So just how low will Animal Rights activists stoop? We've seen a village terrorized for a duration of 6 years, and we've seen a grave desecrated . . . but here's a new wrinkle:
A children's nursery has become the latest target of animal rights threats, forcing it to stop providing child care vouchers to parents working for the animal testing group Huntingdon Life Sciences.
Leapfrog Day Nurseries, part of the education business Nord Anglia, said it was reviewing whether extra security measures were needed at its Peterborough nursery, which is nearest to the Life Sciences headquarters in Cambridgesire. It said it already employed "stringent security measures" to protect the children in its care.
"While threats of any sort are totally unacceptable, we have to take them seriously," the company said. "The care of the children and our staff is of paramount concern."
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which has claimed responsibility for a recent campaign of bombs and arson attacks, is thought to be behind the threats.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac), which has been responsible for previous letters to HLS customers, said it had not sent anything to the Leapfrog directors.
Greg Avery, from the campaign, said that Shac did not condone the ALF's actions.
"I have said a thousand times that we are a peaceful organisation," he said. "We are not connected to the ALF in any way."
Readers of AC will recognize, immediately, Mr. Avery's "do not condone" position for the lateral arabesque it is. When it comes to animal based research, Mr. Avery can easily find it within himself to condemn the practice.
When anybody — Mr. Avery or anyone else — takes a position of "not condoning" something, it is exactly the same as "not condemning" something.
Mr. Avery is dissembling, pure and simple.
The ALF did not return calls last night.
Brian Cass, the chief executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences, said that while he understood that it was especially difficult where children were involved, it was "important to keep things in proportion".
HLS found out on Monday that Leapfrog, which provides the child care vouchers under a contract with the Government, would be listed as a target on Shac's website. Then it discovered that the organisation had received threatening letters.
"They were not threatening the children," Mr Cass said. "They were threatening the directors."
This is a classic example of AR activists putting into practice the "tertiary target" strategy: if the directors of the daycare facility don't concede to the demands of the AR people, they place themselves, their families and their friends at risk. It's easier — and much safer — for the directors to dump on the families of HLS employees than to stand their ground on principle. Which is exactly the purpose of the threats.
He added that the ALF had planted a number of incendiary devices but they were still "very few".
It emerged this week that an incendiary device was left outside the home of Paul Blackburn, an executive of GlaxoSmith-Kline, causing minor damage.
The ALF also said that it attacked a sports pavilion belonging to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on Saturday night. The university is building a new facility for use in animal research.
Of course, anybody who has a child at the Leapfrog Day Nurseries must be alarmed: what will the fanatics do if they are dissatisfied with the response of the Leapfrog board of directors? Target the director's families? Other nursery employees?
Or . . . will they target the children enrolled at the nursery themselves?