Novartis: Police Get Serious About Attacks on CEO; Boehringer Lab Site Torched

Last Updated Sep 18, 2009 11:03 AM EDT

Swiss police have finally started taking the animal rights attacks on Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella seriously, according to Swissinfo. Activists destroyed his family's grave in July, stole his mother's ashes and burned down his vacation home. Vasella in August complained that local police had not taken the attacks seriously enough.

Two months later, the local police have started coordinating their investigation with federal and foreign police, according to World Radio Switzerland.

They have plenty to investigate. Since the attack on Vasella 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.

Most recently, on Aug. 26, activists in Mexico sabotaged 17 tubes of Lamisil cream in "various" shopping centers in Mexico state. Doesn't sound like a big deal but random product sabotage is the kind of thing that can trigger a full-scale recall if it becomes dangerous to consumers.

More seriously, activists on Sept. 11 burned down a meat-packing building near a Boehringer Ingelheim construction site in Germany, where the company is building an animal testing lab (click on image to enlarge):

On September 11, fires destroyed a truck and damaged a refrigeration unit at a meat company in Hannover. Police estimated damages at 100,000 Euros.

The fires were the latest incident in Hannover that police suspect are linked to protests against construction of an animal testing laboratory by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim.

Police previously fought protesters in a riot involving water cannon at the BI site.