Keith's View

Mob Attack SHAC

The politically motivated arrests of 30 animal rights campaigners on May 1st 2007 by ‘over 700’ police officers is the but the latest indication of the extremes this government will go to try and appease the pharmaceutical giants.

One man had his collar bone broken, dogs were released onto the streets as doors were smashed in and non violent people handcuffed and locked in cells, in response to what? Violent attacks on researchers? Firebombings? Nothing of the sort. Protesting. Simply public protests involving megaphones, whistles and placards and a stated determination to end vivisection at Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Today two of those arrested, Greg and Natasha Avery, have been remanded into custody charged with conspiracy to blackmail ie campaigning to close the monstrous HLS between 1999 to the point of arrest. Heather James is still being questioned and will likely be remanded Monday. These are those central to the campaign. Everyone else bar one has been released mostly without charge except for those considered most closely associated with the campaign who are likewise charged with conspiracy to blackmail and bailed on condition they have no contact with other activists, their friends. Few if any of those arrested have been asked about any criminal offences only of their role as campaigners. Nine charged with conspiracy, two with specific offences of blackmail.

Ongoing campaigns by activists against those who use extreme violence against the weakest and most vulnerable in our society have had a stunning impact on the once secretive world of those who do animal research and testing. Endless exposes by activists have shown to the world the terrible violence inflicted on live animals in the name of profit and a hopeless search for miracle cures. These are the reasons why the might of the state is trying to silence vivisection's vocal opponents. A simple independent inquiry into this whole area of animal testing would solve the many problems it has given us - the dangerous drugs and poisonous chemicals we're surrounded by, the millions of tortured souls dying in the secret government sponsored labs, the paint strippered cars and the public protests that cause those in industry their 'fear'.

Hundreds of police officers smashing up animal rescue centres, violently attacking innocent people, confiscating computers and detaining opponents of vivisection is not what the public want of their police. At a time when we are said to be under threat from religious fanatics intent on mass murder, when street crime increases and violent physical attacks by hunt supporters and others go undetected it seems perverse that such resources can be made available to mighty industry.

It seems unlikely that silencing public displays of opposition to the disaster of vivisection will solve any of these problems. But is it what we want our society to be, where its leaders utilise the police so wholeheartedly to crush dissent at the whim of corporate concerns? If history is any indication this is unlikely to be the last we've heard from the protestors.

Huntingdon Life Sciences are $100 million in debt they have no banking facilities but for the Bank of England and are insured by the UK tax payer. They are hated by everyone. No matter how many opponents of their vile business are imprisoned and harassed there are many more who pledge to close them down. There may well be a few good people locked in prison cells but there are many who aren't. The end of the story? For HLS all the indicators are it's very close.

From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann