In the wake of the often violent campaign by animal rights activists against Huntingdon Life Sciences, Great Britain is considering changing laws which place the home addresses of company directors in the public domain. But even if the change is made, it is unlikely to prevent activists from targeting the homes of people involved in animal enterprises.
Great Britain requires company directors to supply their home addresses to the Department of Trade and Industry. The addresses are made publicly available in a special Companies House list. According to a Department of Trade and Industry spokesperson, “Having a home address available publicly is an important part of transparency for directors.”
The proposed change would all directors to provide an address where they can receive mail but which is not necessarily a home address.
But first directors would have to jump through a series of hoops to prove that they are at risk of violence and intimidation if their home addresses are published. The proposed law also provides criminal penalties for directors who falsely claim to be at risk of violence (I’m not sure how British prosecutors intend to prove that someone was lying abut a perceived risk of violence).
Regardless, this proposed change smacks of a pointless feel good measure that will allow Parliament to tell constituents it is doing something about animal rights extremists, while barely altering the status quo. It is extremely unlikely, given the sophistication in gathering supposedly private information that the animal rights movement in Great Britain has shown, that omitting the home address of a company director is going to slow down activists for more than a very short period of time.
Directors ‘at risk’ may keep addresses secret. James Mackintosh, Financial Times (London), October 4, 2001.
Biotech directors shielded. Terry Macalister, The Guardian (London), October 4, 2001.
Anonymity for at-risk company directors. Mark Williamson, The Herald (Glasgow), October 4, 2001.
There are no revisions for this post.