Wednesday September 20, 2010
Today, a variety of activists from Portland, OR (including but not limited to the Animal Defense League) merged on several locations of American General Financial Services. Demonstration and education occurred at multiple branch locations of AG Financial throughout the Portland area.
Huntingdon Life Sciences is Europe's largest Contract Research Organization (CRO). As long as their customers will pay them, HLS will test anything on the thousands of non-human lives who are held captive at HLS facilities. They've been known to test household products, pesticides, drugs, herbicides, food coloring and additives, sweeteners and genetically modified organisms. 500 animals are used and then killed everyday inside of HLS. That is one life every three minutes.
In 2006 the Fortress Investment Group entered into a "secret" arrangement with Huntingdon Life Sciences, and loaned them $70 million. If Fortress had not loaned them $70m, HLS would have closed in 2006. If they were to withdraw their loan now, it is highly likely that HLS would be forced to close.
Recently, Fortress bought out American General Financial Services (AG) making AG an official subsidiary of the company. Every dollar of profit they make is money that belongs to Fortress. It is the money that Fortress used to loan HLS. It is the money that HLS uses to conduct its horrendous business of animal exploitation. It is blood money, pure and simple. We must stop it where it starts.
It starts with companies like AG Financial Services. Their complicity must end.
Activists arrived at the first AG location only find out that the branch had closed for the day. The business next door informed activists that only five minutes prior, the employees of AG locked the doors and left because they were, "terrified" of anti-HLS activists. Before moving on to the next location, activists covered the sidewalk with chalk messages encouraging AG and Fortress to cut ties with HLS.
Within the hour the group moved on to a second AG location in the Portland area. Although this location was still technically open, they closed all blinds, shut all windows, and locked all doors. Activists made sure that the public and the employees inside were aware of American General's relationship to HLS. Because they had shut off lines of communication before activists even had a chance to discuss the issues diplomatically with them, business was disrupted with chants, air horns, and sirens.
Before calling it a day, the group returned to the first AG location to see if they were still closed for the day, only to find out that they had reopened with employees working inside. Wanting to ensure that AG would get the message to cut ties with HLS, activists reappeared to finish the day with a demonstration. This time AG employees would not be able to run away from the truth.
This was the first anti-HLS action to occur in Portland in three years. It definitely will not be the last. Portland is back and in solidarity. SMASH HLS!!