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British Milestones for Animal Rights

1875 National Anti-Vivisection Society
The world's first organisation campaigning against animal experiments. Founded by Miss Frances Power Cobbe, a humanitarian who published many leaflets and articles opposing animal experiments, and gathered many notable people of the day to support the cause. Miss Cobbe left the NAVS and formed BUAV in 1898, 23 years later.
1876 The Cruelty to Animals Act.
The first legislation governing animal research.
1898 British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)
Formed by Miss Frances Cobbe. BUAV is the world's leading organisation campaigning against animal experimentation. The BUAV website states, "We oppose all violence to animals as well as humans, and believe that animals are entitled to respect and compassion, which animal experiments deny them".
BUAV website:
1911 Animal Protection Act of 1911
"An Act to consolidate, amend, and extend certain enactments relating to Animals and to Knackers; and to make further provision with respect thereto"
Summary from the Norfolk Constabulary
1969 FRAME formed
The Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) is instrumental in the passing of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and the ban on the use of great apes in research.
FRAME continues to work with governmental bodies and industry towards the reduction and replacement of animals in research
FRAME website:
1973 The Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research is founded.
Named after Lord Dowding (1882 - 1970), Air Chief Marshal during the Battle of Britain, the Fund has, to date (2005), donated 2 million pound to non-animal research projects to show that animal experiments are not necessary for medical and scientific progress.
Lord Dowding was a President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society
1977 Animal Aid is founded
Animal Aid's website states "Animal Aid actively promotes cruelty-free living - including simple, everyday steps we can all take to reduce animal suffering"
Animal Aid website:
29 Apr 1979 World Lab Animal Day is founded
This international day of commemoration is marked annually by anti-vivisectionists around the world.
The 2005 event coincided with the Animal Defenders' International Inveresk report, on the use of animals in research at Inveresk contract testing lab in Scotland. The report revealed miscalculations in dosing, doing animal tests with human studies underway, animal results ignored and human studies continued after bad animal results.
1982 Letter bomb is sent to Margret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street.
One member of her staff is slightly burnt. Four more bombs are sent to senior politicians but are all intercepted. Animal Rights Militia claim responsibility
1984 Animal Rights Militia hoax
Mars were carrying out continuing experiments in tooth decay on animals. The Animal Rights Militia claim to the media that they've poisoned a massive batch of Mars bars. Mars is forced to withdraw thousands of bars, suffering huge financial losses. It's a hoax. Mars stops all animal experiments
1986 Michael Huskisson imprisoned for 18 months
The head of an undercover group called the Animal Cruelty Investigation Unit, Huskisson is imprisoned for breaking in to the Royal College of Surgeons where he took pictures of experiments on monkeys
1994 Boots and Edinburgh Wool Mill in Cambridge is firebombed
The Animal Rights Militia claim responsibility. The bomb causes 1 million pounds damage. The fire alone needs 60 firefighters to put it out. The ARM also place devices in CH Brown's saddlery and leather shop, Madison and Westworld leather shops and Nurse's fur shop
1995 Letter bombs are sent to the Agriculture Minister
The Agriculture Minister, William Waldegrave, also a dairy farmer, in Somerset. Bomb disposal experts are called to the farm
Feb-1995 Activist Jill Phipps is killed
Jill Phipps dies under the wheels of a lorry at a protest against live exports at Coventry airport. Later on this year (1995), live exports cease
March 1995 Use of wild-caught primates banned for testing
The UK Government announced a ban on the use of wild-caught primates in research unless there was "exceptional and specific justification" and introduced further administrative controls on the use of primates
Read more on the BUAV website
1996 New Labour receives a 1-million pound donation from an animal rights group
The biggest ever single cash donation from outside the party. Tony Blair insists that this would not affect policy decisions.
1996 Documentary maker infiltrates Huntingdon Life Sciences
Technicians are filmed abusing puppies. The doc, filmed by undercover documentary maker Zoe Broughton, is broadcast the following year on Channel 4. Many think that Huntingdon Life Sciences' troubles really started here. It leads to a government inquiry and two employees are convicted of cruelty
Oct-1996 The Animal Liberation Front starts actions against Consort beagle Breeders
By June 1997, the Consort Beagle Breeders in Ross on Wye have closed down, emptying the kennels. Fifty beagles are handed over to animal rights activists
1997 Ongoing government investigation into animal cruelty at HLS
During the HLS (Huntingdon Life Sciences) inquiry over animal cruelty, three people are fired and three more demoted. They become the first people to be convicted under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act
26 Mar 1997 It's a Dog's Life is shown on British TV Channel 4
The doc, filmed by undercover documentary maker Zoe Broughton, prompts a Home Office investigation into animal cruelty. Huntingdon Life Sciences shares are suspended for three months.
