I've been keeping an eye on what's happening in Britain ever since AR thugs succeeded in thwarting the construction of an animal facility at Cambridge. And, I suggested that the AR victory might prod the government into acting against such criminal doings. I also reported that the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) was getting involved (it turns out that NAPF controls 20% of the shares of the UK stock market) and is now forging what appears to be a partnership between them (the NAPF) and government aimed at stopping "Investment Terrorism."
Things are progressing, and at least some legislation is at hand:
Legislation to control violent animal rights extremists is to be toughened, the government said yesterday as the National Association of Pension Funds said it might offer a reward for information that puts ringleaders behind bars.
Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, rejected biotechnology industry calls for a single piece of new legislation to combat animal extremism but said additions to existing public order laws would be announced soon.
"There is going to be new legislation - but the extent is still to be decided," he told the Lords. "Government is not convinced by a single piece of legislation because it probably is going to be too slow to implement. He said the government planned to identify key problems legislate by attaching them to another bill. "Animal research must go ahead," he said.
The Home Office said it was looking at new laws to clamp down on "intimitdatory protests" outside scientsts' homes.
Biotechnology companies say existing criminal law is failing to halt a violent campaign of intimidation against Huntingdon Life Sciences, the animal testing group, and its customers and financial backers.
Aisling Burnand, chief executive of the Bioindustry Association said a single, all-encompassing piece of legislation could be swiftly implemented if it had government support. . . .
Robin Ellison, the NAPFE board member and City lawyer behind the plan, said ... "It is time for the City to act collectively against extra-legal activity, whether it is perpetrated by animal rights protesters or environmental activists.
Human nature being what it is, I worry that authorities may not enforce any new laws that are enacted (it's surprising how many people believe that once legislation is passed, the problem is no more, a point I made here). But NAPF is awfully powerful, and I suspect as an organization they'll be able to move recalcitrant government institutions to action far more effectively than could individual companies like Huntingdon Life Sciences.
We'll see - in the meantime, I'm cautiously optimistic.
UPDATE: 2/6/2005. The NAPF has precipitously reversed course, and has squashed any notion that it might provide substantial funding to oppose AR terrorists.