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Keith Mann Held in Contempt for Speaking to Wickham Labs Director

April, 29 2005

On Friday 29th April 2005, Keith Mann was sentenced to 6 months for contempt of court, just after receiving a community punishment order for a raid on Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire.

Mr Mann was given detailed evidence of unlawful cosmetic experiments being conducted inside Wickham Labs. The informant wished to remain anonymous, but went on to explain in depth the security systems at the lab.

Following up from this, Mr Mann went to look at the laboratory, and found it to be exactly as the whistle-blower had described. He planned a raid on the facility in order to publicly expose Wickham, which ultimately ended in the liberation of 700 mice and substantial paper work. As promised, the paperwork showed that Wickham were testing a substance called Botulin Toxin (BOTOX) for Ipsen Biopharm. Ipsen have publicly stated that a proportion of their Botulin Toxin is used in cosmetic procedures.

Unfortunately for Mr Mann and tragically for the rescued mice, he was arrested, most of the mice were recovered, and Keith ended up in court with co defendant Melvyn Glintenkamp. Throughout the trial. the judge repeatedly refused to allow evidence which would show that Wickham were testing unlawfully. Any mention of Wickhams past of using ex-pets in experiments was also silenced.

Another shocking detail revealed in the paperwork is the use of the notorious Lethal Dose 50 test (LD50). This involves injecting a toxic substance into the stomachs of a batch of animals and increasing the dose until half have died. The surviving half are then immediately gassed or have their necks broken. This practice which is heavily criticised by scientists was partially banned in 1999, except in the ‘most exceptional circumstances’.

The Judge was eager to imprison Mr Mann, but due to his role as a full time carer and a glowing parole report, he was obliged to give him a community service order.

As Keith was leaving the court, obviously delighted with the result, the technical director of Wickham Labs, a very angry looking Mr. Bishop, muttered to Mr Mann "We’ll get you lot next time." Mr Mann responded, "Your troubles have only just started." Mr. Bishop went into a customary frenzy, and started screaming and ranting. Mr Mann was brought back into court, where he explained that he had not intended to threaten Mr Bishop, and that he meant when the public found out about the Botox testing the lab would be in trouble through the negative publicity.

The judge ignored the explanation, gave Keith no chance to apologise, and was delighted to sentence him to 6 months for contempt of court. Mr. Bishop's provocation was over looked, and his blatant lie that Keith had warned him to ‘look under your bed’ was swallowed by the judge. Keith himself has stated that he does not understand what such an obscure, and rather unlikely threat would even mean!

As usual the media have run wild with this. Articles have appeared in most newspapers in an attempt to slam Mr Mann and turn the public against the animal rights movement. The articles have all been very biased, concentrating largely on the past and Mr Mann's criminal record, dating back some 15 years. Mr Mann has not been convicted for any offences which were violent and he has never threatened life, or physically harmed another being. Many papers have reported that, according to a high court judge, "Mr. Mann carried out a terrorist style campaign against the meat industry." They have not noted the fact that the judge in question was a retired meat farmer, with strong pro-bloodsports views, and that unlike genuine terrorists, Keith Mann has never hurt anybody, nor would he ever.

Despite the fervour of journalists digging into the past, Wickham’s very dubious past has not been touched upon. We recommend that in future, journalists direct their attention in that direction. It was widely reported several years ago that a Wickham Director called upon the RSPCA to hand its stray dogs over to the vivisection industry - needless to say this is just the tip of the iceberg. A raid on the Royal College of Surgeons showed that this Director also ran a company (APT) who supplied mongrel dogs to labs. Even to the most casual observer, these dogs were ex-pets.

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