Home | Friday 21st August 2009 | Issue 688
STOCK HORROR AT HLS
AS BANKERS RUN SCARED FROM INVESTING IN ANIMAL TORTURE...
Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), the largest animal testing lab in Europe have had a huge setback this week as giant US investment bank Stanley Morgan pulled out their shares in HLS.
Morgan Stanley divested their shares after just a few demos in the last few weeks by Win Animal Rights (WAR). This victory follows Barclays’ dumping of HLS in May (See SchNEWS 677), and is part of a successful tactic of targeting investors, clients and other support companies – alongside continual direct action and demonstrations – which has brought HLS to the brink of collapse.
Despite the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) - one of the UK’s political police forces [see netcu.wordpress.com] - insisting that the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign has been crippled (See SchNEWS 655), activists have achieved one of their major campaign targets, the delisting of HLS from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
CEO Andrew Baker is now looking to make HLS a ‘privately held company’ meaning that they will no longer trade shares on stock markets.
On August 1st, activists from WAR visited the homes of five senior Morgan Stanley executives, followed by a visit on the 6th to Morgan Stanley’s New York HQ, plus more home visits. In the days after this Morgan Stanley – HLS’s largest investor with a 5% stake – divested hundreds of thousands of LSR shares, leaving HLS/LSR valued below the $15 million required to be listed on the NYSE.
In the past three months, after constant actions and demos in the UK and US, HLS/LSR have seen their two biggest institutional investors pull out. In late July a capital firm called H Partners pulled their £11.2 million out, and in May, after months of campaign pressure, Barclays sold all their shares. Also that month Hartford Investment Management Company, Rice Hall James and Associates LLC and BNY Mellon also pulled out (whoever these anonymous suits are!). HLS is currently £72 million in debt and revenue has dropped by a quarter in the past year. HLS are admitting that the international campaign by WAR and SHAC is having a tangible effect.
HLS were forced to move their shares to the NYSE after years of constant campaigning forced them to pull their shares off the main trading platform of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2001. The SHAC campaign had made the trading of HLS shares on the LSE virtually impossible. After HLS was left without a banker willing to offer them services the British government was forced to step in and bail them out awarding them banking facilities with the Bank of England.
HLS have around 70,000 animals at their death lab near Cambridge, ranging from primates and dogs through to rodents and birds, killing 500 a day in cruel experiments mostly for the pharmaceutical industry. Protests continue every week against HLS – for more see www.war-online.org and www.shac.net
* To show the, er, diversity of campaigning against HLS, another group has bobbed up to help close the vivisectors, calling themselves Militant Forces Against HLS (MFAH). Similar in tactics to the ALF, in the past few months they have been targeting HLS customers across western Europe, and on August 2nd burnt the hunting lodge of Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella. They have also carried out an arson attack on a Novartis sports centre in St. Louis, France, as well as attacks on execs of Novartis and Bayer. The Vice Chairman of Novartis in Duesseldorf had his house spray painted, and his Porsche covered in paint stripper and the tyres slashed. Similar attacks against five Bayer execs also recently happened across Germany.
** Campaigners are gearing up for a mass demo against Highgate Rabbit Farm at 12 noon, near Market Rasen, Normanby-By-Spital, Lincolnshire on Saturday September 26th after a successful camp held there last month (See SchNEWS 686). www.shac.net/OperationLiberation