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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Animal-rights activists target US bank
Protesters at Huntingdon Life Sciences animal lab
Previous action at Huntingdon Life Sciences
Animal-rights activists have targeted the world's largest overseer of assets, the Bank of New York, for its relationship with British animal-testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences, according to the Financial Times newspaper.

The activists have published certain account codes of 180 customers on the internet which they claim they obtained by infiltrating the Bank of New York.

Animal rights activist outside HLS
Protesters are blamed for frightening backers
The security breach may result in the Bank of New York having to change more than 300 codes related to the client accounts, the Financial Times said.

Documents seen by the FT showed accounts containing $6.9bn (4.85bn) in securities and other assets.

US citizens are able to invest in Huntingdon through American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), an investment vehicle held by US banks that represents shares in foreign companies.

Protests

The newspaper said that Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, an anti-vivisection group, hopes by publishing the account information it can persuade clients to lobby the Bank of New York to cut its ties with Huntingdon, as some financial-service firms have done.

Last month, eight people were arrested following a protest outside the UK company's Cambridgeshire headquarters, where 30 protesters blocked entrances with cars and handcuffed themselves to vehicles.

Animal rights activists have waged a concentrated campaign against customers, investors, creditors and staff of Huntingdon in a bid to close the lab, which performs tests on 75,000 animals a year.

Vivisection 'unjustifiable'

Other financial firms have severed links with Huntingdon Life Sciences following action by anti-vivisectionists, who object to the firm's use of animals in testing products such as medicines for human safety.

Protesters have complained that vivisection is not morally justifiable, and claim that alternative methods of testing drugs are available.

Earlier this year the company was brought to the brink of bankruptcy as animal rights demonstrators applied intense pressure to its financial backers.

It was saved as a result of a deal with its American bank.

See also:

01 Jun 01 | Features
Protests in a quiet corner
28 Mar 01 | Business
Lab firm ditched by share brokers
29 Jan 01 | Business
US group bails out Huntingdon
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