AstraZeneca's ($AZN) latest R&D restructuring has triggered a confrontation with animal rights groups in the U.K. With one of its Swedish facilities being shuttered, the company is relocating hundreds of beagles used for drug research, with a pack headed to the U.K. And the activists say they plan to create havoc for any airline that agrees to ship the dogs to a new research home.
Several unnamed activists spelled out their plans to The Guardian. If they can identify any airline taking part in the move, they plan to interrupt a series of flights. And that's not so hard to do. Anyone who checks luggage and suddenly leaves a flight will delay a departure. Or they could just check bags and then not even board.
"If airlines agree to transport these dogs to Britain we will look to take action to disrupt their trade," said a spokesperson for Gateway to Hell, according to The Guardian.
These disruptive tactics have been very effective at preventing the transport of animals for research purposes. British officials complained last year that all the ferries and U.K. airlines have publicly announced they won't handle research animals, including mice commonly used for research purposes. The P&O specifically blamed threats from the animal rights groups as the reason for their policy prohibiting shipment of research animals.
AstraZeneca, though, isn't changing any of its plans. "The team has concluded that, because these dogs have been purpose-bred for research and they are needed to support our global research efforts, the best solution is to continue to utilize them for research at AstraZeneca facilities and by third parties acting on our behalf," the company told The Guardian in a statement.
- here's the article in The Guardian