Bern, Switzerland: Drug maker Novartis AG said Tuesday that animal rights activists have stolen the ashes of its CEO Daniel Vasella’s mother and set fire to his Austrian hunting lodge. The message “Drop HLS Now” was spray-painted on the gravestone, indicating the company’s involvement with notorious animal abuser Huntingdon Life Sciences was the reason behind the attacks. Graffiti slogans against Novartis and Vasella were also written on the church in Vasella’s village of Risch in central Switzerland about three weeks ago, the company said.
Although Novartis was quick to deny their continued involvement with HLS, they have refused to issue such a statement to the animal advocacy movement concerned about animal suffering and abuse at the hands of HLS vivisectors. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), has campaigned for years against the British testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences, and is active in 18 countries around the world, but on Tuesday the group denied any involvement in the Novartis attacks. According to Novartis, attacks on houses and cars of the company employees as well as on Novartis property have grown in recent months. In May, the company’s restaurant at sports facilities in nearby St. Louis, France was damaged by fire.
Huntingdon Life Sciences has been exposed in seven consecutive undercover investigations which exposed lab technicians simulating sex with the animals, punching beagle puppies and violating numerous animal welfare regulations. The company kills 500 dogs and other animals every day testing such products as oven cleaners, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Before losing their NYSE listing several years ago, HLS lost their listing on the London Stock Exchange, after UK campaigners exposed atrocities occurring inside HLS facilities; the company currently teeters on the brink of bankruptcy.
A Press Officer with the North American Animal Liberation Press Office stated: “To the best of our knowledge, there has been no claim or communique from the Animal Liberation Front or other animal liberators regarding the burning of the home of Daniel Vasella of Novartis or the desecration of his mother’s cremated remains. Both actions are consistent, however, with those of activists fighting for the liberation of oppressed, tortured and murdered non-human animals. HLS, with whom Novartis does business, tortures and kills 500 innocent animals every day, and has been exposed in seven undercover investigations to be in violation of even basic animal welfare standards. We personally can only regret that Mr. Vasella was not present in the home when it burned.”
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