In May 1997, Glaxo Wellcome announces to animal rights activists that they will not give any more work to HLS, pending the investigation
21 Jun 1997 Kim Basinger saves Beagles
The actress becomes involved in an attempt to save 36 beagle puppies who are due to have their legs broken in a test for an osteoporosis drug. Yamanouchi commissioned the research to be carried out in a UK lab. The beagles are saved
21 Jul 1997 Huntingdon Life Sciences stock shares drop
HLS shares nosedive by 15% to 55.5p, a clear indication of the effects of animal rights activists' protests
Huntingdon Life Sciences website:
24 Jul 1997 Ultimatum for Huntingdon Life Sciences
Home Office Minister George Howarth tells Parliament that unless HLS meets 16 conditions, then its license will be revoked as of 30 November 1997. Trading in HLS shares is suspended while the company tries to meet the 16 guidelines
06 Aug 1997 Animal Aid denounces 10 universities
For carrying out scientific psychology experiments on monkeys, chickens, rats and gerbils. Bolton Institute of Higher Education being the worst for drilling monkeys in the head
17 Sep 1997 Two members of HLS staff appear in court
Robert Waters and Andrew Mash, employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences, are given community service orders and also have to pay 250 pound costs, in connection with causing unnecessary cruelty to animals at HLS
30 Sep 1997 A woman locks herself in a 5ft x 3 ft underground safe outside HLS
The 24-year-old is the last of 20 protesters camped outside the lab. She has water but no food. Oxygen is pumped in. Police disband the camp after Huntingdon Life Sciences lab gets an eviction order. After 59 hours underground, she is dug out and arrested for obstruction.
1998 FRAME is formed
The FRAME Reduction Committee is formed in 1998. Its members come from industry and academia and have expertise in statistics, experimental design, animal welfare and alternatives. The committee's aim is to reduce the number of animals used in research, education and testing, without compromising the scientific quality of research, and without disrupting scientific progress.
FRAME website:
1998 Acid-filled eggs
Acid-filled eggs become the weapon for animal rights extremists. Animal Liberation Front supporters with science backgrounds discover how to inject eggs with sulphuric acid without it eating the egg shell away.
28 Aug 1998 Kleinwort Benson protest
Protesters dressed in beagle and rabbit costumes demonstrate outside the offices of Kleinwort Benson, Huntingdon's financial advisors
29 Aug 1998 A1 animal rights protest
One hundred and fifty animal rights campaigners bring the A1 to a standstill when they block the road for an hour to protest about Huntingdon Life Sciences. Seven people are arrested
1998 Huntingdon Life Sciences losses
Pre-tax losses of 4m-pounds are announced in the first quarter of the year
1999 Hill Grove cattery (Oxon) closes following years of animal rights protests
Owner Christopher Brown and the RSPCA find homes for the cats, bred for scientific research. Since March 1997, Thames Valley Police had spent 2.8m-pounds protecting the farmhouse. At least 350 people were arrested and 21 jailed for public order offences
Full story on BBC News online:
01 Sep 1999 Guinea pig liberation
The Animal Liberation Front liberate 600 guinea pigs from the Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm, Staffordshire. At this time, the farm was supplying guinea pigs to Huntingdon Life Sciences and other labs in the UK and abroad
Nov-1999 SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty)
The SHAC campaign is formed with the aim of closing down Europe's largest animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences
SHAC website:
10 Feb 2000 A unified and nation-wide campaign, masterminded by SHAC
Nearly one thousand animal rights activists attack facilities owned by UK pharmaceuticals
19 Feb 2000 Rules are waived for company directors of research companies
John Major asks the Trade Secretary to waive the rules for company directors of research companies to reserve their anonymity. Under company law, the names and addresses of shareholders and directors can be obtained from Companies House by the public
26 Feb 2000 Cynthia O'Neill is convicted of harassing Professor Colin Blakemore
Professor Blakemore of Physiology at Oxford University had been harassed for 13 years for his research into blindness involving sewing up cats' eyes
May-2000 Firebombings
Three cars belonging to Huntingdon Life Sciences staff are firebombed outside their homes. The staff are given counselling
May-2000 Shamrock Farm, Sussex, is closed
