AR-News: DAILY MAIL (London): THE ANIMALS OF HATRED

Karen Dawn KarenDawn at DawnWatch.com
Thu Oct 16 12:14:38 EDT 2003


The Daily Mail takes letters at: letters at dailymail.co.uk

DAILY MAIL (London)
October 15, 2003

 ED_3RD; Pg. 34; Pg. 35

 THE ANIMALS OF HATRED

JO-ANN GOODWIN


Baseball bats and axes are the weapons of choice in their campaign of
terror. Now a Mail investigation reveals the horrifying world of animal
rights fanatics - and how innocent animal lovers are funding them

SCENE one is common enough in the High Street of any market town: an
unobtrusive stand - a trestle table, covered perhaps with a green blanket -
manned by a well-meaning volunteer, sometimes an elderly lady.

On display are pictures which are deliberately upsetting, pictures of
miserable monkeys and suffering beagles designed to grab both the heart and
the purse strings. Many of us have willingly signed petitions and given cash
to the 'worthy cause' which pledges to stamp out the torment animals endure
because of needless scientific experimentation.

Scene two is disturbingly different - they came in the early hours of the
morning, four hooded thugs trying to smash down the door.

Besieged in his Home Counties house, the company executive desperately
phoned the police and prayed they would arrive in time.

His wife and terrified young daughter were hiding upstairs. They feared for
their lives. The attackers had activated rape alarms and thrown them around
the house. The noise was unbelievable. Then came the crack of broken
windows.

Thankfully, the police made it and the masked men fled.

The executive was left shaken, drained and utterly bewildered. This was
England, 2003. How could this brutal outrage be allowed to happen?

The answer is simple and it lies with a small, ultra-sinister group of
animal rights extremists known as Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty - SHAC for
short - after the name of the of the world class Cambridge-based medical
testing centre they are determined to shut down: Huntingdon Life Sciences.

SHAC run innocent-looking High Street stalls throughout the country, raising
funds from passers-by who have no conception that the group will stop at
nothing to secure its aims.

THIS week, SHAC was subjected to a draconian interim exclusion order by the
High Court on account of the violence and intimidatory behaviour of its
supporters.

Mr Justice Owen's judgment means every single one of its supporters is
banned from going within 100 yards of some 50 specified houses and
commercial premises.

The order was requested by the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers'
Association. The Japanese companies' representatives in this country have
become targets simply because they are Huntingdon clients.

Indeed, it was a Japanese executive and his family who were attacked in the
middle of the night by the thugs with rape alarms.

But any employee connected with Huntingdon, however remotely, is under
threat. SHAC's campaign has meant workers facing constant abuse and
intimidation. Baseball bats, acid and ammonia are their weapons of choice -
and parcels of excrement are regularly pushed through their victims' letter
boxes.

Abusive telephone calls and death threats are commonplace. Innocent family
men have had their lives ruined because these activists have publicly
labelled them perverts or paedophiles; wives and mothers have had their '
services' as prostitutes advertised for sale with their home numbers printed
in contact magazines.

SHAC has been running an unrelenting, vicious campaign of hatred - and with
a terrifying degree of success.

So concerned was the Japanese embassy that it contacted Tony Blair, and
Japanese firms have written asking him to ensure the 'safety of all our
employees. . . in your great country'.

The High Court exclusion orders were a desperate measure, granted under the
1997 Harassment Act - the 'anti-stalker law'.

The 1997 Act wasn't meant for such purposes, but as Chief Inspector Steve
Pearl of Cambridgeshire Police says, 'there doesn't seem to be any other
legislation to protect employees at present'.

The Government is looking at new legislation. The need for effective redress
is urgent. SHAC is issuing ultimatums to companies warning that they must
pledge never to work with HLS or 'suffer the consequences'.

And the bullying gets results. SHAC claims credit for forcing the withdrawal
from involvement with HLS of major conglomerates such as Merrill Lynch,
Charles Schwab and Deloitte Touche.

