Dutch animal rights extremist imprisoned in UK over fire bombing, blackmail


A 31-year-old Dutch man was sentenced to five years in prison by a British court for his role in a "intensive criminal campaign in Europe" against British animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to blackmail. His 30-year-old wife was given a 2 year suspended prison sentence, the BBC reports.

Both suspects formed part of extremist animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). In 2008 and 2009 the group targeted companies that supplied HLS in an effort to blackmail them into cutting times with the animal testing laboratory. This included publishing information about the suppliers, accusing employees of being pedophiles, fake bomb reports, vandalism, threats, and at least one case of grave desecration.

Paint stripper was poured over cars and graffiti was left on employees; homes, including threats like "Drop HLS or you will be dead". Dutch man Sven van H. was also involved in setting fire bombs that destroyed cars belonging to employees of companies linked to HLS.

The Prosecutor described these attacks as an "intensive criminal campaign" in court, according to BBC.  "The criminal acts perpetrated in Europe involved an escalation in seriousness by the use of real incendiary devices resulting in arson attacks and a grave desecration."

The two suspects were arrested together in Amsterdam in 2012, according to the Telegraaf. They were extradited to Great Britain in 2017. According to the BBC, this happened after they were tried in the Netherlands for their role in an attack on a mink farm. Some 5 thousand minks were set loose in this attack.