Responding to Government proposals to extend legislation to tackle animal rights extremism, Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said today:
"The Government is now committed to solving the problem and has recognised that animal rights intimidation is now an issue of terrorism. Action has been needed for some time and they are plugging some important loopholes in the existing law.
We earnestly hope that the extension of police powers to arrest, banning of intimidating protests outside people's homes and widening laws relating to harassment will make a difference.
Attacks have been on the increase against individuals going about their daily work of helping to find medicines to benefit the world. We shall be monitoring closely to gauge the impact of these changes, which need to be implemented urgently.
But legislation is only part of the answer. We are pleased that the Government recognises that it is equally important for the police to co-ordinate their work nationally, to treat animal terrorism as an equal priority with other terrorist threats, and for the courts to punish accordingly.
The Government has acknowledged that the idea of a new, single piece of legislation targeted at these extremists is still on the table. If the changes announced today are not effective that option will have to be revisited quickly.
There is much at stake - medical research carried out in the UK has been responsible for discovering and developing a quarter of the world's top 100 medicines. We need to ensure that future research and researchers are protected for the benefit of millions of patients, in both the developed and developing world, still in need of medical advance."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410