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Sector welcomes legislation change

Pharma and biotech associations have welcomed changes to the law protecting companies and individuals from animal rights campaigners.

Pharma and biotech associations have welcomed changes to the law protecting companies and individuals from animal rights campaigners.

The Royal Assent to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which came into effect last week, includes changes to protect people from harassment and intimidation and to protect companies from economic loss as a result of animal rights campaigns.

Dr Philip Wright, director of science and technology at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said: ìWe are extremely pleased the government has recognised the gravity of this issue and taken those measures to tackle extremist attacks. We shall be working closely with the authorities to monitor the impact of the new measures over the coming months.î

ìCoupled with increase police resources this should lead to far fewer attacks in the future,î he added.

Aisling Burnand, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association also welcomed the changes. She said: ìThis legislation will serve to eliminate the grey area in which animal rights extremists have previously operated and will protect companies and individuals engaged in legitimate, ground-breaking bioscience research in this country and, crucially, all those connected with the research.î

ìWe congratulate the government on this important legislation, as well as lead campaigners across the political parties. The challenge for all after the general election will be to ensure that the police and the judiciary have the resources they need to implement these new laws.î

Although campaigners will still be allowed to conduct legitimate protests, under the new legislation campaigners will be unable to intimidate people, preventing them from carrying out their business.

Police will also be given extra powers to stop campaigners targeting people at their home address and new provisions will prevent campaigners from causing or threatening economic loss or damage through criminal acts.

30th September 2008

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