Monday, September 06, 2004

Animal Rights Advocates Vow '10 Terror Attacks a Day'

Animal rights extremists plan 10 attacks a day
Mark Townsend
Sunday September 5, 2004
The Observer

Animal rights activists have vowed to launch at least 10 'terror attacks' a night across Britain, The Observer can reveal.
As hundreds of extremists from across the world gathered at a training camp in Kent today to learn direct-action tactics, the ultra-hardline wing of the movement warned the UK to brace itself for a sharp escalation in violent activity.
The 3,000 members of the Animal Liberation Front, a shadowy umbrella group for various terrorist cells, have drawn up a list of 'legitimate targets' including circuses, farms and zoos to the staff of companies and suppliers involved in animal vivisection. Attacks could vary from arson to obscene graffiti.
An ALF source said: 'Ten attacks a night would be an absolute minimum. Think of the number of butcher shops: at least a couple of windows are already being broken every night and then you have people spraying graffiti on cars to those targeting employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences.'
Although organisers of the training camp near Tonbridge insist they are promoting only legal forms of protest, Ronnie Lee, founder of the ALF, was yesterday addressing hundreds of supporters at the site. His comments were followed last night by an address from another high-profile and equally controversial figure, Jerry Vlasak, the American surgeon who has argued that violence is 'morally justifiable'. Vlasak's speech however was carried via video-link from the US after the Home Secretary, David Blunkett last month banned him from entering Britain because of his 'dangerous' views.
Despite claims by organisers of the international gathering of animal protesters that they are not condoning violence, sceptics are concerned those attending are being taught how to handle police interviews and life in jail. 'This gives you a chance to prepare and make mistakes in a safe environment,' promised a leaflet.
Some medical researchers fear workshops on how to maximise the effectiveness of protests are thinly veiled lessons in extremism. Their concerns follow a sharp rise in attacks by animal rights activists during the past 10 days. There have been at least six serious incidents, including the spraying with graffiti of the home of a GlaxoSmithKline employee in west London. Days earlier cars were attacked belonging to people connected with a guinea pig farm in Newchurch while three further attacks on the property of people linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences, which uses animals for research, have also been reported.
Robert Cogswell of Speak, the group leading a campaign to halt construction of an animal research laboratory at Oxford University, is among a growing number of leading figures in the movement who told The Observer they do not condone violence. He is among those that blame the failure of Labour to deliver on animal welfare issues for helping to foster a climate of protests.
Threats of an upsurge in sustained action will alarm the government. A campaign of violence and intimidation by Shac against Huntingdon Life Sciences forced the firm to move its headquarters to the US. Spiralling security costs meanwhile meant Cambridge University abandoned plans to build a primate research facility. Oxford University has been seeking a new builder for two months after the original contractors were targeted by ALF members.
Police from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit have announced they are keeping a close observation on any illegal activity such as workshops that incite violence.