The campaign Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) was set up at the end of 1999 by a group of activists who had successfully closed down lab animal breeders, Consort kennels and Hillgrove cat farm. Both of these campaigns ended with the businesses closing down and hundreds of animals being safely rehomed instead of tortured in laboratories.
In 1996 SHAC started a campaign against Consort kennels near Hereford. Over eight hundred beagles were kept at the kennels waiting to be sold to labs like Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).
The campaign was intense, involving daily demonstrations, national demonstrations and regular all night vigils. During the campaign three rescue operations took place seeing 26 beagles go free to safe and loving homes. After just ten months of campaigning they could take no more pressure and the kennels closed in July 1997. A total of 200 beagles were successfully rehomed following the closure.
To strike a sombre note we must never forget that it was Huntingdon Life Sciences who bought all the breeding beagles from Consort before they closed.
In September 1997 the campaign moved swiftly against the last remaining UK breeder of cats for vivisection, Hillgrove farm near Witney, Oxfordshire run by the obnoxious Christopher and Katherine Brown. Hillgrove sold kittens worldwide for experiments from ten days old and held over 1,000 cats in windowless sheds at the back of the farm. The scale of the campaign really begun to take off at this point seeing many demonstrations at the farm and the city centre of Oxford.
After unbelievable pressure Hillgrove buckled and closed after an 18 month campaign in August 1999. It was headline news all around the world as over 800 cats were rescued from the farm and rehomed on the night of August 12th 1999.
The most important lesson from all these campaigns is to remember that all those animals would still be inside Consort and Hillgrove if we had waited for politicians to act. The lesson is that if we really want these hell holes to close then we have got to do it ourselves - action is what it is all about. We have to fight to win.
Following these victories we launched a global campaign against Europe's largest animal testing facility, Huntingdon Life Sciences. We hope that you will join us in this fight to free the 70,000 animals locked inside waiting to die.
SHAC is an innovative campaign, and has received worldwide media coverage for the success of its methods, the intelligence of its tactics and the determination of its supporters.
Two million members of the public have signed a petition to have HLS closed, thousands have protested and we can prove that HLS are responsible for animal cruelty and lawbreaking over and over again. During one study involving wild caught primates, HLS broke the law over 520 times. The Government have failed to close HLS so it is up to each and everyone of us to close them down.
SHAC is an international campaign, and the first of its kind, with SHAC groups in the UK, USA, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and many other countries all uniting to target HLS and the companies that support them globally.
SHAC is made up of compassionate people from all walks of life and people of all ages from children to pensioners. All of us are outraged at the existence of HLS and all of us are doing as much as we can to make sure that this evil company is closed down for good.
SHAC takes a three tier approach, campaigning against customers who provide HLS with an income and profits; suppliers who provide HLS with vital tools to carry out research and financial links such as shareholders, market makers and banking facilities. SHAC has called on a mass boycott of HLS and is calling on all companies that do business with Huntingdon to turn their backs on animal cruelty. If you are happy to pay for, or profit from the cruelty HLS inflict on innocent animals then you are just as much responsible as the vivisectors themselves.
This is where SHAC supporters play a vital role. Many companies working with HLS may not be aware of their history of animal cruelty, falsified data and negligence, so by taking part in letter writing, email campaigns and peaceful protests calling on the boycott of HLS you can bring the issue to their attention. Many companies have already vowed not to deal with HLS thanks to SHACtavists around the world.
We all have an important role to play, so please join us and help close down HLS!