Bookmark and Share

Government moves to tackle animal rights extremists

Tough new powers to tackle the activities of animal rights extremists aimed at companies and individuals involved in research with animals came into force today.

Under the new powers against campaigns involving violence and intimidation, it will be a criminal offence to target any scientist, research facility or company in the supply chain with a campaign of unlawful acts including criminal damage, trespass, blackmail and libel.

The penalties will be up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

The Government said that the measures deliver on the Prime Minister's pledge to crack down on the unacceptable behaviour of extremists that directly threatens vital, often life saving, development of new drugs and treatments.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson, said: "Companies have the right to conduct legitimate business free from fear of being attacked. Our pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is a global leader providing more than 22,000 jobs and worth more than £3.6 billion in the UK. It provides essential treatments and medicines that benefit all. These new measures will help safeguard and give confidence to investors and scientists in this cutting edge industry."

Commenting today the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt, said: "Animal rights extremists put lives at risk by endangering vital research that tackles diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer's which affect millions of people in UK. We will not allow their campaign of intimidation to put these important medical advances at risk."

The Government department responsible for the licensing system in animal testing is the Home Office.

Home Office Minster, Paul Goggins, said that people have a "right to campaign lawfully against the use of animals in scientific research, but they do not have the right to engage in acts of intimidation or violence against individuals and firms working in this area".

"These new measures will help to stamp out the abhorrent campaigns of harassment and intimidation that a minority of extremists are engaged in and will protect those engaged in legitimate, lawful work. We will not allow animal rights extremists to threaten these people and the vital work they do," he said.

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act will see the establishment of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on the abolition of the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the National Crime Squad.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

31 January 2005
Government crackdown on animal rights extremists
Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, has announced a series of tough new measures to deal with animal rights extremists who intimidate businesses.
02 May 2007
Thirty-two arrests in animal extremism raids
Police have arrested a total of 32 people in a series of raids targeting animal rights extremists in the UK and Europe. In the UK, raids took place in Glasgow, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Greater London, Merseyside, Worcestershire, Lancashire, Northumbria, Yorkshire, South Wales, Belgium and the Netherlands.
23 August 2005
Guinea pig farm closes following intimidation
A farm, which was targeted by animal rights extremists for six years, has announced that it is to stop breeding guinea pigs for medical research.
01 July 2003
Commons votes to ban hunting with dogs
Labour backbenchers last night humbled the government over an attempt to install a last-minute compromise amendment in the Hunting Bill, when MPs backed a total ban by 362 votes to 154. Today, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael said that it was now conceivable that a total ban on hunting with dogs could be enforced by 2005.
01 May 2007
Police arrest 30 animal rights extremists
Thirty people have been arrested in connection with alleged animal rights extremism in a series of early morning raids carried out by police in the UK and at locations in Europe. Around 300 police officers took part on the operation, which targeted 30 addresses in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.
30 July 2004
Government gets tough on 'animal extremists' reign of terror'
The police are to be given new powers to "put a stop to the animal extremists' reign of terror", according to Home Office Minister Caroline Flint. The tougher stance is designed to deal with animal rights activists who "protest outside people's homes and harass companies", the government announced today.
28 October 2008
Tough Measures Banning 'Preachers Of Hate' Introduced
Tougher measures that would prevent extremists from entering Britain have been outlined by the Home Secretary today. The new rules, announced by Jacqui Smith, will make it easier to exclude those who would enter the UK with the intentions of stirring up religious or racial hatred.
31 May 2006
Pensioner's remains reburied
The body of a pensioner whose remains were dug up and stolen by animal activists have finally been reburied. The body of Gladys Hammond was finally returned to her original grave at St Peter's Church in Yoxall, Staffordshire, where she was originally buried on May 28, 1997.
21 January 2009
Animal Rights Campaigners Jailed
Seven animal rights campaigners who blackmailed companies linked to animal testing group Huntington Life Sciences (HLS) have been jailed.
04 May 2006
Grave theft body identified
Remains found by officers in woodland near Hednesford yesterday have been confirmed as those of pensioner whose body was stolen by animal rights activists. The body of Gladys Hammond was stolen from her grave by animal rights activists in 2004.
03 May 2006
Police discover remains in grave desecration case
Police investigating the desecration of the grave of Gladys Hammond have found human remains. Staffordshire Police said that the remains of a human body had been discovered on Cannock Chase, close to the German War Cemetery at Broadhurst Green, near Hednesford, yesterday afternoon.
11 April 2006
Animal rights protestors admit blackmail charges
Four animal rights protestors have pleaded guilty to blackmail charges in a case where the remains of a pensioner were stolen from her grave.
26 May 2006
Oxford's animal rights injunction extended
Oxford University has been granted an extension of its existing injunction against animal rights activists. The High Court ruling means that an exclusion zone around the site of a biomedical research centre being built in the city will be enlarged. However, it will not be increased by as much as the university had hoped.
01 October 2015
New Consumer Rights Act For Digital Content Introduced
A new Consumer Rights Act has been introduced covering digital content, giving customers downloading music or buying ebooks new legal rights. The new Act has been created as shoppers increasingly spend money on digital content, with more than £2.8 billion spent on downloaded music, video and games in 2014, up 18% from the previous year.
24 March 2005
Ethiopian army branded ‘murderers and rapists’
The Ethiopian military has committed widespread murder, rape and torture against the Anuak population since December 2003, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released today.