During the midnight hours of 6th January 2008, Animal Liberation Front (ALF) volunteers gained entry to Highgate Rabbit Farm, in Lincolnshire, who imprison animals waiting to suffer and die in the miserable vivisection industry (Pictures | Video). 129 rabbits were liberated with £70,000 worth of damage caused to the farm and its vehicles.
Following the raid, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) reported the farm subsequently stopped supplying rabbits for animal testing, in a plan to close down the business. However, after instruction from the police, the farm reluctantly resumed supplying rabbits to laboratories, one of which is Europe's biggest and most exposed lab Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).
Therefore as part of a global week of action against vivisection breeders, SHAC have called a UK national demonstration for Saturday 26th September, directly outside the farm, in an attempt to save the rest of the animals and close down the lab supplier.
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On 13th October 2008, four people were arrested after their car was stopped in Lincolnshire, with CCTV footage later showing that they had been on the property of the Highgate Rabbit Farm. Known as the Highgate Four, they were later charged with 'conspiracy to commit criminal damage' and section 145 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA), 'conspiracy to interfere with contractual relations so as to harm an animal research oganisation'. In May 2009, one of the defendants was found not guilty, whilst the other three pleaded guilty to reduced charges and await sentencing.
The closing down of Highgate would be a major victory for the anti-vivisection movement. Highgate is one of only nine known remaining breeders of animals for laboratories in the UK. During the 1990s, campaigners successfully closed Oxford University Park Farm, Regal Rabbits, Sky Commercial Rabbit Farm, Shamrock farm, Consort Beagles, Hylyne Rabbits and Hillgrove Cat Farm. Darley Oaks guinea pig farm was also closed in 2006.
An Introduction: Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)
Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) are in the business of poisoning healthy animals to death. They are a contract testing operation that tests products for others. They have three sites two in the UK and one in the US. Five hundred animals are put to death every day by HLS, killing tens of thousands of horses, cats, dogs, primates, rabbits, hamsters, rats, mice and fish amongst others each year.
SHAC was set with the sole aim of closing HLS down. The campaign was set up at the end of 1999 by a group of activists who had successfully closed down Consort kennels and Hillgrove cat farm. Both campaigns ended with the businesses closing down and hundreds of animals being safely rehomed instead of tortured in labs.
Shareholders, stockbrokers, market makers, suppliers and clients have all dumped HLS, including the world’s largest companies; all four main high street banks in the UK, the world’s largest financial institution, the world’s second largest bank and the world’s largest insurance broker. Huntingdon are $72 million dollars in debt with NO commercial bank and insurance company anywhere in the world prepared to deal with them.
HLS’ key weakness is their finances and by throwing the spotlight on those funding their abuse campaigners across the globe have managed to bring HLS to the brink of financial collapse. Throughout the campaign activists have made financial history as one by one major corporations have yielded to protester power and severed their links with the failing company.
Campaigners use evidence obtained in seven undercover investigations at their different laboratories in the UK and USA where HLS workers have been caught on film punching puppies in the face, simulating sex with animals in their care, cutting open primates while they are still alive and falsifying experiments to get products on the market. HLS workers have even been caught drunk at work and dealing drugs at the labs.
Huntingdon Life Sciences have a criminal record from a British court of law for breaking the Companies’ Act. They are the only UK laboratory to ever have their licence revoked by the government.
An Introduction: Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) carries out direct action against animal abuse in the form of rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through the damage and destruction of property.
The ALF's short-term aim is to save as many animals as possible and directly disrupt the practice of animal abuse. Their long term aim is to end all animal suffering by forcing animal abuse companies out of business. It is a nonviolent campaign, activists take all precautions not to harm any animal (human or otherwise).
Because ALF actions may be against the law, activists work anonymously, either in small groups or individually, and do not have any centralized organization or coordination. The ALF consists of small autonomous groups of people all over the world who carry out direct action according to the ALF guidelines.
Previous features: Largest Shareholder Barclays and Top Investors Dump HLS | World Day for Animals in Laboratories March | SHAC supporter unlawfully arrested at Barclays Bank | SHAC Shakedown City Investors | Top HLS Investors Dump Shares | HLS Exposed - Yet Again! SHAC To Shakedown Financial Investors In The City | 50 Years For The UK SHAC 7 | Anti-vivisection campaigners convicted of blackmail | Largest HLS Investor Dumps All Shares | SHAC Prepares For National March & Rally | Victory for animal rights campaigners | Activist Imprisoned for Shouting | Fisher Scientific Embarrassed Over Links with HLS | SHAC World Day for Lab Animals | Asahi Glass Protesters Harassed by Police | "March Against the Murderers"
IMC UK Features