It is small wonder when one examines the unscrupulous methods SHAC employ -
such as the deliberate smearing of company employees as paedophiles.

Simon (not his real name)is a manager at a company targeted by SHAC.

He lives in an attractive suburb near London. SHAC mailed more than 500 of
his neighbours. The letter - written by a woman - claimed Simon was a
convicted paedophile who had raped her as a child. She warned parents to
protect their children from him.

Subsequently police visited every household in Simon's area, to reassure
parents that the allegations in the letter were false and malicious.

Cambridgeshire Police currently have 15 such cases on their books. This
despicable tactic has wasted enormous amounts of police time.

Privately, companies admit to giving in to terror tactics and intimidation -
although none will risk a public statement. 'We don't want to attract any
more attention from SHAC,' one said.

It is hard not to condemn such spinelessness. But some targets have shown
outstanding courage.

Mary, a woman in her 60s and living alone, was a victim because she worked
in a SHAC-targeted company.

In January, activists arrived at 3am and smashed every window in her house.
But Mary wouldn't give in to SHAC yobs. She went to work as normal.

SHAC supporters smashed her windows a second time. And hung an effigy of
Mary outside her home. Tied to the swinging dummy was a sign - R.I.P. Mary,
Animal Abusing Bitch.

Mary ignored the warning and -continued to work.

In cash terms alone, SHAC activities cost Cambridgeshire Police over 1
million a year, and that doesn't even account for the enormous waste of
police time.

Astoundingly, experts estimate the mayhem is the work of just 25 to 40
activists. They claim to be politically motivated and they use false names
to escape detection.

Their finances are secret, but money appears plentiful. In the U.S. the FBI
classifies them as a 'domestic terrorist group'. So who are these
terrorists?

SHAC's spokesman and leader is 37-year-old Greg Avery - known as Greg
Harrison, or Greg Jennings.

Pudgy faced and stocky, Avery was 15 when he joined the cause and became a
vegan. He trained as a tailor, but animal rights became a fulltime job.

He also found romance through animal rights. Avery met Heather James, 36, in
1994 at a protest against the export of live animals for slaughter and they
fell in love 'instantly'.

AVERY and James led demonstrations against a cattery in Oxfordshire which
supplied cats for laboratory use - it closed in 1999. Avery claimed credit
for the closure and became an animal rights hero.

Then, in 1999, he formed SHAC - and the violence intensified. Since then
there have been 11 car bombings against HLS employees as well as the death
threats, beatings, and endless abuse and harassment.

Avery has been at the forefront. In March 2000 he served four months for
conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

In 1998, he was sentenced to six months for affray, and later that year
served 14 days in prison for offences against the Public Order Act.

But prison has done little to stop the offensive. A senior HLS manager was
temporarily blinded by ammonia thrown in his eyes. In February 2001,
Huntingdon's director Brian Cass was savagely beaten by three people
wielding baseball bats.

Mr Cass sustained serious head injuries, prompting Detective Chief Inspector
Tom Hobbs of Cambridgeshire Police to say at the time: 'It's only by sheer
luck that we are not beginning a murder inquiry.' Yet Avery repeatedly
stresses his opposition to

violence 'against people or animals'.

In November 2001, Avery and James - plus a third activist, Natasha Constance
Dellemagne - stood accused of conspiracy to incite a public nuisance. SHAC
watchers had noted Dellemagne's increasing presence at demos. Her dark,
gaunt figure could always be found close to Avery and gossip within the
'movement' was rife.

All three were sentenced to 12 months in prison (six suspended).

Embarrassingly for such career radicals, Avery and James were model
prisoners: both were let out with remission for good behaviour.

Dellemagne was made of sterner stuff, and defiantly served her full six
months. When she was released in spring 2002 she and Avery became an 'item'
and Heather James accepted defeat. She dropped out of SHAC and vanished for
several months.

But she didn't stay away for long.

Heather returned to SHAC - and seemingly to Avery . . . and to Natasha.

Curiously the threesome now all live together.

