As yet another measure of their success, Animal Rights terrorists in the UK can point to the inability of Huntingdon Life Sciences to find an auditor to prepare their accounts so that they may be filed, as required by UK law. The English government is making allowances:
Huntingdon Life Sciences, the animal testing laboratories whose auditor resigned after becoming the target of animal rights activists, has been told that it does not have to file accounts in the UK until the Government passes legislation to protect the identity of its advisers.
HLS has not filed accounts since 2003 under a series of rolling exemptions granted by the Department of Trade and Industry. But a DTI spokesman said last week that circumstances were unlikely to change until legislation was introduced that would give auditors anonymity where a security risk existed.
The Government hopes to include the relevant measures in the Companies Bill, but that might not become law until the end of next year.
"The Government is fully aware of this issue and is considering how best to resolve it," the DTI spokesman said.
It's hard to know, but it looks like the government is getting the message: the tertiary targeting techniques used by AR terrorists are effective. Better late than never.
The Cambridgeshire company does its banking with the Bank of England, and its insurance is handled by the DTI, because commercial firms dare not do business with it. However, the company is unable to obtain an audit in the UK as this would reveal the auditor's identity when the accounts were published at Companies House.
The company's former auditor, Deloitte, resigned in 2003 after its offices around the world were targeted by animal rights activists.
As I say . . . tertiary targeting is very effective.
HLS is audited in the US, but this is unacceptable in Britain because the audit firm involved is not UK registered.
An HLS spokesman said: "We are in a situation where anything that could be done to normalise our business practices would be welcome."
Measures proposed for the Companies Bill would exempt auditors from the obligation of signing off accounts and revealing their identities if they would be in danger from extremists.
But accountants believe the measures will not be adequate. Peter Wyman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "There are inevitably large numbers of people at the audit firm who know the identity of the client and it only takes one of those to blow the whistle." [My emphasis . . . ed]
For the government to "get the message" is one thing, for them to do "something" is a second thing, and for that "something" to be effective is a third thing.
In this case, the government "got the message," and have done something. But I doubt it will be effective.
In my view, passing a law allowing a company to audit HLS anonymously won't make much difference. The fear of any auditor being "outted" by an employee, for whatever reason, renders the law an exercise in frustration: no auditing firm can count on remaining anonymous, and so no accounting firm is likely to audit HLS.
This tertiary targeting tactic is so very effective that it's just a matter of time before other terrorist groups, domestic and foreign, pick it up and use it for their own cause, be it environmental or "other."
Beyond this, there's always the worry about ideologically-distinct terrorist groups combining resources according to the concept that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend."
Still, there is no question that the British government recognizes tertiary targeting as the grave threat it is, not just to HLS but to all aspects of British life (political, social, cultural and economic), and are trying to counter it.
That's a good first step — and I have no doubt that if the legislation fails in its goal for HLS to find an auditor, the government will take other steps.
The British government seems to have seen the dots and begun connecting them, and I don't think they'll let AR thugs drive HLS out of business if they can possibly help it.
Thanks to "a source."