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The Protest Game: Animal Rights Protests and the Life Sciences Industry

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In 1997 a small group of animal rights protesters devised a strategy of legal and illegal protests that almost closed down one of Europe's largest animal testing firms, Huntingdon Life Science (HLS). The animal rights protesters successfully disrupted the operations of HLS and severed its links with some of the world's largest financial institutions. This case study examines the “protest game” that was played between the animal rights protesters, HLS, and its business partners. In the first section, I describe the interactions between the parties to the dispute, applying negotiation analytic concepts to better explicate the structure of the game, the alternatives available to the players, and the psychological heuristics and biases that influenced decision making. The conclusion suggests alternative ways in which the protesters and the life sciences industry could resolve the dispute over the ethics and cruelty of animal testing.

Keywords: animal rights; game theory; life sciences; negotiation analysis; protest game

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2008


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