This month, forces who oppose scientific research scored a big victory when the New York Stock Exchange dropped its plans to list an animal-research firm, Life Sciences Research, on Sept. 7. A spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the listing was still postponed, and refused to explain why.
Chalk this up as a victory for anti-science terrorists. Their tactics succeeded in chasing Life Sciences Research -- formerly Huntingdon Life Sciences -- from the United Kingdom to the United States in 2002. And they went much further than vandalizing research labs. These extremists also vandalized the property and harassed employees of companies that did business with Huntingdon. When Huntingdon could no longer find a bank, the Bank of England stepped in. The company eventually moved to the United States because of laws that shield shareholder privacy.
On this side of the pond, the "tertiary targeting" -- harassing those who do business with Huntingdon -- has continued. Extremists waged a nasty harassment campaign against Chiron employees and their families because the Emeryville-based company refused to sign a pledge to boycott Huntingdon -- even though it had stopped working with Huntingdon. They even bombed two Chiron buildings. The only good news: No one was injured.
While Chiron, to its undying credit, stood up to the terrorists, a similar campaign against Deloitte & Touche ended with the auditing firm dropping Life Sciences as a client. Now, like the parricide who asks for mercy because he is an orphan, a website committed to shutting down Life Sciences complains that the company won't disclose the identity of the new auditors: "How does this fit with a transparent stock exchange? Well, the plain fact of the matter is that it doesn't."
The London Times reported how these tactics may have worked on the New York Stock Exchange, as the extremists boasted that they got to a market maker -- a business that facilitates exchange trades -- by vandalizing the market maker's yacht club. I called Carr Securities to ask if the story were true. Carr Securities Chairman Walter Carucci told me he was "tired of this issue" and hung up on me. Be it noted that the company did issue a press release in August that announced it doesn't deal in Life Sciences stock.
So why isn't the NYSE's appeasement a big story? A Nexis search showed no mention of it in The New York Times, even though it has a prominent business section and the harassment hit biggies in the gray lady's hometown. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a brief.