There was a short story in some UK papers reporting that SHAC has been made bankrupt.
Of greater significance than the fact that "bankruptcy occurred" is the fact that SHAC's leaders had long anticipated that judgments would be made against them, and took steps to render any judgments irrelevant even before specific cases entered the courts:
THREE animal rights campaigners who have been targeting Huntingdon Life Sciences have been made bankrupt over nearly £300,000 owed to the firm in court costs.
HLS, which has been the subject of massed protests over its use of animals in tests, successfully applied to have Greg Avery, his wife Natasha and former wife Heather James, made bankrupt at Worcester County Court.
The three are leading members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) which has been campaigning to close down the laboratory.
But Mr Avery, a spokesman for SHAC, said: "It is actually a positive thing.
"Something we always say to people taking part in protests is to make themselves asset free. HLS say we owe them £300,000 and they will not be getting a penny."
Mr Avery said he had been involved in the campaign since leaving school and had no assets.
He said bankruptcy had positive aspects, including preventing suppliers of HLS being able to take out costs' orders against them.
The £300,000 comes from court costs run up by HLS in its fight against the campaign.
I think taking SHAC to court for restraining orders etc. is the kind of thing you have to do if you're HLS, even if it costs you £300,000. But you do so without any expectation that you'll be able to recover your costs, even if there is a judgment awarding them to you.
You take SHAC to court because, really, you have to undertake some legal action, and what else is there to do, other than to get as much legal clout on your side as you can?
If you're HLS, the most you can get from winning court cases is the satisfaction of knowing that the law is on your side — restraining orders won't restrain anonymous people who don't want to be restrained, and who can pick and choose their time and manner of taking a "direct action."
Of course, you'll also get a little publicity that the law is on your side, and you will add incrementally to the already substantial trail of SHAC's nasty campaign.
But that's cold comfort. You will not be able to stop SHAC's campaign, nor will you be able to collect from SHAC any costs that the court might award to you.
SHAC, of course, has the satisfaction of seeing their strategy work — by preemptively shedding themselves of any assets, not only are they free to continue their campaign of harassment, intimidation and vandalism against HLS, but they can stick HLS with the court costs of obtaining restraining orders and attempting other legal maneuvers, which so far have cost HLS £300,000. And SHAC, too, has the satisfaction of seeing their campaign against HLS live on in the pages of the newspapers, and they can take satisfaction that they are, at least in one legal venue, immune from the consequences of their anti-HLS campaign.
If you're SHAC, that's not a bad deal.
So — if SHAC doesn't have assets, what resources are available to them that enable them to carry out such an effective campaign? Here's part of the story.