Animal rights campaigners Jon Ablewhite, Kerry Whitburn, John Smith and Josephine Mayo have been jailed today, 11th May, at Nottingham Crown Court. The three men have been sentenced to 12 years in prison whilst Josephine Mayo received a 4 year sentence.
Jon Ablewhite, 36, of Manchester, Kerry Whitburn, 36, and John Smith, 39, both of the West Midlands, were jailed for 12 years for conspiracy to blackmail. They had targeted David Hall and Partners, a family run business, breeding guinea pigs to be used in research at their farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire.
Dying guinea pig--one of hundreds of victims photographed inside Darley Oaks Guinea Pig FarmA campaign against the Halls was started after the ALF broke into the farm in 1999 and liberated 600 guinea pigs, the group also took video footage of the appalling conditions the guinea pigs were forced to endure. The film highlighted animals being housed and bred inside the windowless sheds on the farm where neglect, physical abuse, and filthy living conditions were the norm.
Animals were seen mutilating themselves and each other and mothers were seen killing and eating their young, a behaviour exhibited by stressed animals who sense there is little chance of their offspring surviving. Paperwork taken from the farm showed the pens, containing 9 females to one male, are only cleaned out once a week. Predictably, however, none of the documentation, photographs or video footage was ever reported on by the media.
Det Ch Insp Nick Baker, commented after the case, "I am delighted that these offenders are now behind bars. Any effort to cloak their cause in morality was destroyed by their guilty pleas."
John Hall, who ran the farm with his brother Christopher, commented "I hope that, while they are in prison, they will reflect on what they have done and may even realise themselves that they overstepped the mark".
A statement was read out in court by Christopher Hall. Apart from abusing guinea pigs, Hall and his brother were also responsible for attacking two peaceful woman campaigners, who subsequently needed hospital treatment. Christopher Hall’s prepared statement included : "These activists are terrorists, they have run a terrorist campaign against our business."