17 December 2005
An animal rights website yesterday defied a threat of legal action by the Premier Bacon company over its criticism of the company's practice of factory farming.
Lawyers for the Premier Bacon Company threatened legal action against the animal rights owner of premierbacon.co.nz if the site was not handed over to Premier Bacon by 5pm yesterday.
However the deadline passed with website owner Mark Eden sticking to his guns.
"Hell no," he told NZPA, when asked if he had handed over the site.
"I have no intention of handing it over."
Mr Eden uses the website to criticise factory farming of pigs and Premier Bacon in particular.
He is part of the Wellington Animal Rights Network (WARN), a group that recently organised a protest in which several people chained themselves to a Premier Bacon delivery truck.
Previously, Premier Bacon had managed to shut down the site for a few days due to copyright problems, but the website was up again within days.
This week lawyers issued a letter demanding that Mr Eden shut down the website and hand over ownership of the domain name to the Premier Bacon Company or court action would follow.
The letter has been posted on the website.
"You are presenting to the public you have proprietary interest or legal entitlement to the use of the name Premier Bacon," the letter said.
"This is plainly not the case. You had no entitlement to register nor maintain the registration."
Mr Eden said he would not close the website and would fight to keep it operating.
"The website shows the truth about the cruelty of factory farming. WARN believes that information is a truthful and fair criticism of the Premier Bacon Company.
"We will fight to retain ownership of the website and will continue to publicise the fact that Premier Bacon is directly involved in the abuse of animals."
Mr Eden said that while he could not afford high-powered lawyers, he would not hand over ownership of the domain name without a fight.
"The Premier Bacon Company is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of pigs every year, and that is the real issue here.
"Its an issue that we are going to continue to highlight as much as we can."
It was legal to use the name and criticise the company, he said.