Stranger still, the two women appear to have become close friends. Within
the tight-knit world of animal rights, speculation about the lifestyle of
'Greedy Greg' is rife.

Whatever the truth concerning his private life, nowadays Greg and the girls
are living in style. Home is a spacious cottage, in Surrey, situated at the
end of a private road known as 'millionaires' row'. There is no mortgage
owing on the property, which is valued at more than 500,000.

Surrounded by woods and fields, the cottage belongs to another SHAC
sympathiser. In fact Natasha and Heather share their living space with a
fluctuating gaggle of women known dismissively as 'Greg's Harem'.

So how do the leading lights of SHAC finance their lifestyles?

Presumably the cottage is rentfree. But even the most dedicated activists
need money. As they are not available for work - being fulltime devotees to
their cause - it would be difficult to claim benefit, although some SHAC
stalwarts do claim both income support and the higher-rated incapacity
benefit.

SHAC raises cash to fund its campaigns at stalls set up every weekend in
towns. It says every penny goes towards funding the 'shut Huntingdon'
campaign.

Some SHAC watchers think, however, the money is used as personal income.

SHAC has no published accounts or financial records.

But despite the irregularity of such an arrangement, perhaps it's better
after all that the donated money is spent in the pub - rather than on
funding some of SHAC's so-called 'actions'. Next time you pass an animal
rights stall pause before making your donation - consider the sort of
campaigning your cash will finance.

Animal rights activists such as SHAC and the Animal Liberation Front often
hand out leaflets at demonstrations. These leaflets are cheaply printed and
carry no identification - probably because many of their suggestions are
legally dubious and morally repugnant.

For example in one, SHAC activists are encouraged to stick contact cards
which advertise the services of prostitutes in phone boxes but carry the
home numbers of women scientists or the wives of targeted employees.

'Vermin Patrol Newsletter', a typed sheet handed out at SHAC demos, advises
how 'to f*** with the heads of the workers' at a target company. The
newsletter explains that 'keeping people awake at night and mentally scarred
is the prerogative'.

But in the spectrum of SHAC activities, this is relatively mild.

When violent actions take place, the underground Animal Liberation Front
(ALF) will usually step in and claim 'credit'.

However, there are many observers who think that SHAC and the ALF are
virtually one and the same. 'The ALF, being an underground organisation,
takes the blame to provide a fig-leaf for SHAC which claims it is just a
political outfit,' says Brian Cass of HLS.

And earlier this year, another group, Stop Primate Experimentation At
Cambridge or SPEAC, was formed to oppose Cambridge University's prestigious
new primate research laboratory.

For some activists, this was their chance to escape Avery's domination. The
group's joint leaders - Mel Broughton and John Curtin - are both seasoned
animal rights campaigners. Neither man is an admirer of Avery.

Broughton was caught carrying firebombs into Huntingdon Life Sciences and
sentenced to seven years in jail in 1997. He is seen as one of the few
genuine 'hard men' in the movement.

John Curtin used to be a 'hard man' too. In 1984 he was arrested whilst
attempting to dig up the body of the Duke of Beaufort in an anti-hunting
protest. But Curtin has mellowed. He is a convert to Buddhism. As a
different form of protest, in 2001, Curtin organised a mass meditation
outside HLS.

But whatever the nature of the protest, HLS has become hardened to it - and
is determined to carry on. The campaign to shut it down within 'three years'
has now lasted more than four.

Public opinion is turning against the fanatics, and HLS staff have become
grimly determined. 'There is something of the Dunkirk spirit' said a
spokesman. 'We are not going to let these b****** get us down.' Britain has
the tightest regulations in the world covering the use of animals in
research. And supporters point to the millions of lives that have been saved
by such work.

Insulin, organ transplants, kidney dialysis, pacemakers, polio vaccine and
antibiotics are all discoveries based on animal research.

But, of course, at that unobtrusive High Street stall SHAC fails to mention
any of this. Nor is there any hint of baseball bats, rape alarms or acid
attacks that could be just around the corner




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