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Monday, February 06, 2006

SHAC Attack


The story I was working on--had finished, actually--when Radar died was an idea that my friend and former Radar editor Hanya brought to me nearly a year ago. It was on SHAC--Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty--a fascinating and scary group of animal rights activists who have given up on polite protest and advocate violence and intimidation to shut down one specific laboratory, Huntingdon Life Sciences, that tests pharmaceuticals and other products on animals. They were indicted two years ago on a variety of federal conspiracy charges, including stalking lab executives. The trial begins today in New Jersey.

One of the reasons it's an interesting case is that the SHAC defendants aren't actually accused of any direct criminal actions. They just post the names and addresses of Huntingdon executives on their web site, encourage people to "let them know" how they feel about what Huntingdon does to puppies, and then publish accounts from anonymous saboteurs about how they paint-stripped some executive's car. Virtually every charge relates to SHAC's web site.

Another reason it's an interesting case is that SHAC's president in the U.S. is Pamelyn Ferdin, a former child actress who voiced Lucy in the Charlie Brown cartoons and insists that Charles Schulz was down with cracking puppy-killer heads.

You can read about it here, on Salon, which bought my story after Radar folded. I promise it's worth the little ad you have to watch. Salon told me it was going to be the "cover" story for Monday, but it seems I got bumped by Betty Friedan. Chicks.