SchNEWS Of The World


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SHAC - A year in review

It has been a pretty eventful year for the campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences as Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) continues to have more influence over the shares than the company does.

The highlight of the year however was getting the biggest backer, Stephens Inc to pull out of HLS, with them passing on both their shares and their loans. Stephens are a huge private bank well known for their dodgy dealings, but even they were unable to handle the pressure put on them in the UK and in the US. Stephens, the largest shareholder, had bailed the company out in January when the NatWest loan was called in, and gave them more money. Thus they were directly responsible for HLS continued survival. Stephens went all out to defend their investment, and swore they would never give in to the animal rights activists. But in January this year they caved.

This was the biggest of a good number of companies falling by the wayside after SHAC turned their attention on them. HLS were turned into pariahs in financial circles as more large shareholders sold up and they lost all their stockbrokers and market makers which enabled the shares to trade.

It got so bad for them they attempted to move the shares to the US, but as the accompanying article tells, that too is being successfully blocked. Never has a company had its public presence so completely seized by a pressure group.

However, the campaign did not stop there. Customers and workers continued to be targeted with numerous home visits. One unexpected home visit was when 300 protestors switched county and turned up on the door step of managing director Brian Cass's house! Mobile demos, both in the City of London and around the country continue to be highly successful, and the main focus of anger has now been redirected towards HLS's insurers Marsh UK. There have been large numbers of run-ins, lock-ons and just general picketing of offices. And SHAC has truly gone global, with demos in numerous European countries and as far away as South America and New Zealand.

Unfortunately, all this success has attracted some rather insane policing as democracy gets mangled by the powers that be. There was a big show trial of three SHAC people in November. The police and company were very hopeful that all three would be sent down for a very long time, and that would be the end of the campaign. How very wrong they were. They were found guilty of incitement over a Scooby Doo cartoon, but by the time you read this they will all be free. To the police and HLS's dismay, the campaign simply continued from strength to strength.

SHAC has declared that 2002 is the year to finish HLS, and they believe the end is in sight. The company is on the run, and the animal rights people keep winning the victories as persistence pays off.