Animal rights activists have published photographs of Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella's vandalized family grave, and threatened to flush his mother's ashes -- taken in a July raid -- down a toilet. The threats were published on Bite Back, an online magazine that publicizes direct action groups' anonymous threats.
In July, activists demanding Novartis sever its ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences -- a contract lab that conducts experiments on animals -- also burned Vasella's vacation home in Switzerland.
The activists -- whom Vasella has labelled terrorists -- also said:
The first grave was rearranged as a warning for his coming 56th birthday. Plants were ripped out and two extra crosses naming Daniel and his wife Anne-Laurence Vasella were added to the grave. And the second grave - holding the remains of his immediate family - was dug in order for an urn of ashes to be removed.On Aug. 15, the activists claim they sent an email message directly to Vasella. It said, per Bite Back:
Because of you there are thousands of animals dying unnamed in mass graves, but yours was all too easy to find. If you wish the urn that was taken from the grave to be returned then you need to publically finish with Huntingon Life Sciences immediately.
You have 2 choices Mr Vasella: lose HLS or LOSE THE URN.A message on the site, also addressed to Vasella, added:
This time you've got the chance to receive back your family's urn in exchange for dropping HLS for now and for ever, Daniel, and if you don't act fast enough we can just empty the urn in the closest TOILET...Vasella has complained that police have not previously taken threats against his family seriously enough. Novartis has also said that it no longer has dealing with Huntingdon.
Despite gathering headlines critical of their actions against Vasella and his family, activists seem to have stepped up their actions against Novartis. A car belonging to a Novartis employee was trashed in Mexico on Aug 19, a threat was sent to Novartis Mexico on Aug. 17, a Novartis office in Switzerland was vandalized with butyric acid Aug. 14, and a letter with matches was sent as a "warning" to Novartis in Rome.
Militant Forces Against Huntingdon Life Sciences claimed responsibility for the attack on the Vasella grave.
Images: From Bite Back, click to enlarge.