Series of campaigns in the United Kingdom
- Consort Kennels 1996 -1997: Consort Kennels, a commercial breeder of beagles for biomedical research based near Hereford in the UK, was the target of a ten-month campaign that was started in 1996 by Gregg Avery and his first wife Heather James (now Heather Nicholson), and ended in September 1997 with the company’s closure. Daily protests at the site were accompanied by a number of Animal Liberation Front (ALF) raids, including one during which extremists stole 26 beagles from the facility.
- Highgate Rabbit Farm 1997: Close Highgate Farm is an ongoing extremist campaign that began in 1997 with the aim of closing Highgate Rabbit Farm in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, UK. The farm is licensed to breed rabbits and ferrets for biomedical research. Direct actions against the site have included an ALF raid in 2008 that involved the theft of 129 rabbits and caused £100,000 worth of damage. An arson attack in 2010 was claimed by the Militant Forces Against Huntingdon Life Sciences (MFAH). The campaign has led to the conviction of several extremists, some of whom are linked to Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC).
- Hill Grove Farm 1997 - 1999: Save the Hill Grove Cats was a two-year campaign established in 1997 by Gregg Avery and his first wife Heather James (now Heather Nicholson) with the aim of closing Hill Grove Farm near Whitney in Oxfordshire, the UK’s last commercial breeder of cats for laboratories. 21 extremists were jailed for public order offices before the closure of the business in August 1999. Extremist activity against the farm in the name of the ALF had taken place before the formation of the organised campaign.
- Darley Oaks Farm 1999 -2006: David Hall and Partners, a family-run guinea pig breeding business based at Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, UK, was the target of an intense campaign of intimidation and vandalism from 1999 to 2006 that culminated in the desecration of a relative’s grave and the theft of her body. Actions against Darley Oaks were claimed by the ALF and Animal Rights Militia. Read the case study.
- Regal Rabbits 2000: Regal Rabbits, a farm in Surrey which breeds rabbits for animal research, closed down in 2000 after a twelve-day campaign by group Close Down Regal Rabbits. The owner, Bill Pitcher, allowed over 1,100 New Zealand White Rabbits to be taken by the campaigners.
- Shamrock Farm 2000: Shamrock Farm, the UK’s only importation and quarantine centre for research primates based in Small Dole, near Brighton in West Sussex, was the target of a 15-month campaign, ‘Save the Shamrock Monkeys’, that ended in the farm’s closure in 2000. Like Hill Grove in Oxfordshire, extremist activity against Shamrock Farm preceded the organised campaign.
- SPEAK 2004: A planned animal research facility at Oxford University in the UK prompted the formation in 2004 of SPEAK, a group set up by British extremist Mel Broughton to oppose the construction. Numerous acts of vandalism as well as several serious arson attacks led to the conviction of Broughton in 2009. The facility had officially opened the previous year. Speak continues to operate today, read more.
Other targeted campaigns
The Venray Science Park, Netherlands 2007 - 2008
In Europe, extremists in the Netherlands fought a year-long campaign between 2007 and 2008 to prevent the construction of the Venray Science Park in the southern province of Limburg. The project, known as ‘Sciencelink’, was to house industries linked to pre-clinical research. Sciencelink had the complete support of the Dutch government and full financial backing. A list of partners in the project was made public in an effort to garner further support, but was exploited by a number of Dutch extremists who began to target companies involved in the new site. After a series of threatening letters and emails, managers’ homes were vandalised and one vehicle was destroyed in an arson attack. As the campaign progressed, extremists threatened direct action against anyone involved in Venray. Van der Looy, the main contractor, withdrew from its contract in 2008. Others soon followed, and in April that year the whole project was cancelled. The extremists' campaign was estimated to have resulted in more than $1.3 million in lost costs and damages, and to have cost the local community more than 400 high quality jobs.
Attacks on University of California Researchers, United States 2006
Universities in the US have also been targeted by extremists, with particularly severe attacks against staff at the University of California. Researchers at seven UC campuses have been the target of an intense campaign of violence and intimidation that began in 2006 and has continued more or less uninterrupted to the present day. Starting with the misplaced incendiary attack against Lynn Fairbanks at UCLA (see above), a large number of firebombs and explosive devices as well as countless acts of vandalism have caused extensive damage to homes and vehicles of UC scientists. One firebomb, described by the authorities as a “Molotov cocktail on steroids”, caused smoke to spread throughout the home of David Feldheim, a molecular biologist at UC Santa Cruz. He and his family were sleeping at the time of the attack, but managed to escape down a fire ladder.
The home of another UCLA primate researcher, Edythe London, was flooded in 2007. The Animal Liberation Front said: “It would have been just as easy to burn your house down Edythe.” Three months later, a firebomb was left outside her front door, but caused minimal damage. The most recent attacks against UCLA involved the neuroscientist Dr J. David Jentsch, whose vehicle was destroyed outside his home in 2009. The incendiary attack, responsibility for which was claimed by the Animal Liberation Brigade on the Animal Liberation Front website, was the fifth against researchers at the university since 2006. In 2010, Dr Jentsch received a package containing razor blades and a threatening letter. On an ALF-maintained website, the Justice Department claimed responsibility for the action, and alleged that the razor blades were contaminated with HIV-infected blood.