For the last 50 years, Shamrock Farm had been used as a holding centre for macaque monkeys used in labs for medical testing. The monkeys were brought in from Mauritius, China and other parts of Asia and sold to medical laboratories
Jul-2000 Regal Rabbits are besieged
Bill Pitcher had run Regal Rabbits for 22 years but after a 12-day ordeal of demonstration, smashed windows and threats, he hands over 600 of his 1000 rabbits to the activists. The rest of the rabbits are pregnant and follow after birth. The police mediate the handover
19 Aug 2000 Animal Rights demo in Cambridge
More than 1,200 police officers from 11 forces are drafted in to Cambridge and the surrounding area, an operation costing �250,000, the biggest ever mounted by Cambridgeshire police, which included 20 police horses and 2 helicopters
28 Aug 2000 Animal rights protesters attack HLS employees
One target is a scientist who has been working for 30 years at Huntingdon Life Sciences on asthma, cystic fibrosis and heart transplant drugs. He, his wife and stepson wake up only when a passing policeman sees the flames and comes to bang on his door
12 Nov 2000 Canadian Trimark sell Huntingdon Life Sciences shares
Canadian Trimark (which merged with British fund manager Amvescap) announces it has sold 160,000 shares in Huntingdon Life Sciences - a big blow to HLS who are looking for North American investors due to attacks on UK-based shareholders
Dec-2000 First physical attack
Two balaclava-clad activists spray chemicals in the eyes of a Huntingdon Life Sciences employee. The employee is temporarily blinded and hit in the back as he tries to get into the house. Bricks are then thrown through his window
Feb 2001 Brian Cass is set upon by three people armed with pickaxe handles outside his home. A neighbour, who came to help Brian Cass, was sprayed with CS gas.
David Blenkinsop, 34, was jailed for 3 years for carrying out the attack
05 Nov 2001 Animal rights activist Barry Horne dies
Barry Horne dies in Worcester hospital after going on his third hunger strike. He was serving an 18-year sentence for �3 million of firebomb damage to shops on the Isle of Wight in 1994. He was arrested two years later by detectives who saw him plant bombs in shops in Bristol
2002 Europeans for Medical Progress is founded
An organisation of scientists and medical professionals who focus on scientific analysis of animal experimentation to assess the balance of help or harm to human health
Europeans for Medical Progress site:
2004 Emerson Development Holdings is targeted by activists
In Runcorn, posters created by animal rights protesters name and shame paedophiles, actually employees of Emerson Developments Holdings who lease a building to Yamanouchi, who contract animal research to Huntingdon Life Sciences
2004 Independent survey
An independent survey of 500 GPs found that 82% of doctors are "concerned that animal data can be misleading when applied to humans" and 83% would "support an independent scientific evaluation of the clinical relevance of animal experimentation"
Sept 2004 Dr. Jerry Vlasak is banned fron entering the UK
Heart surgeon and leading animal rights activist (former vivisectionist) Vlasek is banned from entering the UK after making a speech seen to incite violence
Negotiating human rights, by Dr Kate Rawls: microsites/S/science/society/animalrights.html
01 Jan 2005 Animal Liberation Front attack
The ALF claim responsibility for the attack on the UK home of GlaxoSmithKline executive, Paul Blackburn
18 Feb 2005 Fox hunting ban
The ban comes into force in England and Wales, making hunting with dogs a criminal offence
March 2005 French Government contests the cosmetics ban
The French government states the ban on testing cosmetics on animals (introduced 1997) is incompatible with the rules of the World Trade Organisation, and limits the rights of companies to do business
April 2005 The Serious and Organized Crime Bill is passed
The Bill is passed just before Parliament dissolves. It criminalises economic damage caused by animal extremists targeting contractors and supplier. Offenders can face up to five years in prison.
The Bill came into effect 1 July 2005
20 - 26 June 2005 Biotech week
SHAC targets all Huntingdon's Biotech companies and associated companies
Aug-2005 Darley Oaks farm in Staffs says it will close
The farm breeds guinea pigs for medical research. The family who own the farm have been subjected to a six-year campaign of terror and intimidation that culminate in October 2004 with animal activists digging up and stealing the remains of the owner's 82-year-old mother-in-law.
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