There has been a decline in the number of attacks by animal extremists in the first six months of the year but there has been a worrying increase in the severity of some of them, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said today.
The figures show a sharp drop over the spectrum of animal extremist activity for the first half of 2005, with 35 cases of damage to private property, compared with 56 in the same period last year and a further 52 in the second half of 2004.
Damage to company property also declined, with just two cases in the January-June period, compared with 29 in the same period last year and a further 15 in the second half of the year.
And home visits have fallen away from 110 in the first half of last year, with a further 70 in the second half, to 34 in the first half of 2005. These are incidents where extremists visit the homes of people either working in medicines research or associated with them, often in the middle of the night, and stage a noisy demonstration, frequently with fireworks and loud-hailers.
"While the reduction in the number of incidents is welcome, it is disturbing that, in some cases we are seeing more aggressive attacks taking place," said Dr Philip Wright, Director of Science and Technology at the ABPI. "In particular, we are seeing cases where incendiary devices have been attached to cars, which is a very worrying change of tactics.
"However, the figures indicate that Government's commitment to tackling the problem of extremism is starting to pay off, and we hope that both the commitment and the drop in incidents continue. At the same time, the number of legal demonstrations has remained at the same level, so the right of people to protest in normal, democratic ways has not been compromised."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410