January 24, 2009
Why the UK SHAC 7 were sentenced
Sentenced for life as long prison terms are handed down to the SHAC 7.
"Gregg Avery, Natasha Avery, Dan Amos, Heather Nicholson, Gerrah Selby, Gavin Medd-Hall, Dan Wadham and all others accused in this politically motivated witch hunt are guilty of the highest level of compassion. They have given their all to save the lives of others and expose the inbuilt failings of animal experimentation. Prison and the threat of prison will not stop decent people from doing what is right." - SHAC spokesperson.
Vicious sentences have been handed down in the SHAC conspiracy to blackmail trial (see SchNEWS 661). Heather Nicholson was jailed for 11 years, Gregg and Natasha Avery for nine years each, Gavin Medd-Hall for eight years, Daniel Wadham for five years and Dan Amos and Gerrah Selby were both sentenced to four years. Greg and Natasha had earlier pleaded guilty; their sentencing was left until the end of the trial. At no point did the prosecution allege that any of the defendants were involved in home visits, paint-stripping cars or in fact any illegal activity. All they had to prove, it seemed, was that the campaign against HLS influenced ‘persons unknown’ into taking illegal direct action. Not that you’d have guessed that from browsing the mainstream media – which is united in saying that the defendants themselves were ‘extremists’ guilty of the actions.
Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) are in the business of poisoning healthy animals to death. Far from being the pioneers of life-saving medical research depicted by the media, they are a commercial contract testing company that tests artificial colourings, flavourings and sweeteners, herbicides, GM food, plastics, industrial chemicals, "health foods", dietary supplements and a small amount of drugs for other commercial companies. They are the largest company of this kind in Europe. Five hundred animals are put to death every day by HLS.
The world’s media, prompted by police press officers, have been quick to condemn activists by pointing to harassment against the employees of HLS and their customers, shareholders and investors. What is never examined is the ongoing cruelty, scientific fraud and the development of repressive new laws targeted at the animal rights movement.
SHAC’s activities have been lawful; the campaign publishes information about animal abuse inside HLS labs, reports campaigning activities and issues contact alerts calling on supporters to write polite letters to companies working with HLS and ask them to desist. If those companies continue to do business with HLS, protests would usually follow. All material on the SHAC website and newsletters is checked by a barrister. Even the judge at Winchester has said that SHAC is a legal campaign. Other pressure groups such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth all use email alerts and website campaigns to highlight protests and campaigns. Putting these campaigners on trial for ‘conspiracy to blackmail’ was clearly a political decision. A £4 million inquiry - involving five police forces - targeted SHAC despite admitting that campaigners "rarely caused physical harm". This is due to the effectiveness of the A.R. movement in confronting and challenging the power of corporations involved in animal abuse. The demonisation of animal rights campaigners in the media has made it easier for the state to repress them without public outcry. The conviction and sentencing of the SHAC 7 in Winchester is another nail in the coffin of the public’s right to voice their anger and dissent against corporate greed.
AR prisoner details.
Please write with letters of support.
January 22, 2009. From NETCU Watch
With yesterdays sentencing please send letters of support to the UK SHAC 7. For more info on what they can receive at the prisons please check www.vpsg.org
Dan Amos VN7818
Winchester SO22 5DF
Gregg Avery TA7450
Winchester, SO22 5DF
Natasha Avery NR8987
Ashford, Middx TW15 3JZ.
Gavin Medd-Hall WV9475
Winchester SO22 5DF
Heather Nicholson VM4859
Middx TW15 3JZ.
Dan Wadham WV9474
Winchester SO22 5DF
Jonny has been moved to HMP Ranby
Jonny Ablewhite TB4885
His birthday is Jan 27th
'the best guess for the correlation of adverse reactions in man and animal toxicity data is somewhere between 5% and 25%'
Animal Toxicity Studies: Their Relevance to Man, Lumley and Walker (eds) (Quay, 1989), 57-67