Investors support Glaxo over animal rights

Leading institutional investors have supported GlaxoSmithKline in its battle with animal rights extremists.

Leading institutional investors have supported GlaxoSmithKline in its battle with animal rights extremists.

The UK-based pharmaceuticals giants secured a High Court injunction earlier this week to prevent the details of its shareholders being published.

Campaigners had targeted around 50 Glaxo shareholders over its continued use of medical research group Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).

The investors received letters that threatened to list their names and addresses on a website if they refused to sell their shares.

HLS is based in Cambridgeshire and has long been targeted by fanatics who want it shut down because it is involved in animal testing.

In a letter to the Financial Times, seven leading international companies vowed to maintain substantial shareholdings in firms that are “legitimately engaged in lawful research to the benefit of society”.

They wrote: “Whilst we understand the genuine concerns of animal welfare groups and support moves to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in medicines research, there is no place for intimidation and violence in this process.

“Opposition to a law should be played out in the appropriate venue rather than through intimidation of the more vulnerable. Government has made clear its support in this area and it must continue to commit resources to protect the victims of such campaigns, in this case small shareholders.

“We will require the companies in which we invest to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and will expect them to demonstrate results and benefits from their research.

“In return we will continue to provide long-term investment capital on the basis that it is our legitimate right to do so without fear of unlawful interference.”

The letter was signed by ABP Investments, Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme, F & C Asset Management, Hermes Investment Management, Public Sector Superannuation Fund, The Wellcome Trust and TIAA-CREF.

It is not the first time fanatics have targeted companies or people with links to HLS.

In June last year, Canaccord Capital quit as broker to drug maker Phytopharm after an incendiary device exploded under the car of its European finance chief.

And in 2001, John Ablewhite served nine months in prison for attacking the home of Leonard Cass, the brother of HLS managing director Brian Cass.

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