New ban for animal rights protestors

A ban preventing animal rights activists from demonstrating at Huntingdon Life Sciences, a company that tests drugs on live animals, has been extended to include the company's suppliers.

Activists say they will challenge the ban, which uses a law designed to protect the victims of stalkers.

Mr Justice Owen confirmed yesterday at the High Court that temporary exclusion orders under the Protection from Harassment Act would continue, to protect the customers of Huntingdon Life Sciences, which is based in Cambridgeshire. The companies became targets after Huntingdon won exclusion zones around its offices. Protesters from Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, the Animal Liberation Front and the Animal Rights Militia have been banned.

A spokesperson for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty [Shac] said judges at the Court of Appeal would be asked to include yesterday's orders in a challenge to the Huntingdon Life Sciences injunctions later this year.

Mr Justice Owen, who made the orders, said Shac's objective was to secure the closure of laboratories that are run by Huntingdon.

The judge said that since Huntingdon won exclusion zones, Shac had harassed the British branches of the Japanese companies, Daiichi UK, Asahi Glass, Eisai, Yamanouchi Pharma and Sankyo Pharma.

The campaign took the form of threatening letters and phone calls, malicious letters alleging directors were criminals, posting offensive material, criminal damage, firebombing and hoax calls. Directors and employees had been subjected to harassment "of a very serious nature intended to intimidate and terrify", the judge said.

He was satisfied the action of Shac and others warranted making exclusion zones to protect the companies from any further harassment.

The judge's orders mean protesters will not be able to go within 100 yards of the offices of the companies except for peaceful protests of no more than 12 activists once a week.

Huntingdon won similar orders in June, which banned members of Shac from approaching the drugs-testing company's headquarters and the homes of employees.