Tough new powers to tackle the animal rights extremist campaigns of violence and intimidation aimed at companies and individuals involved in research with animals were implemented today.
It is now a criminal offence to target any scientist, research facility or company in the supply chain with a campaign of unlawful acts including criminal damage, trespass, blackmail and libel. The offence carries the penalty of up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Alan Johnson, secretary of state for trade and industry, said companies have the right to conduct legitimate business free from fear of being attacked.
“Our pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is a global leader providing more than 22,000 jobs and worth more than £3.6bn in the UK. It provides essential treatments and medicines that benefit all.
“These new measures will help safeguard and give confidence to investors and scientists in this cutting edge industry,” he said.