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Animal rights protesters stage third demo at firm hoddesdon_mercury/2006/10/20/animal%20rights%20protesters%20stage%20third%20demo%20at%20firm.lpf

 Animal rights protesters stage third demo at firm

ANIMAL rights protesters continued their campaign against pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharpe & Dohme by gathering outside the firm's UK headquarters in Hoddesdon.

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, which organised the protest outside Merck's gates in Hertford Road, claims the company employs the services of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), a vivisection laboratory based in Cambridgeshire.

They want Merck, which employs over 400 people in Hoddesdon, to publicly state that it is not a HLS customer.

The protest, which lasted for over an hour and involved just under a dozen activists, was peaceful but noisy. The sound of claxons, sirens and drums blared out and emotive speeches were made using megaphones.

Protesters repeatedly shouted: "Your money, your fault", "Blood, blood, blood on your hands" and "Shame on you Merck".

About eight police officers visibly monitored the protestors from the other side of the road. Several more officers waited on standby in a police van nearby.

The entrance to the site remained open and staff continued to enter and leave through the gates throughout the protest.

This latest demonstration is the third to be organised outside Merck's Hoddesdon base in as many months.

Campaign spokesman Greg Avery, 38, said: "They really don't like it, but we're here to confront them. We want to get our message across to the company and the workers."

A long-serving Merck security guard told the Mercury: "It's not really disruptive. It doesn't really affect the running of the business."

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