Foreign animal "militants" active in Switzerland

Switzerland's domestic intelligence service believes that foreign animal rights extremists are operating in the country.

This content was published on August 7, 2009 minutes

Martin Bühler, the spokesman for the Directorate for Analysis and Prevention, told Swiss radio on Friday that incidents involving animal rights radicals make up around ten per cent of its caseload.

On Thursday, an organisation called Militant Forces against Huntingdon Life Science (MFAH) claimed responsibility for Monday's attack on the Austrian holiday home of Daniel Vasella, chairman and chief executive of the Novartis pharmaceuticals group.

The group threatened to strike again and Swiss police said on Thursday that a second Vasella family grave had been desecrated.

Vandals sprayed a gravestone of the Vasella family with the slogan "Drop HLS Now," a reference to the British testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences that was often targeted in the past by animal rights activists, a police spokesman said.

A spokesman for Novartis said the Basel-based firm does not contract work to Huntingdon.

Bühler did not comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation, but said the group was known by the directorate.

MFAH claimed responsibility for setting fire to Vasella's hunting lodge on the website of a Florida-based magazine called Bite Back.

The website also contains hundreds of claims ranging from the "liberation" of a turkey to accounts of vandalism, harassment, intimidation and sabotage.

One report describes militants freeing a rabbit before being foiled by the family dog. In others, activists boast of making death threats to corporate executives. and agencies

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