FBI Sweep Nets 7 Animal Rights Activists
FBI agents have arrested seven animal rights advocates on domestic terrorism charges for taking part in a campaign to stop a British scientific firm called Huntingdon Life Sciences from conducting lab tests on animals. The FBI conducted a coordinated sweep across the country on Wednesday arresting individuals in the states of New York, New Jersey, Washington and California The government’s indictment charges the organization Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty targeted Huntingdon workers and shareholders, as well as companies that provide services to Huntingdon, by posting personal information about employees and their families on its Web sites and encouraging followers to “operate outside the confines of the legal system.” One of those arrested, Joshua Harper of Seattle said “These charges weren’t brought against me because I’m a criminal or a terrorist. They were brought because I’ve been very effective in my activism.” The group claims at least 40 companies — including Citicorp and Merrill Lynch — have stopped dealing with Huntingdon since the campaign began. The arrests may mark the beginning of a wider crackdown. Last week a senior FBI official told Senators that the bureau is conducting more than 190 investigations nationwide into crimes by animal rights or environmental activists.