Farmers fail to win ban on animal rights group

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The Independent Online

Animal rights protesters mounting what a judge called a "guerrilla campaign''against guinea pig farmers have been ordered to obey the law or face a 77-square-mile exclusion zone.

Mr Justice Owen heard the farmers had suffered firebomb attacks, smear campaigns and the cutting of power and phone lines. Christopher Hall and his family had suffered prolonged harassment, which lawyers say included the theft of the body of Mr Hall's late mother-in-law.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Owen rejected an application by the Halls and villagers for the exclusion zone around Darley Oaks Farm, Newchurch, where guinea pigs are bred for medical research, saying it would be "draconian" but he would impose it if necessary.

He said the claimants would be adequately protected by existing injunctions. The defendants named included Save Newchurch Guinea Pigs and the Animal Liberation Front.

Eight people have been questioned about the theft of the body of Gladys Hammond, who died in 1997, aged 82, from the graveyard at St Peter's Church, Yoxall. Five people were arrested this week.