Philosophy of AR > Animal Testing - Index > Anti-Vivisection Index

Frequently Asked Questions about HLS and SHAC


What is HLS?
Huntingdon Life Sciences is the 3rd largest CRO in the world (see What is a CRO? below) and the largest animal testing facility in all of Europe.

What is a CRO (Contract Research Organization)?

A CRO, or Contract Research Organization is a lab whose business comes from contractual work from other pharmaceutical and chemical companies. They do not develop products or research disease and treatment; they test products. As a CRO HLS will test any product on any animal for any company that has enough money to pay them to do so.

How long has HLS been in existence?

HLS has been open and killing animals since 1952. The lab will celebrate its 50th Birthday December 1, 2002. (Don�t miss the National Protest! Check out

Where is HLS located?

    HLS has 3 facilities: two in England and one in America.
    Its main site is Huntingdon Research Center (Huntingdon Life Sciences; Woolley Road; Alconbury; Huntingdon; Cambridgeshire; PE28 4HS; Phone (from the U.S.): 011 44 1480 892 000; Fax (from the U.S.): 011 44 1480 892 205; Email:
   HLS also runs an Eye Research Center in England (Huntingdon Life Sciences' Eye Research; Barric Lane; Occold; Suffolk; IP23 7PX; Fax (from the U.S.): 011 44 1379 672291).
    HLS�s only U.S. site is in New Jersey. Called the �Princeton Research Center� in an effort to associate itself with the prestige of Princeton, this facility is actually located 30 minutes north of Princeton in East Millstone, near New Brunswick in Central New Jersey (HLS Inc.; P.O. Box 2360; Mettlers Road; East Millstone; NJ; 08875-2360; Phone: (732) 873-2550; Fax: (732) 873-8513).

How many animals does HLS use?

    HLS kills approximately 180,000 animals every year, or 500 per day. Average numbers of specific animals are as follows (yearly): Dogs (2600); Cats (400); Rodents (132,894); Rabbits (5106); Fish (10,300); Birds (7800); Primates (1700); other animals (19200).
    These figures were obtained by averaging out the number of animals listed in USDA reports and other published reports from other overseers and government regulatory agents, over the past few years.
    It is estimated that, at any one time, there are 70,000 animals imprisoned at HLS waiting to die.
    What kinds of animals do they use? As a contract lab, HLS uses whatever animal(s) they are instructed to by the customer contracting the experiment. These include dogs, cats, rats, mice, rabbits, fish, birds, non-human primates, and �farm animals.�
    When using dogs, labs, including HLS, often use Beagles as they are very passive and unwilling to bite. Their docile nature decreases resistance to the process of shoving tubes down their throats, restraining them, etc. (We�d like them to use a Pit-Bull and see how far they get.)

What products does HLS test?

   HLS tests whatever they are hired to test. They provide full development programs to get agrochemicals onto the market (such as pesticides, herbicides, weed-killers, fertilizers, etc.).
    They also test household products such as detergents, tanning lotions, diet pills, food wrapping plastic, coffee sweeteners, some pharmaceuticals etc. Viagra was tested at HLS, as was Olestra, a fat-free �oil� that was found safe in animal tests at HLS but caused anal leakage in humans.
    HLS also experiments with the controversial genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and has performed Xenotransplantation experiments. Check out the largest leak ever of documents about a confidential experiment here <<Xeno Scandal Link>>.
    What laws exist to protect laboratory animals? Laws protecting �laboratory animals� are very limited in the U.S. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the most commonly cited legal protection given to animals in labs. However, the AWA is not an provision designed specifically for �lab animals.� It is designed to provide (minimal) protection for all animals, as defined by the Act as, ��any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes or as a pet; but such term excludes horses not used for research purposes and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to livestock or poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber. With respect to a dog the term means all dogs including those used for hunting, security, or breeding purposes.�
    Additionally, the AWA merely regulates adequate food, water, housing, exercise, and veterinary care; it places no restrictions whatsoever on what can be done to animals during actual experiments. The following provision ensures this: �Nothing in these rules, regulations, or standards shall affect or interfere with the design, outline, or performance of actual research or experimentation by a research facility as determined by such research facility.�
    Furthermore, under the Animal Welfare Act rats, mice, birds, fish, and farm animals (which comprise 85-90% of the animals used in �research� are not considered animals and hence are not afforded even the minimal protection of the AWA.
    Read the full text of the AWA here:
    Beyond the Animal Welfare Act, animals in laboratories are also afforded the �protection� of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees, or IACUCs. Institutions that use laboratory animals for research or instructional purposes are required by Federal law to establish an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to �oversee and evaluate all aspects of the institution's animal care and use program,� ( In actuality IACUCs are rubber stamp committees comprised of vivisectors from the institution conducting the research. In fact, Federal law requires that only one member of an institution�s IACUC must be an individual not officially affiliated with the institution; no laws exist requiring that any IACUC member not be an animal researcher her/himself. Hence, the �protection� afforded to animals via IACUC�s is merely a cycle of vivisectors rubberstamping vivisectors.

