Animal activists seek to exploit weaknesses in BOC injunction

Law student animal activists are taking advantage of gaps in an injunction secured by industrial gases group BOC against protester attacks.

The injunction protects BOC from potential attacks, but it has been found to cover just 12 of the company’s 92 sites in the UK.

Companies such as Huntington Life Sciences, represented by London law firm Lawson Cruttenden & Co, have obtained injunctions barring animal activists from targeting any of their sites (see feature).

The homes of BOC directors and employees are also not protected by the injunction.

A website recently launched by an organisation dubbed the Student Urban Lawyers Kollective, who describe themselves as first-year law students, points out the shortfalls in the injunction and encourage activists to take advantage of the “bad protection”.

A BOC spokesperson said: “The [existing] injunction has helped us significantly to help the security of BOC people. If [the activist attacks] become something of sufficient difficulty then we would look at [the injunction].”

The ‘Kollective’ also says that the 100-yard activist exclusion zones around the 12 injuncted sites, which comprise head offices and operation sites, still give protesters sufficient opportunities to carry out attacks.

There has been a dramatic step-up in the number of attacks on BOC by animal activists. Marks & Spencer is also being targeted as it rents some of BOC’s properties not subject to the injunction.

Animal activists are also well-known for targeting private addresses and cars owned by staff of companies involved in animal research.

Recently, they posted the home address details of two High Court judges and their families on a website. Following an article in The Lawyer (23 February) highlighting the existence of the site, the details were pulled by Special Branch.