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Developer quits after animal activist threat

January 07, 2008

Developer quits after animal activist threat

Threats by animal rights activists have led to a developer pulling out of plans to build a science park in the Limburg town of Venray.

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, developer Van der Looy said it would not go ahead with the project due to the "unacceptably threatening attitude" of certain groups.

On Christmas Eve the houses of several project managers were daubed with paint. "We decided immediately to stop," the company said on its website.

The action has been claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (DBF) which said in a letter to Van der Looy that its next action would not be so "friendly".

The controversial 60m-pound Science Link is intended as a technology centre housing life science companies and is set to create 400 high-quality jobs. The DBF claims companies planning to locate in the science park would carry out animal experiments for the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.

News agency ANP says that Venray council will meet on Tuesday to discuss the case, adding that no companies had yet signed up for the a place on the site.

A spokesman told the NRC Handelsblad that another company would now be sought to take over the project.

Christian Democrat MP Sybrand van Haersma Buma urged ministers to give their full support to Venray council, saying he was surprised that animal rights activists could so easily terrorize entrepreneurs.

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Animal rights activists force out property developer

by Louise Dunne


Dutch animal rights activists are claiming a major victory after a property developer decided to pull out of the construction of a new industrial park near the town of Venray in the south of the Netherlands.

The park - called Sciencelink - will house biotech research companies, many of whom carry out testing on animals. Animal rights groups in the Netherlands are vehemently opposed to the project.

Over the Christmas period, members of the radical Animal Liberation Front (DBF) visited the homes of a number of the development company's directors, confronting them and spraying their homes with slogans such as:

"Stop Sciencelink, Stop Animal Testing", and the more threatening "This time it's just paint. Next time we won't be so friendly. See you in the new year".

The company, Van der Looy Project Management, has now pulled out of the development, saying the opposition has become "threatening and unacceptable".

Given in to threats
It's the first time a Dutch company has so openly given in to threats by the animal rights movement and activists who say it won't be the last. A statement posted on the website (stopanimaltesting) says:

"We are following the development of Sciencelink closely and will take every possible step to stop it. If other developers show any interest in taking Van de Looy's place, then we can tell them now that we will be on their doorsteps not just once, but time and again."

The radicalisation of animal rights activists in the Netherlands is of increasing concern to the Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, which released a report on the movement's activities last year. "Home visits" were named in the report as one of the most common tactics. Activists with balaclavas or scarves covering their faces descend on the homes of employees of companies involved directly or indirectly with animal testing. They damage cars, daub slogans on the houses and threaten family members.

Vandalism and intimidation
The group Respect For Animals is named in the AIVD report as central to the movement. The group's spokesperson, Nina Kroos, denies that it is responsible for the "home visits". She says that the members of the Animal Liberation Front are operating outside her organisation - but refuses to condemn their actions.

As far as Respect For Animals is concerned, vandalism and intimidation are justified if aimed at relieving the suffering of animals. The limit, says Kroos, is that "no-one is killed and no-one is injured".

The Venray city councillor responsible for the Sciencelink project was both astonished and upset by the news. "I've always believed we live in a democracy" he said, "and the way the animal rights activists are behaving is not the way we should treat each other". The future of the project is uncertain now that Van Der Looy has pulled out


Jan Velema, 09-01-2008 - CANADA

The Venray city councillor who said, "I've always believe we live in a democrasy and the way the animal rights activiist are behaving is not the way we should treat each other," is of course a radical hypocrit. He or she obviously believes that it isn't okay to threaten other humans but it is okay to "experiment" on other animals. This is the fundamental problem with humanity. Humanity puts itself first when in actuality we are connected to all life. I give Hail, Hail to these activists for their courage. The rest of us are cowards.


paul levinsky, 08-01-2008 - united States

KUDOS - more power to the DBF. End sick animal torture NOW!!! Do to the sadistic bastards what they would have done to the helpless innocent animals!!!


Rene Woodham, 08-01-2008 - Brazil

Animals cannot speak for themselves so someone has to do it!


Georgette Chalker, 08-01-2008 - USA/Netherlands

I salute these brave heroes who will make a difference in thousands of innocent lives. All creators have a consciousness which experiences pain. If we call ourselves intelligent beings, we should not afflict pain on the innocent. Animal activists cry real tears everyday. Salute to Holland! Salute to these heroes!

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