UPDATE 1-Novartis attacks signal new animal rights activism
Thu Aug 6, 2009 11:30am EDT
By Emma Thomasson
ZURICH, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Animal rights activists claimed responsibility on Thursday for burning down the holiday home of Novartis (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Daniel Vasella as Swiss police said a second grave of his family had been desecrated.
Vandals sprayed a Vasella family gravestone with the slogan "Drop HLS Now", police said, a reference to the British animal-testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) that has been a major target for protests by animal rights activists.
They also stuck two wooden crosses in the ground, the spokesman said. He declined to confirm Swiss media reports the crosses carried the names of the Novartis CEO and his wife.
Vasella's Austrian holiday home caught fire on Monday and the Austrian interior ministry said they had receved a claim of responsibility from a group called Militant Forces Against Huntingdon Life Science and its authenticity was under review.
In a statement posted on a direct action website, the group said they had petrol bombed Vasella's hunting lodge. "Understand this: this will continue until you sever all ties with Huntingdon Life Sciences. We will attack your private life wherever possible," the statement said.
The cemetery attacked last week was the same where Vasella's parents' grave was desecrated and an urn containing the ashes of his mother stolen. Read More
Here is an update on the animal rights attack against the Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella. The militant group of terrorists that are claiming responsibility will hopefully be apprehended. Our researchers and company executives shouldn’t have to live in fear because they are doing life-saving medical research that will benefit everyone. I hope the research can continue so future generations will read about incurable diseases in the history books.