Animal rights activists target Euronext employees
An extreme animal rights group is now operative in the Netherlands threatening furriers and pharmaceutical companies
In September, Dutch daily De Telegraaf warned that an extreme animal rights group had moved its operations to the Netherlands to target Euronext Amsterdam (the Dutch branch of NYSE Euronext exchange group), other financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies and shops that sell fur.
Meanwhile, the ‘NYSE Euronext bomb squad' have claimed on an animal rights website that it placed six explosives under two cars belonging to a former NYSE Euronext employee in Hilversum, the Netherlands in mid November. The cars burnt out completely, but no-one was hurt.
A laboratory animal at Huntingdon Life Sciences. Photo: SHAC
Euronext deals in shares from a company called Huntingdon Life Sciences, which has the world's largest animal laboratory. In the United Kingdom, courts have restricted the activities of the Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty group (SHAC) using terrorism legislation.
As a result the antivivisection group has moved its activities to the Netherlands. SHAC has been active since 1999 and is notorious for its radical methods. Once, it even went as far as to dig up the body of a laboratory animal breeder's mother-in-law.
Respect for Animals
The Dutch Ministry of Justice has announced an investigation into last week's incident. But SHAC has been on the Dutch intelligence agency's (AIVD) radar for some time. The Dutch branch of SHAC is called Respect voor Dieren (Respect for Animals). The group split in two at the beginning of last year.
The first group has kept the same name and campaigns against the fur trade. The second, the Anti Dierenproeven Coalitie (Anti Vivisection Coalition), takes direct action against companies involved in animal experiments and their employees. According to the AIVD, both organisations have a hard core of 'dozens of activists'. More than a hundred activists attend their demonstrations.
By day the activists hold legal demonstrations outside companies, but at night they hold noise demonstrations outside the homes of top executives; often they vandalise property. Earlier this year, ADC demonstrations led to plans to build a biotechnical business park called ScienceLink in the south-eastern Dutch town of Venray being scrapped.
Back in September Dutch Christian Democrat MP Henk van Ormel was astonished that the group had been given permission to demonstrate and asked for an explanation from the ministers of agriculture and health. At the time Health Minister Ab Klink reassured the house:
"We are keeping an eye on the group and demonstrations are possible as long as activists keep within the law."
Now that the activists appear to be breaking the law, the Christian Democrats want Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin to follow the British example and use terrorism laws to tackle animal rights extremists. Mr Van Ormel:
"How can the Intelligence Agency, the Public Prosecution and the police get so behind on animal rights activism?"
Meanwhile animal rights activists are issuing open threats, warning NYSE Euronext to end its links with Huntington Life Sciences,
"or your worst nightmare will come true."
23 November 2008