SHAC Trial is a Litmus Test
No one talked about puppies.
For years, animal rights activists had used accounts and photos of
mutilated or mistreated beagles as a rallying point against Huntingdon
Life Sciences, the British company that tests pharmaceuticals on tens
of thousands of animals a year, many at a lab in Franklin Township,
But as the trial opened in Trenton yesterday for six activists accused
of orchestrating a campaign of intimidation against the firm, the
issue moved beyond hidden-camera videos of animals in cramped cages.
Defense attorneys cited the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers, the
1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and the anti- apartheid movement in
A prosecutor opened with the image of a young boy in a Dallas suburb,
so frightened by protesters who had stalked his mother at home that
the sound of a doorbell chime made him run and hide.
"He was cowering behind the door because he thought 'the animal
people' were coming to get him," Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney
Charles McKenna told jurors.
The federal trial, which could span two months, will be monitored
widely, both by members of the billion-dollar research industries who
often become targets of such activity and the groups that bring such
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