Animal rights extremism includes clearly biomedical research, fur, intensive farming, meat, greyhound and horse racing, hunting and in fact anything to do with animals can result in a protest campaign. The last two to three years have seen what can only be described as serious, organised criminality, where companies have not only been demonstrated against, but have suffered serious attacks involving the use of incendiary devices, other arson attacks and the personalisation of targeting against senior management. In total in 2009-2010 there have been 27 attacks in 7 Member States, 11 of which involved arson or incendiary devices being used. Small scale demonstrations continue against all the causes mentioned above. Other criminal activity continues and there may well be further infiltration and subsequent exposés of activity within research laboratories. In addition, leading activists in the UK are now being released from lengthy prison sentences, and whilst there is a relatively low level of animal rights activity this may now change. It would seem, therefore, prudent to mitigate this threat.
Companies and organisations need to be informed in respect of what they are doing that may make them a target for extremism, and what the activists are doing. This understanding of the threat allows the risk assessments to be considered and any contingency plans to be tested. If you are undertaking research, I would suggest an effective way of mitigating the threat of infiltration and exposé is to ensure the welfare of your research animals is first rate and that you publish on your website and in other corporate literature exactly what you are doing. Having a robust infiltration prevention plan including extensive pre-employment screening and interviewing and selection skills is also essential. This should ensure there can be no shocks or surprises. Finally, you should always liaise with your local police.