Some Comments on the SHAC sentencing

NETCU try and fail to crush us.

So another 6 SHAC activists are hauled over the coals and 5 of them are sent to prison. Did this stop SHAC? Hardly, over the sentencing which took 3 days demonstrations took place simultaneously in London and at the gates of the 2 HLS sites as well as their beagle suppliers at Harlan Huntingdon and their rabbit breeders at Highgate Lincolnshire. There was even a brief foray into Cambridgeshire Police HQ looking for NETCU’s office on the day of sentencing. HLS and their backers have been left in no doubt that there are many who will continue to fight their violence and terror despite the fact that they have the full backing of the state.

So let us examine the crap that has been sprouted all over the media about both HLS and SHAC

1. Huntingdon Life Sciences is announced in hushed tones as some sort of saviour of humankind. A medical research facility no less who save babies and cure the blind, the sick and the lame. The messianic fervour with which this pile of thugs and crooks is lauded is somewhat vomit inducing so we have had another look at their website and fair play to them they tell us what they get up to behind the wire and it is not nice and no it is not “necessary” they don’t go as far as Safepharm and show us footage but hey ho.
HLS list their activities as follows:
Crop protection
Food Services
Chemicals Industry
Now there are many arguments about the validity of testing medicines on animals elsewhere, we will not get into that suffice to say that a dog is not a human and it is somewhat haphazard to extrapolate information from testing something on an entirely different species as well as it being fundamentally wrong from an animal rights perspective so we intend to look at the other decidedly non medical aspects of HLS.

The Chemicals industry is justified by HLS saying that “There are very few areas in our daily lives where we do not come into contact with one chemical or another. From our day-to-day diets, to the fuel in our cars, to medicinal products”. And so animals must suffer and die. For those of you who believe that animal rights activists should forgo all medical treatment why not take this further? HLS are of course right it is impossible to live a life free of synthetic chemicals so should we all disappear to a cave somewhere or fight for a world in which we are not ingesting, inhaling, eating and absorbing through our skin compounds which may cause us harm? Drive or take a lift in a car or a bus and you too are a hypocrite if we follow this to it’s logical conclusion. Fridge coolants are tested on animals, ditto paints, artificial scents, plastics ad infinitum. It would be a good thing if it was all labelled as animal tested. But really is this medical, life saving research getting a new air freshener on the market, is it really?

Vetinary is hardly better. HLS are not in this out of caring for much loved pets their main concern is keeping intensive farming going linking in with the meat industry in a web of abuse.
“only healthy animals produce safe and wholesome food”
“ To obtain the same food production level as today without vetinary medicines experts say it would require an increase by 25% of the poultry population and an increase of 89%of the cattle population”. In other words pump poultry and cattle full of antibiotics, cram them into tiny spaces, let them live in their own shit and go crazy as long as people can eat as many corpses as they want that is what counts. Meat, dairy and eggs are luxury items but we suppose that as the Western diet induces diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cancer that it all helps HLS’s profits to promote it. By the way Cargill are an HLS customer, they supply Mc Donalds with all of its chicken in the UK, they can cut off the hock burns from these poor creatures and coat them in breadcrumbs. A slaughterhouse in Hereford is an absolute hell on earth which kills thousands daily and abuses its workforce. Cargill also have scant regard for human rights and have a mission to destroy the Amazonian rainforest and enforce GM foods on us. What nice playmates for HLS are Cargill and Mc Donalds their very names synonymous with corporate greed, environmental desecration and the suppression of dissenting views.

HLS have “induced disease models” I.e. they make healthy individuals very sick, treat them, murder them and cut them up.
They induce mastitis in dairy cows with staph aureus and E.coli (endotoxin) for acute mastitis just so people can drink milk (and pus). 70% of humans cannot actually digest dairy past infancy so it is not necessary at all to inflict suffering in this way for a luxury product.

HLS also have “Respiratory and digestive models in swine”. Now why might that be “necessary”? No-one needs to eat the corpses of pigs, furthermore if pigs were not treated like pieces of machinery in factory farms left in their own crap and breathing methane all day they would not have breathing problems. HLS go so low as to infect piglets with E.coli at weaning which suggests that the bacterium is an issue in factory farming and a threat to an unsuspecting public. Do bear in mind that pig and poultry urine and faeces along with antibiotic residues finds its way into drinking water. “Superbugs” are partly the responsibility of the factory farms and companies like HLS who encourage the practice of treating living, sentient beings as though they were machines.

