Drug suppliers in the UK are being forced to stop providing their services to firms that specialise in animal research, according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

The firms in question are being targeted by animal rights protesters, to the extent that in the last quarter of 2004, there were what the ABPI refers to as 42 Ocapitulations, well up on last year's total.

Furthermore, the increase in the number of abusive and threatening phone calls to companies is worrying, as they amounted to 108 during 2004, compared with 8 in 2003 and 23 the previous year. The ABPI also noted that there has been 'a continuing jump in recorded damage to company, personal and public property'.

Philip Wright, ABPI's director of science and technology, regards the statistics as frightening and said that the Government needs to implement an amendment in the Serious Organised Crime Bill aimed at animal extremists, and introduce a clause protecting companies.

"The fact that more and more suppliers are being forced to drop their business with companies involved in animals research is especially ominous," he stated. "If this trend continues, it is by no means fanciful to suggest that pharmaceutical companies will seriously consider whether it is still appropriate to carry out this essential research work in the UK."

Dr Wright claimed that such a situation "would be a tragedy for the men, women and children of Britain as well as its economy - and, ironically, for the animals themselves, because the UK has the world¹s most stringent regulations on animal welfare."

New legislation [[02/08/04d]] has resulted in the number of visits to director's homes declining, yet the day of the announcement saw a leading animal rights activist, Heather Nicholson, being given a five-year anti-social behaviour order stopping her coming within 500 metres of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a firm which is continually targeted by animal activists.

Indeed, HLS itself was forced to relocate its main operations to the USA some three years ago and de-listed from the London Stock Exchange, claiming it needed to protect itself and its shareholders from the actions of animal activists [[10/10/01a]].