(From ARC News)
The BUAV (British Union for Anti-Vivisection) Reform Group recently tried a new tactic in the campaign to close the vivisectors, Huntingdon Life Sciences (see previous issues of Networking Newsletter). They wrote to each share holder, enclosing information from Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. Appreciating that many individual share holders would have made their "investment" on financial considerations, unaware of the cruelty they were funding, the letter made clear that we had no quarrel with any share holder who, now aware of the facts, sold their investment. Share holders were given 2 weeks to sell up and warned of "surprise" 24 hour protests outside the homes of those who didn't.
The reaction to the letter was beyond wildest expectations. Front page headlines ensured millions heard about Hunting-ton and their abuses - their share price plummeted from 20p to 12p in just 24 hours. By the deadline, over 250 share holders confirmed they had sold a million shares between them. One elderly woman rang SHAC in tears, saying she'd always been vegetarian and had no idea she'd been supporting such cruelty. Like many others, she was hugely grateful to have been enlightened. If fact, the number of angry letters received was just in single figures.
The police were at a loss as how (if?) to act, variously saying that the BUAV RG's action was lawful, was being investigated, and that they had asked the CPS whether it could constitute blackmail. 4 weeks after they were written, the letters' author was arrested on suspicion of blackmail. Although his home and office were raided, he was released without charge and it seems clear that the police action was simply harassment and an attempt to intimidate campaigners into dropping the home visits. If the letter writing campaign has worried them that much we must be doing something right!
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (0845 458 0630)