Whilst HLS accuse animal rights activists of terror campaigns they have allied themselves with notorious human rights abusers. No-one has ever cut off the arms and legs of children as Shell did in the Niger Delta, no-one has killed and maimed thousands in a chemical explosion as did Union Carbide in Bhopal. Nor have any vegans been complicit in the Holocaust like Bayer and Roche. When we see those who have actually killed and tortured humans for just a little more profit in the dock of an international court and facing prison maybe then we will breathe a sigh of relief that the tide is turning but this is fantasy land. At present these people are “law abiding”, “businessmen” , “victims of extremism” we need to expose them for what they are whilst being approachable and kind to those who are unwittingly embroiled in the horror of corporate atrocities or who wish to change aiming to win hearts and minds wherever possible. Many within HLS and allied companies have indeed helped the animals within by passing on information or leaving them long may it continue. To those within any laboratory, the police or any corporation which abuses others who have doubts or dislike what is going on you can speak out, you can leave, you can report illegal practices, think and then act in whatever way you can.

2. A quick media round up has led to the following somewhat annoying and generalised slack journalism and cliches on comments boards and in the main articles/televised bits.

The Daily Mail reprinted a NETCU press release in effect. DCI Andy Robbins clearly enjoying his 15 minutes of fame is quoted as saying that “they” posted hoax bombs and of course Prosecutor Alistair Nisbet was wheeled out of the closet again to chunter on about extremism, he who personally wrote to many of us in a failed attempt to force us to reveal pgp keys we did not even have, (some of the victims of his threats of sending us to prison were elderly and did not even own a computer or know how to use one). None of us are in a position to know whether or not any of the defendants let alone all of them posted hoax bombs but of course as this is a conspiracy trial the Crown did not have to prove anything not even to the balance of probability standard required in the civil courts. The Crown had to prove that the defendants knew one another and were part of a campaign against HLS and that some illegal activity had occurred. This could apply to many different campaigns and not knowing those carrying out illegal acts or approving, let alone having any influence over them would appear to be no defence. The defendants were not prosecuted on their own actions alone, that much is crystal clear and it is an abomination.

Readers and viewers comments were a mix of supportive for the defendants and the following mad stuff;

One idiot says that they should pay for their own prosecution and imprisonment. Well if so should this not apply to all “criminals”? Why specify animal rights activists.

There is the mind numbingly boring argument about how the defendants should be denied all health care. Well as anti vivisectionists we want experimentation on sentients to stop we do not want the entire NHS to collapse. We live in a world in which it is normal to oppress and kill the weaker members of society. We enjoy eating spring onions but we abhor the forced child labour uncovered in the Malverns this week. If we were to protest against child labour would we be hypocritical if we ate spring onions? We are opposed to man made green house gases but just by living we are part of the problem. We are opposed to the war in Iraq but pay taxes that make it possible. We are disgusted by the way in which all the oil companies behave (all of whom are HLS customers by the way) but it is impossible to completely extricate oneself from a society totally (and dangerously) dependant on oil. To campaign for change does not mean that we extricate ourselves from every single thing tested on animals for that would be very impractical. We want change for the future which does not mean starting from some animal rights year zero in medical terms. Many drugs that have been tested on animals and then used by humans are valuable and life saving we do not wish to deny them to anyone but we do question the methodology on scientific grounds, ponder the treatments thrown down the pan because they killed rats but might have helped people and are outraged at the scant regard for life that is endemic in our society. We are animal rights activists and we do not believe that a human is any more important than a mouse for example. We have through our labour, forced taxation and through VAT paid for the NHS, many of us have given years of service to that great institution, so no-one has the right to dictate to us that we alone in the entire population should be refused treatment.

Of course we then go on to “if one of your family had cancer blah, blah , blah”. Well here’s the way it is. Surprising as it may be animal rights activists do not live in some bubble which protects us from illness and disease. We have loved ones who get ill and die, we ourselves get ill and die. We have recently lost a lovely lady who fought hard for animals to bladder cancer. Getting cancer, being mashed to a pulp by police/hunters/circus freaks/ vivisectors, having sick loved ones does not change our views on vivisection. For ourselves we navigate out treatment, refusing some of it and accepting what we individually deem acceptable and for some it does mean refusing all treatment. For our loved ones that is their decision not ours unless they are very young or unable to decide in which case we have to decide with health professionals what is for the best just like anyone else. We cannot in law deny medical treatment for our dependants even if we wanted to.

