Animal rights protesters cause suspension of science park

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Project management firm pulls out of science park after intimidation from animal rights protestors.

8 January 2008

AMSTERDAM - A Dutch project management firm withdrew from the development of a new science park in the southern Netherlands after its managers were consistently intimidated by animal rights protesters, the company said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Weert-based Van der Looy Project Management Bureau was involved in Science Link, a life-science industrial park commissioned by the local and regional authorities.

The park was to be built in Venray, also in the southern Netherlands.

In its statement, Van der Looy said animal rights organisations had shown an "unacceptable intimidating attitude."

In recent months, project managers received numerous personal threats, by email, regular mail and phone.

At Christmas, animal rights protesters painted graffiti on the homes of several project managers, threatening to use "more aggressive means" if they did not stop their involvement in Science Link.

The Dutch Animal Liberation Front is believed to be responsible for the graffiti.

Science Link, a project involving EUR 60 million, was destined to become a technological centre for the life sciences, providing employment to between 400 and 600 people.

Animal rights protesters claimed Science Link would be used entirely for animal tests.

Christian Democrat Sybrand van Haersma Buma has requested that Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst investigate ways to stop what he calls "terrorisation" of entrepreneurs by animal rights protesters.

He has also requested the government ensure the town of Venray can continue the development of the park.

A spokesman for Van der Looy told reporters the company would not reconsider its decision to withdraw from the project.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

Subject: Dutch news

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