzola?-?Conspiracy to cause damage?– 4 years 4 months
        Josh Harper -?Conspiracy to cause damage?– 3 years
        Kevin?Kjonaas?-?Conspiracy to cause damage?– 6 years
        Andy?Stepanian?-?Conspiracy to cause damage?– 3 years?
        2008 - UK
        Heather Nicholson [SHAC Founder] –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 11 years
        Kim?Gerrah?Selby –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 4 years
        Daniel?Wadham?–?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 5 years
        Gavin?Medd-Hall –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 8 years
        Greg Avery [SHAC Founder] –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 9 years
        Natasha Avery [SHAC Founder] –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 9 years
        Daniel Amos –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 4 years

        2010 - UK
        Alfie Fitzpatrick –?Conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship?– 1 year suspended sentence
        Tom Harris –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 5 years
        Jason?Mullan?–?Conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship?– 3 years
        Nicola Tapping –?Conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship?– 1 year 3 months
        Nicole Vosper –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 2010 – 1 year 9 months
        Sarah Whitehead –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?- 2010 – 6 years

        2011 - UK
        Christopher Potter –?Conspiracy to commit criminal damage?– 1 year suspended sentence
        Maria Neal –?Conspiracy to commit criminal damage?–– 1 year suspended sentence

        2014 - UK
        Debbie Vincent –?Conspiracy to Blackmail?– 2014 – 6 years

        Last edited: 5 July 2017 17:24