Some have said that the defendants should have got 25 years. Right so being vaguely aware that someone might have painted a car, sending an email, campaigning against animal abuse warrants more punishment than mass murder? Of course at the same time someone can take a beloved family member, torture them, kill them and not receive more than six months in prison. The laws that supposedly exist to protect non-humans are hardly fearsome. In comparison really ask yourselves who is more scary a group of vegans wielding a spray can or a gang of dog fighters or badger baiters? The state has deemed that dog fighting and rolling is a minor matter despite the fact that humans are terrorised as well, so minor in fact that a charity the RSPCA is delegated to deal with the prosecution and good people pay for it twice through taxation and then through making donations they can ill afford after heart rending appeals. The priorities here are very mixed up huge rich multinationals get the platinum service from the state in protecting their interests, ordinary folk are bled dry to pay for a vague attempt at justice. No disrespect to the RSPCA who have done some good work but why are a charity prosecuting offences?

This leads onto the general idea that we live in a democratic society and therefore protest peacefully, get laws changed if you want to help those being abused an oft quoted sentiment and one endorsed by NETCU in their press release. We are all brought up with this notion that we live in a democracy and that petitions and parliament work so ordinary folk may be excused for this perhaps. If would be churlish to say that no improvements have ever been made through legislation. People are no longer hung at Tyburn in front of a howling mob, children are no longer forced up chimneys, women are no longer the property of their male relatives. HOWEVER it is extremely naïve and indeed simplistic to state that there is some sort of formula to protesting in a way that will not invite prosecution. We have attended demonstrations where police have attended and been happy with what we were doing, everyone felt safely in the realms of legality, no-one was upset but those demonstrations have actually been used as evidence against activists using the charges of SOCPA, Harassment and Blackmail. If the police present at the scene of the actual crimes do not think crimes are being committed what hope do activists have in determining what is legal and what is not? Have an effective campaign against powerful interests and you will face scrutiny, they will try and prosecute you, they will try and stop you and if you are not intimidated they will try and imprison you or hurt you. This is how it works nothing to do with legality, fairness or justice. The National Public Order Intelligence Unit on the 7th floor of Scotland Yard has files on 1822 activists who they deem to be “domestic extremists” at the last count and this includes many individuals with no criminal record who have led blameless lives. It is a blacklist of people who the political police under the leadership of Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell deem as warranting state intrusion and files contain misinformation, inaccuracies, rumour, opinions of individual officers and judgements about individuals. This is the way things are so let us stop pretending that the police are all nice fluffy and fair. They are not, they are the agents of the state, they are politicised and some of them positively enjoy being the lackeys of the corporations. We do need to regard the police and the courts as our enemies and be very wary even if very occasionally they may work in our interests. Very very few police officers will maintain an honest and fair approach if it means going up against their colleagues, respect to those who do but it is far safer to maintain as a general rule that the canteen culture will ALWAYS win.
Therefore animal rights activists standing outside a circus handing out leaflets are “violent”, the circus freak wielding a screwdriver and threatening to stab them is not violent. They have actually managed to get the public to believe this shit by ignoring complaints from animal rights activists concerning violence, death threats, arson, dead animals dumped at people’s homes etc and hyping up every demonstration as some sort of riot. Individual police officers may try and take complaints seriously but they will be thwarted by the CPS at some stage. Of course sometimes animal abusers and police officers do get prosecuted and have complaints against them upheld, the police DO pay out for assault and unlawful arrest so it is not all bad but our argument is that there is a definite inproportionate bias against those who fight animal abuse.
If the Hunting Act and violent crimes associated with hunting were enforced with the same vigour many hunters would be facing years in prison. Changing the law is not the answer, hunting is supposed to be banned which we all know is a joke. There are laws which govern the treatment of animals in abattoirs, farms and laboratories which remain for the most part unenforced. Those who try and gather evidence of these crimes themselves face prosecution, hunt monitors have been arrested, it is a criminal offence for us when undercover to film experiments no matter how illegal or disgusting. When these offences are prosecuted the penalties are hardly worth the effort. We need change through the grassroots not through legislation, for each one of us to take responsibility for our actions. If HLS and abattoirs had glass walls not they would be smashed by an outraged public.

Violence kept getting mentioned on the news. As far as we know this was a conspiracy case and actions which were not known about by the defendants were pinned on them. They were made scapegoats for every little thing done in the fight against HLS which is totally unacceptable. Now if one of us blows up a lab’, or indeed does send needles off in the post it would be understandable if the police wished to follow up a case against us. But here we have a case wherein some people were involved in SHAC and persons unknown did some illegal stuff. Of course the state has not had to produce any evidence that each defendant did this or that apart from maybe being loud at demos and involved with SHAC thus is the nature of conspiracy charges. As far as we can assess no-one was physically harmed by any of the defendants who now face longer in prison than a rapist. Let us get away from this condemnation of violence. Vivisection is violent it kills non human animals directly and human ones indirectly. The police are violent and many activists involved in peaceful demonstrations against vivisection have been very badly hurt by both police and security guards with quite a few broken limbs and smashed heads. Prison is violent. Violence is used routinely and systematically by HLS, HLS’s corporate mates and the state why should they have a monopoly? Actually they do because we are not violent by nature and is property damage violent or not? The charge of violence is a hypocrisy . However we should think about our actions and reflect on them. Secondary or tertiary targets (of a separate nature to direct abuse e.g DHL) mean staff who do not know who HLS is and more to the point may be sympathetic, shouting at them whilst wearing a hoodie may not be the best way of winning the day. Engaging people in conversation is far more worrying to the authorities and rightly so.

