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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 07:06 GMT
Government insures lab firm
Animal rights demonstration outside Huntingdon research lab
Animal rights protesters have targeted HLS
The government has agreed to provide insurance services to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), the drug-testing company which has been targeted by animal rights activists.

The move follows a campaign by protesters against the company's current insurer as well as employees and suppliers.

Last year, the government was forced to provide banking facilities for HLS after commercial banks were threatened by extremists.

HLS carries out cancer and other medical research on animals, which the government sees as vital but which have come under fire from campaign groups.

Threat to research

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "Both these actions have been taken to secure Huntingdon Life Sciences group from the harm caused by the criminal intimidation and assault being directed against its employees,.....suppliers, customers and other companies."

Ms Hewitt described HLS as "a world-leading provider in the highly-regulated area of essential research", and said any commercial damage to the company would have a serious impact on UK medical research.

Last year, the government made the unusual move of offering HLS banking facilities with the Bank of England because of mounting threats on staff at its current banks.

HLS's managing director, Brian Cass, was also attacked outside his home by three people carrying baseball bats and using CS spray.

The government gave Cambridgeshire police a 1m grant to cover the cost of demonstrations at HLS's premises.


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See also:

10 Jan 02 | Business
13 Dec 02 | England
15 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
12 Dec 02 | England
09 Jan 02 | Business
28 Mar 01 | Business
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