Animal activists in international plot, jury told
Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
Tuesday October 7 2008
Under the banner of the Animal Liberation Front and with military precision, five activists carried out an international campaign of blackmail for six years against companies and individuals linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences, a court heard yesterday.
The five - leading members of an organisation called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac) - menaced men, women and children in England and Europe. They coordinated a blackmail campaign involving hoax bombs, night visits, criminal damage, nuisance phone calls and letters, and threats of physical violence, Michael Bowes QC, prosecuting, told Winchester crown court.
The tactics were terrifying and intended to create a climate of fear to force a string of firms linked to one of the world's largest animal testing laboratories to sever their ties with HLS, Bowes told the court.
One individual, Stephen Lightfoot, his family and his company were "persistently targeted" over nearly four years. Soiled sanitary towels said to be "infected with the Aids virus" were posted through his letterbox, hoax bombs were left at his home, his car was daubed in red paint with the slogan ALF, false allegations that he was a paedophile were spread among his neighbours and the word "murderer" was painted at the entrance of his village railway station, it was alleged.
SHAC is an incredibly violent gang of criminals that have no regard for human welfare. They will not only attack property but they will go after you and your family. This type of violence is also employed by groups like Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and has forced the state of California to recently pass a law that provides added protection for researchers and their families.