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News: `a Terrifying, Despicable Act' Graverobbing a dead woman?


Ok, this is disgusting to think that environmentalist will do.


Oct. 29, 2005. 07:34 AM


The remains of Gladys Hammond, left, were taken illegally from her grave in the cemetery of St. Peters Church in Yoxall, Staffordshire, England, last October and have not been seen since.


  `A terrifying, despicable act'

Police believe corpse was the target of a radical campaign for animal rights in Britain

Responding to draconian activism, government unveils new anti-terror bill




YOXALL, England-Gladys Hammond's desecrated grave lies in the cemetery of a 17th-century Anglican church, where rows of thin grey tombstones stand tilted by the weight of time.

The 82-year-old woman had been dead seven years when police believe her remains became the target of an increasingly radical and effective campaign for animal rights in Britain.

Her bones were dug up and stolen in the middle of the night.

Letters then arrived at the home of her son-in-law, Chris Hall, demanding that he stop breeding thousands of guinea pigs for medical research in return for Hammond's remains.

To the Halls, the grave robbery was the horrifying climax in a six-year campaign of harassment and intimidation to shut down their 30-year-old family business north of Birmingham, in central England.

In August, they capitulated. The Halls announced the closure of their Darley Oaks guinea pig farm by the end of the year and pleaded for the return of Hammond's remains.

"It was a terrifying and despicable act," said Margaret Hall, Hammond's daughter. "We always felt we were not going to give in to them, but everyone has an Achilles heel. You feel they'll never leave you alone until you close." This month, four animal rights activists were charged with conspiring to blackmail the Halls regarding the desecrated grave. The remains, robbed a year ago, have not been recovered.

Britain's biomedical research industry, worth $7 billion a year, is the focus of an escalating war of attrition that targets anyone connected to animal research - from the banks that finance the companies to the friends and relatives of employees.

Animal rights activists have been so effective in financially damaging companies that in July the government made economic sabotage a criminal offence with a five-year jail sentence.

This week, Home Secretary Charles Clarke went further. He announced that the new anti-terrorism bill, with provisions to hold suspects without charge for 90 days, will be used against people who glorify or commit "violent acts of terror" to promote the cause of animal rights.

The industry says drugs to combat cancer and other deadly illnesses wouldn't exist without tests on animals. Activists see the tests as unreliable and a brutal form of mass murder.

Animal rights groups have already pushed Cambridge University to scrap plans for a primate research centre, forced the main contractor to pull out of building an animal research laboratory at Oxford University, and led British Airways to stop transporting animals bound for research. But no company has felt the heat more than Huntingdon Life Sciences, Britain's largest animal research lab with $120 million (U.S.) yearly sales.

It conducts tests for drugs, food products and agricultural chemicals on 65,000 animals each year, most of them rats and mice. They end up being killed in the most humane way possible, company officials say.

Huntingdon's employees say they've received threatening phone calls, had their property damaged or been falsely accused of pedophilia by animal rights militants. Two of its senior executives, including managing director Brian Cass, were beaten by men with clubs.

The campaign then expanded to its suppliers and customers.

Phillips & Drew sold its 11 per cent stake in Huntingdon after its London offices were hit with a bomb scare in February 2000 and the home phone numbers of its directors were published on the website of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty group, also known as SHAC.

SHAC leader Greg Avery, his wife, and his ex-wife each served six months in jail in 2002 for conspiracy to incite criminal damage after that incident.

The Royal Bank of Scotland called in its $35 million (U.S.) loan to the company after it, too, became a target. Banks refused to give Huntingdon an account, forcing the government to step in and provide the company with the Bank of England's financial services.

Targeting by animal rights activists also saw Huntingdon lose its auditors, Deloitte and Touche, its gas supplier and its insurance broker, forcing the government to issue emergency coverage. Stockbrokers stopped trading Huntingdon shares, which plummeted, and the company fell off the London Stock Exchange early this year.

"These campaigns have been effective because of the very personal nature of them," Cass said. "They don't go specifically after a company per se, they go after individuals within that company. That has been their most effective tactic - taking their threat to someone's front door."

SHAC drove Huntingdon to incorporate a company in Maryland and apply to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where investors holding less than 5 per cent of a company's stock need not disclose their identities. But last month, on the morning when Huntingdon executives expected their company to be listed, the exchange failed to do so without explanation.

This week, a Huntingdon lawyer complained before a U.S. Senate committee investigating the behaviour of animal rights groups. Mark Bibby noted the exchange reopened for business only four days after Al Qaeda's attacks on the U.S. in 2001.

"Yet, apparently purely on the basis of a perceived threat from SHAC, the NYSE postponed plans to list our stock. A handful of animal extremists had succeeded where Osama bin Laden had failed," Bibby told the committee.

Avery, 37, blames the violence and threats on the shadowy Animal Liberation Front. SHAC's tactics, he insists, are restricted to protesting in front of the stately homes of company directors to expose what he calls "their dirty little secret." Avery says his members neither condone nor commit violence acts.

"These tactics work, but few groups have followed our line," he said. "I find it absurd that anti-globalization groups don't use the same tactics."

Avery is bankrupt and "asset free," which he said works to his advantage because there's nothing to confiscate when courts order him to pay the legal costs of cases against him. He says he earns $100 a week from funds sent in by ordinary Britons outraged that 2.6 million animals in the country each year are killed in testing.

"I'm not in this to make money. I'm in this to close places down," he said yesterday.

The campaign to close down the Halls' guinea pig farm began with their phone lines jammed by hundreds of calls and their home flooded with mail-order items they never ordered.

Employees who worked at the farm regularly had their electricity and telephone lines cut, their cars trashed and paint-filled light bulbs thrown at their homes. Many quit their jobs.

A civil servant working for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency gave activists the home addresses for 13 drivers who visited the Halls. He was jailed for five months last year, but not before friends and relatives of the Halls became targets.

Companies that collected milk from the Halls' dairy cattle stopped coming and the family was forced to sell the cows. The local pub banned the family and the golf course threw the Halls out as members after it got trashed. And then Gladys Hammond's remains were robbed.

"It just got too much, really, in the end," said Margaret Hall.




Your thoughts?




I think that some environmentalists are hyppocritical ~~~wipes. How many of them have cars?As for the digging up of the woman, it is stupid. What can holding a dead body to ransom have? We'll give you anything you want as long as you don't damage her. Simply put, it is pathetic.Animal testing should not be done. Instead, I vote that people on certain death-row should be tested on. This may sound in-humain, but they are going to die anyway, why not let them be experimented on, if it is to benefit the life of mankind. No animal is directly the same as us, in genetics, physiologically or anatomically.


guy, haven't you heard on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". Which means that everyone must have equal rights. If they don't we have to ensure that they do. So testing on death row prisoners would violate that.xboxrulz


guy, haven't you heard on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". Which means that everyone must have equal rights. If they don't we have to ensure that they do. So testing on death row prisoners would violate that.




The prisoners could be asked to volunteer ... and the incentive would be that all of the prisoners who sign up to test products/medicines/etc. are exempt from execution.


They get life in prison instead.


The prisoners could be asked to volunteer ... and the incentive would be that all of the prisoners who sign up to test products/medicines/etc. are exempt from execution.


They get life in prison instead.


My centiments exactly.


People know their rights more than their responsabilities.


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