The campaign to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is fast becoming one of the most significant in animal rights movement's history. The speed, methodology, and determination with which one of the world's biggest animal testing laboratories is being brought to its knees, almost entirely by the efforts of volunteer grassroots activists, denotes the endless possibilities of what what a small community of passionate campaigners can do. The closure of HLS by an animal rights campaign will not only mean saving the 180,000 animals that die annually in HLS laboratories, but will also signify another nail in the coffin of the vivisection industry.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty utilizes peaceful protest as a powerful tactic to smash Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Targeting both HLS directly as well as their suppliers, shareholders, investors, clients and employees has proven effective in other campaigns as well as the drastic collapse of HLS.
Huntingdon Life Sciences is Europe's largest contract animal testing laboratory and ranks as one of the largest in the world. HLS is a company based in the United Kingdom where it operates two laboratory sites. Additionally HLS runs another laboratory facility in East Millstone New Jersey called the Princeton Research Center. Everyday 500 animals die a horrible death after being slowly poisoned. At any one point there are over 70,000 animals in the HLS labs suffering a fate worse than death, including over 1,000 dogs, 200 cats, 1,000 monkeys, 4,000 guinea pigs, 2,000 rabbits, 3,000 birds, 4,000 fish, and countless farms animals and rodents. HLS specializes in testing the toxicity of agrochemical, GMOs, food colorings, adhesives, washing powders, and various pharmaceutical products
In the Spring of 2000 SHAC USA was formed to target the New Jersey laboratory and the shareholders based in America, of which the largest are located. SHAC has worked with groups across America, and worked closely with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Americans for Medical Advancement. SHAC-USA has organized regular protests outside the New Jersey lab, and launched a significant campaigns against Stephen's Inc., HLS's largest investor and primary financier. After a year, HLS's white knight, Stephens Inc. capitulated and sold off 43 million shares. The fast and furious start to the American campaign has made amazing progress. Two large American shareholders have sold their stake in the company, the Bank of New York dumped 7 million shares, the president of the NJ lab has resigned, and the lab itself has been swamped in calls and letters. Major shareholders, market makers, stockbrokers and local suppliers to the lab have also announced their removal of support of the lab at an amazing rate.
The SHAC campaign has over the last year hit HLS in a multi pronged attack on the workers, shareholders, and clients resulting in all-time low worker morale, a rock bottom share price, and a loss of customer confidence.
Workers: Everyday of the week a crowd of protesters assemble outside the gates of HLS's main lab site in Huntingdon. All day long as workers of HLS come go they are greeted with screaming protesters who let them know just how much their worth. Every eight weeks SHAC holds national demonstrations wherein over a thousand protesters show up to the lab, the town center, or a company affiliated with HLS in the area and lay siege to 'em. large demonstrations are always followed up with several home demonstrations of the workers. These tactics combined with the ALF's series of car bombings of workers (at 11 now) and numerous attacks on their homes has the a tremendous effect. There is a high turnover rate, and according to court documents several workers are having a hard time even finishing a days work, or sleeping at night.
Clients: Through the various exposes a large number of HLS's clients who contract the company to test their products on animals has been learned. Animal rights activists across the UK have demonstrated against one of HLS's biggest customers, SmithKline Beecham, outside grocery stores and drug stores encouraging a massive consumer boycott and warning stickers are placed on the products. SHAC has also published in the internet the names and home addresses of the directors of HLS's clients to encourage people to take their protest directly to the people who have the ultimate say in whether HLS is used or not. The results have been a number of clients pulling their business from HLS and customer confidence to be severely shaken.
Shareholders: To date the most successful tool in the battle to shut down this vile place has been to target those who own bits of the lab through their shares. SHAC published the names and addresses of those all across England and internationally that have shares in HLS on the internet (view the shareholder list) and additionally mailed out to all of them an informational pack requesting they sell their shares. Countless shareholders sold their stake in HLS immediately after learning of what HLS really did, and several others sold after having crowds of angry protesters on their doorsteps nightly. The biggest boost to the campaign has been targeting the corporate shareholders who own several thousand, or million, shares in the company. After publicity stunts, office occupations, phone and mail blockades, and home visits to the directors of the shareholding companies, large amounts of HLS stock had been and is continuously dumped on the market plummeting HLS's share price. HLS's own stockbroker dumped them as a client after an important event they hosted in a trendy South London wine bar was stormed by animal rights activists. The ALF has also contributed largely to this campaign when one of HLS's biggest shareholders sold all 41 million shares they had for one pence each after they received a bomb threat and had their entire building evacuated for the day.
HLS's Bank: In addition to targeting the shareholders, SHAC has focused in on the bank that gave HLS 22.5 million pound loan after the 1997 investigations. This loan kept HLS from closing and remains in that capacity today. All across the UK demonstrations have taken place outside (and often inside) the banks resulting in an 'alarming' number of customers closing their accounts. The ALF contributed to this aspect of the campaign by disabling dozens of the banks ATM's by inserting into the machines cards covered in super glue. The bank has succumb to animal rights pressure and has decided not to renew the loan, but has granted several extensions so that HLS may secure another loan, so the campaign continues.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty directs a large portion of their energy towards education in an attempt to make the public as well as Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) customers, clients and shareholders aware of the atrocities going on behind the closed doors of HLS.
Educational outreach in public areas and holding informational town meetings has given the general public insight into HLS's labs and the animal abuse, sloppy science and poor worker conduct going on inside. This in turn has inspired people to take action in the fight to close HLS.
SHAC has also educated unknowing HLS clients, shareholders and investors about the torture they were supporting. Upon learning about the horrors these animals were enduring, they cut all ties with HLS. This has caused a significant and steady decline in HLS stock which has already brought them to the brink of foreclosure once already.
To get involved with educational outreach in your area, to obtain fliers to start your own outreach program or to host your own SHAC town meeting in your area, contact SHAC for more information.
SHAC has targeted HLS directly both in the US and in the UK. Not only have they had their offices and laboratories protested, activists have taken the fight to the employees front steps. Up to 70,000 animals linger in fear inside HLS, not knowing if they will be the next to be poisoned to death, punched in the face or
dissected alive. As they sit in their cages at night, in their own congealed blood, vomit and feces, the employees are allowed to go home to live in the comfort of their own homes and relax with their loved ones. They don't have to concern themselves with the well being of the animals who are left alone each night. So it is important that these employees are reminded day and night, at work and at home, that they are responsible for the death of 500 animals a day.
HLS clients, investors and business associates are also the target of protest. By attacking HLS's financial
pillars of support, we are able to remove any sort of financial incentive for businesses or individuals to utilize HLS as a business or as an investment. This had led to HLS's constantly dropping stock price and low client confidence.
To get active with an organization in your area currently targeting HLS, Stephens Inc or other HLS related businesses or individuals, or to start your own
campaign, contact SHAC.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty is comprised of above ground volunteers who spearhead an international, legal campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences. We operate within the boundaries of the law, but recognize, and support, those who choose to operate outside the confines of the legal system.
Big business has shown time and time again their lack of concern for ethics, instead focusing their attention on their profit. Often, simply targeting said business proves fruitless. However, as above ground activists have successfully targeted HLS's financial pillars of support,
underground activists have too targeted HLS's pocketbooks. Unidentified individuals as well as underground cells of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front have engaged in economic
sabotage of HLS and their associates.
They have also spent their time directly intervening and liberating the animals who are slated to die inside of HLS. Animals have been liberated from breeders as well as the
SHAC does not organize any such actions or have any knowledge of who is doing them or when they will happen, but encourage people to support direct action when it happens and those who may participate in it.