BIO Statement on Guilty Verdicts in SHAC Trial

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 3, 2006) -- The Hon. James C. Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), released the following statement regarding Thursday’s guilty verdict in the criminal trial of the animal extremist group SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) and six of its members.

“Our industry applauds the jury verdict holding SHAC accountable for conspiracy to commit terrorism and other unlawful acts. The United States has a proud tradition of navigating the line between free speech and criminal conspiracy, which the defendants in this case clearly crossed.  This is a strong signal to those who would attempt to intimidate researchers and their families, friends and business associates- their criminal actions are not protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.  As a society, we cannot allow the minority view of extremists to hold us hostage to improving the lives of humanity.

“Ethical animal research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century – for both human and animal health.  This research is invaluable in the development of life-extending treatments for people, as well as cats, dogs, farm animals, wildlife and endangered species.  The ability to conduct humane and responsible animal-based research must be preserved to help conquer disease, alleviate suffering, and improve the quality of life.  Biotechnology companies have depended on this research to develop more than 200 drugs and vaccines approved by FDA, helping 325 million people worldwide and preventing incalculable human suffering.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

Note to Editors:  More information on the use of animals for biomedical research is available at the National Association for Biomedical Research.