By: Patti Strand  Date: 01/12/2012 Category: | Research Reports |

Huntingdon Life Sciences Inc, a private medical research company targeted for extermination by animal rights activists, and company investor Stephens Inc. weathered the latest round of protests against the conduct of animal-based research in the US and Britain on October 29, 2001.

The October actions against Stephens began with a conference featuring activists espousing undercover activity and direct action to achieve their goals and wound up with demonstrations at the homes of Stephens’ executives and company headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, and attempts to jam the company’s telephone lines.

The demonstrations received weeks of advance publicity on activist websites and computer mailing lists. One message claimed “Activists around the country and around the world have committed themselves to smashing Stephens this weekend.1” However, in spite of advance billing and exhortations to advance on Little Rock, only about 150 demonstrators answered the call, and Stephens reported no interruption of telephone service.2

Police presence was strong at demonstration sites. Although organizers said that their gatherings would be peaceful, about two dozen demonstrators were arrested and faced charges for disorderly conduct, failure to submit to arrest, and blocking the streets.

Huntingdon first ran afoul of protestors in 1996 when an undercover operative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals infiltrated the company and photographed researchers at work. PeTA used the resulting videotape and stolen documents to threaten Huntingdon clients with harassment if they failed to sever relationships with the company. Huntingdon sued, and PeTA and its agent settled out of court.
In the ensuing years, Huntingdon officials have been intimidated and threatened, the company’s managing director has been beaten, and investors and their clients have been the subject of threats, demonstrations, trespassing, and other attempts at intimidation. One by one, investors backed out, and Huntingdon faced bankruptcy until Arkansas-based Stephens Inc. came to the rescue.

After PeTA agreed to suspend its anti-Huntingdon campaign in the court settlement, the British activist group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty quickly spread operations to the US and initiated campaigns against that Stephens. The investment company responded with a racketeering lawsuit against SHAC, Voices for Animals, Animal Defense League, In Defense of Animals, and certain individuals for conduct including physical attacks on individual employees, death threats, bomb threats, destruction of property, burglary, harassment, and intimidation.

About The Author

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Patti Strand - NAIA President

Patti is a recognized expert and consultant on contemporary animal issues, most notably responsible dog ownership and the animal rights movement. She often appears on radio and television and her articles on canine issues, animal welfare, public policy and animal rights have appeared in major US news publications and in trade, professional and scientific journals. Patti and her…

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