What is SHAC?

    SHAC, or Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, is an international campaign to close HLS. SHAC began in England after 4 legendary campaigns that closed animal breeders revolutionized the animal rights movement. The campaign has now spread across Europe and the US, and around the world, with anti- HLS activity in at least 15 countries (including America, Ireland, the UK, Portugal, France, Germany, South Africa, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Holland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Austria, and Japan) and in nearly every major city in the U.S.
    SHAC-USA began in January 2001 when the Little Rock, AR-based firm, Stephens Inc., saved HLS from bankruptcy. As UK campaigners steam-rolled HLS, the lab turned to the US for financial backers to rescue it, as no company in England would touch it with a 10-foot pole. American activists took a stand against allowing our country to be a dumping ground for things that more progressive countries have kicked out. SHAC-USA was formed to target the HLS�s New Jersey facility, its US affiliates, and to pose a firm resistance to HLS�s eyeing America as a safe haven.
    Shouldn�t we be targeting the vivisection industry as a whole rather than just one lab? Both the vivisection and animal rights activists agree: the HLS campaign is an attack on the entire vivisection industry. In a 6/13/02 Financial Times article, Frankie Trull, President of the U.S. Foundation for Bio-medical Research (a vivisection-funded PR group) marked it as a gateway campaign, telling a conference on the �threat of animal rights activism� that, ��attacks on HLS threaten(ed) the entire scientific[sic] research community.�
    The vivisection industry is enormous, politically connected, and very well-funded. Taking on a select, winnable portion of it allows us to make a huge dent while building a larger, stronger movement to continue in the direction of obliterating animal testing.
    Closing HLS will send ripples throughout the entire animal research industry, and it is fighting harder than ever to make sure we don�t win. A line has been drawn in the sand between animal testing and animal rights, and both sides recognize HLS as the battleground.
    Won�t ending animal testing in Western countries just send it �Third World� countries where standards are lower and it will be worse for the animals? Such a move is considered highly unlikely by scientists. In short, these countries do not have the infrastructure to support the vivisection industry.
    Close communication between the company developing the product and the company testing it is necessary. Major chemical and pharmaceutical companies are not going to move to Third World countries because, (a) CEO�s, Boards and Management have no interest in living there, (b) these countries are not prime locations for running their company or promoting their product.
    Additionally, quality control issues arise: (1) These countries simply do not have the technology and resources to conduct testing that uses sophisticated equipment. One example is quality electricity as opposed to fluctuating amperage, etc. (2) Outside agencies evaluate the testing and it is unlikely regulators are going to travel to the Third World to do so. If these countries had their own regulatory agencies, quality control again becomes an issue. (3) Companies who test their products on animals avoid liability when these products cause problems in humans. So, when the lawsuits come down and the jury learns the drug was tested in Vietnam, Pakistan, etc., the plaintiff�s will receive higher rewards.

[Note: the above answer was informed by M.D.�s from Americans For Medical Advancement.]

Isn�t it more important to get people to go vegan/end the fur trade/stop hunting/etc. than close this one laboratory? Unarguably stopping all animal suffering is important. Some feel it is more important to work for �farm animals� because a larger number of animals are killed for food, or fur because the fur trade is already weakened, etc. However, it will not be the HLS campaign - or any other campaign against a different issue - but a strong movement that attacks all animal abuse, that achieves animal liberation. And the HLS campaign has done more to build an effective animal rights movement than any campaign before it.
    Vivisection was not chosen because it is particular. Rather, the HLS campaign presented, for the first time, an opportunity to join hands with a more sophisticated movement, one with four previous victories driving it, and build the type of movement that will be necessary if we are to achieve animal liberation. No other example in the grassroots has presented such an opportunity.
    SHAC views this campaign within a broader agenda of animal rights. Our outreach events include information on numerous animal issues. The HLS campaign has planted the seed of animal rights as a legitimate political struggle for many people.


Shacs time for action 3 video

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