Monday, July 31, 2006

British Government Takes Part in Making US Laws: Lobbying Congress Now to Introduce New Animal Rights Laws: More Power than Average Citizen

This is outrageous. I wouldn’t care what the industry or cause is, I am against foreign intervention in the shaping of laws. Remember - they are not citizens and do not pay taxes! Unfortunately, it’s very common and just proves who has the real power – it’s not common citizens, rather, is moneyed interests. Ridiculous.

Article:

Britain helps US to protect animal labs

http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article1204344.ece

By Stephen Foley in New York
Published: 30 July 2006

The Government is covertly throwing its weight behind a campaign to introduce new laws against animal rights extremism in the US.

British Embassy officials in Washington DC are quietly lobbying congressmen, who are looking at possible new legislation. Officials are also understood to be passing on information about how the UK has dealt with "economic terrorism" aimed at shutting down animal testing companies.

One insider said: "This has been a major issue in the UK and is becoming an issue in the US, so we have been explaining to US interlocutors on the Hill about our legislation and the difference that it has made."

Animal rights protesters have widened their campaigns in recent years to include suppliers, financial advisers and shareholders of companies involved in animal testing. The tactic was pioneered by Shac, a group trying to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences. Attacks in the US have risen since HLS shifted its corporate headquarters from the UK to New Jersey in 2002. According to the American pro-vivisection group the Foundation for Bio-medical Research, there were 80 reported incidents in the US last year compared with 28 five years earlier.

A plan for HLS to list on the New York Stock Exchange last September was scrapped after the NYSE became nervous about threats to its property, staff and traders. HLS has raised funds privately, but its shares are still traded only on an over-the-counter basis.

The industry has been pushing for the US to adopt laws similar to those passed in the UK last year. The British police have been given powers to deal with protests outside homes, and a new offence of "interference with business contracts so as to damage an animal research organisation" has been introduced.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said last week that cases of protesters visiting employees' homes to cause damage and leave threatening messages have halved since a year ago.

Bills similar to UK legislation have been introduced to Con-gress, but their sponsors are unsure if there will be time to take a full vote before the mid-term elections towards the end of the year. But the British Embassy is optimistic that acceptable final bills could be published when Congress resumes in September.

Legislation is being promoted by the Republican Senator James Inhofe and Republican Congressman Thomas Petri, both of whom hope to garner cross-party support.

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