Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Woman's Corpse Stolen in Animal Rights Protest

December 01, 2004
Village demands exclusion zone to keep animal rights protesters at bay
By Nicola Woolcock and Ingrid Mansell

AN ENTIRE community has applied for an unprecedented injunction against
animal rights extremists after a vicious campaign of intimidation that has
included the theft of an elderly woman’s corpse.

The move comes days after an arson attack on another company listed on an
animal rights group’s website. The premises of International Product
Supplies, in Wellingham, Norfolk, were firebombed on Friday night.

Activists have relentlessly targeted Newchurch guinea-pig farm in Yoxall,
East Staffordshire, which is run by Chris Hall and his family. In the most
recent attack, the remains of Mr Hall’s mother-in-law, Gladys Hammond, 82,
were stolen from her grave.

The family is following the lead of Oxford University and Huntingdon Life
Sciences by applying for a protest-free exclusion zone around their
property. Their case will be heard tomorrow at the High Court. But for the
first time, the community has rallied behind a company seeking a court
order of this kind by adding an application for its own injunction to
protect the parishes surrounding the farm.

Peter Clamp, who runs a haulage business, is bringing the injunction on
behalf of the villagers of Yoxall, Newchurch and Newborough, where he
lives. If successful, the joint exclusion zone will be one of the largest
granted, covering seven parishes and an area of nearly 30 square
kilometres. Mr Clamp, who is also a parish councillor, said that members
of the community were the victims of terrorism and had been left terrified
by protesters. “This country needs someone to stand up against these
minority protesters and I’m part of the injunction as a resident of the
community,” he said.

“The residents need a spokesperson. Enough is enough. The police have
given me support and said there could be ramifications, but I’m prepared
for that. I’m not a soft touch and won’t be intimidated by anyone, and I’m
not going to tolerate this sort of behaviour.

“I’m sick and tired of people being threatened. Over the past five years,
residents have had explosions in fields and paint thrown over roads.
Normal people going about their everyday business are frightened and
intimidated.”

No one has been prosecuted for the desecration of Mrs Hammond’s grave,
although two men were arrested and released without charge.

Mr Clamp, 50, who has lived in Newborough for 20 years, described himself
as an acquaintance of the Hall family.

He said: “After the disruption of the grave I took the decision to do
something about it. When the desecration happened, I’d never seen so much
support from people for the victims of what they saw as an outrageous act.
This can’t go on any longer. We need a large exclusion zone because some
residents live in very remote areas. I’ve had a lot of support from
everyone — all who have contacted me have given me 100 per cent support.”

Tim Lawson-Cruttendon, the solicitor-advocate who represented Oxford
University and Huntingdon Life Sciences, has taken on the Hall family’s
case.

The main defendant named on the High Court papers is the action group Stop
Newchurch Guinea Pigs. But Mr Lawson-Cruttendon said that the application
would also be brought against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac), Speak
(which lobbied against a new research laboratory in Oxford) and the Animal
Liberation Front, on the ground that they were also allegedly involved in
demonstrations in Newchurch.

He said: “Unusually, the claimants include a representative member of the
community and that person is seeking a representative order which will
protect the entire community. The exclusion zone we are seeking is about
28.5 square kilometres and broadly covers three parishes. If we obtain
this order we will have built on what we gained for Oxford — that is,
protection for an entire community against the excesses of animal rights
enthusiasm.” Mr Lawson-Cruttendon is bringing the case under the
Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which was originally drafted to
shield women from stalkers.

Huntingdon Life Sciences was the first company to use the legislation to
obtain an injunction against animal rights protesters. Shac names
International Product Supplies on the “Blood on their hands” section of
its website, saying that the company “supplies Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm
who supply HLS. Contact IPS and voice your disgust at their involvement
with HLS."