The BBC website had an interesting tale of woe from a supplier whose “life was under siege……The 3 men and 3 Women responsible for turning his life and the life of his family upside down have now been sentenced”. He was targeted for 7 years so let us look at the ages of Alfie 21 and Nicole 22, the arrests took place in 2007 which takes us back to 2000/2001 when Alfie was 11 and Nicole 12. Are the BBC seriously suggesting that 2 school children collected sanitary towels and needles to send to this man? It is far more likely that they were at school and blissfully unaware of either SHAC or HLS. We are neither condemning or condoning what this happened here because we do not know the whole story but is it really the case that all 6 defendants were soley responsible for what happened to him? We suspect not and that this is an appalling misrepresentation of the facts. Of course none of us have any way of knowing if what he said is true or not. Prosecutor Alistair Nisbet added “These defendants were not legitimate animal welfare campaigners”. No Alistair they were not, animal rights is an entirely different matter to animal welfare.

Some comments put the focus on testing products on prisoners. This sort of simplistic and facist statement implies that all prisoners are scum who deserve to be tortured and killed. So some young lad who carries a knife to defend himself from the local gang, he deserves to be tortured does he? What about Ruth Wyner the director of a homeless shelter in Cambridge who the police fitted up and was sent to prison for “allowing” drug dealing, so she deserves to be dissected eh? What about the “illegal” immigrant who is escaping torture and death at home why not poison them as well and make notes as they choke on their own vomit and blood? Maybe the drug mule who desperate for money to send her mother to hospital makes a decision that lands her in prison for longer than a child rapist why not use her for batch testing botox? Thousands of people who are in prison are there because they are poor, frightened, victims, sick or for other political reasons, millions who will never even be arrested commit the most horrendous crimes. To state that it is OK to torture and kill them as an alternative to animals at HLS is quite frankly a disgrace and akin to wanting the Nazi death camps to reopen and before someone says they will only use the really bad people like child abusers well we are glad that you have such a touching faith in our criminal justice system, we do not and where exactly do you start to draw the line as to who is a “good” person and who should be exterminated? Many innocent people do go to prison, many guilty people do not this is a fact of life. Interestingly those who are opposed to all the “violence” have no problem with publicly stating that SHAC defendants should be experimented on maybe in jest but many a true word as the saying goes.

3. NETCU issued an announcement on their website on the same day as the sentencing which said:

“In 2004 a major police investigation was launched into the criminal activities linked to SHAC……Specialist support was also provided by the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Unit”. This covered several different forces.

We need to learn from these cases not just in the animal rights movement but across all movements. Effectively the police have successfully charged people with crimes committed by others, without the conspiracy charge it is highly unlikely that the defendants would have faced anything near as serious.

We are supposed to be reassured by “the police service remains committed to facilitating the peaceful protest of the majority”, what like they did at the G20 and Kingsnorth? Do note that at nearly every protest the police have a little copy of the NETCU handbook designed to hinder and disrupt peaceful, legal demonstrations, that the FIT teams are still lurking albeit in a less threatening way. The police have decided that protest is at best an inconvenience at worst terrorism. We need to be aware of the law as it stands and how it is misinterpreted by the police, we need to regroup, rethink, learn from experience, evolve and carry on . We also need to make it clear to those who oppose our stance against human supremacy that if we can be isolated and persecuted in this way that this will inevitably apply to other groups first the environmentalists, antifacists, anarchists and anti arms trade activists with whom we share many goals and where there is much cross over then the far right (as is happening) and maybe one day groups such as the Countryside Alliance.

Please note well that this “major police investigation” did not cease after the 2007 raids. Police infiltrator PC Mark Stone attended animal rights events as recently as September 2010 and maybe up until he was uncovered by other activists last week. It is suspected that the police are still actively trying to collect more scalps all activists should be legally aware and security conscious regardless of how legal and fluffy demos and actions may be. Do not panic but be careful, be prepared, but above all be active.


One Response

  1. Yup – a few more scalps needed:

    Dr Tom
    The Fool

    Who will be next? How’s that for a climate of fear


    NW – Another post post from “” the same IP address that posted this ages ago…

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