In the first six months of this year, the number of violent attacks undertaken by animal rights protesters has declined compared to the same period last year, although the severity of some of the protests has increased, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) reported this week.

Figures gathered by the industry group show that there were 35 cases of damage to private property by animal activists in the first half of 2005, compared with 56 in the same period last year and a further 52 in the second half of 2004. Damage to company property also declined, with just two cases in the January-June period, compared with 29 in the same period last year and a further 15 in the second half of the year.

A similar decline in other forms of protest, such as demonstrating outside the homes of people involved or associated with animal research, was...

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