Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is an international animal rights campaign to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences, a contract animal-testing company concentrating on nutrition, veterinary and biochemical research and a leading provider of toxicology testing. SHAC was originally started in 1999 by British animal rights activists, currently there are known SHAC cells in the UK, USA, France, Holland, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. The campaign against Huntingdon labs has used tactics ranging from non-violent protest to the firebombing of houses, bombing of personal vehicless, harassment, civil disobedience, office disruptions, other property destruction, call-ins, pranks, tabling, home demonstrations, vandalism and arson. Some forms of protest have become so outrageous that underwear belonging to someone connected to Huntingdon Life Sciences, was stolen and sold on e-bay.
SHAC’s violent actions came back to haunt them, when the most influential of the organizers were arrested and charged. This resulted in the trial of the so-called SHAC 7: six organizers and the SHAC USA corporation itself. On May 26, 2004, Lauren Gazzola, Jake Conroy, Josh Harper, Kevin Kjonaas, Andrew Stepanian, and Darius Fullmer were indicted on various federal charges for their alleged roles in the campaign. The defendants were all charged with violating the U.S. Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a law intended to punish anyone who disrupts a corporation that profits from animal use. Some were also charged with interstate stalking and other offenses. They were found guilty on March 2, 2006, sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to six years, and ordered to pay a million dollar fine.
After the SHAC 7 were sentenced, SHAC had no leaders left to run its organization in the U.S. On May 1, 2007, after a series of raids involving 700 police officers in England, Holland, and Belgium, 32 individuals linked to SHAC were arrested, including the founders of SHAC in Britain, Heather Nicholson and Greg and Natasha Avery. In January 2009, seven of them were sentenced to prison terms between four and eleven years.
The SHAC campaign still continues to this day, but its activities have been dramatically reduced. Fear of the law and the loss of key leaders is blamed for the loss of action.