On March 7, three British animal rights activists were jailed for a total of more than seven years for their 'violent' campaign against companies dealing with a firm conducting experiments on animals in uk. The activists were the first to be prosecuted under a new British law aimed at deterring extremism and intimidation. Mark Taylor and two other activists of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign (shac) were prosecuted for their 'violent' campaign against companies dealing with Huntingdon Life Sciences (hls), which conducts thousands of tests on animals each year. The convicted pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to interfere with a 'contractual relationship'. Taylor was jailed for a record four years and his wife Suzanne for 30 months. Teresa Portwine, the third activist, was sentenced to 15 months in jail.They were tracked down after a series of co-ordinated raids on 13 premises by police forces from Cheshire, Cambridgeshire, London, Humberside, Thames Valley, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.
shac activists were prosecuted for posting on web photographs of workers in the companies as part of the campaign. A company in Peterborough dropped its contract with hls after demonstrators wearing skull masks 'attacked' it, reports bbc. Ironically, little is reported about the issues the activists were raising during the campaign. Punishing shac activists, the court said the convicted 'invaded' the companies' offices shouting 'murderers'. It said the sentence must be a deterrent to others.