In October, the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for Sept. 7 attack on the UK home of GlaxoSmithKline executive Paul Blackburn.
In an e-mail posted on animal rights extremists sites, the ALF claimed,
On the night of Weds 7th Sept we Brigade G of the Animal Liberation Front detonated a bomb on the doorstep of GlaxoSmithKline director Paul Blakburn, Beaconsfield, Bucks.
This contained 2 litres of fuel and 4 pounds of explosives. We did this because GSK is a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences and GSK we realise that this may not be enough to make you stop using HLS, but GSK this is just the beginning.
We have identified and tracked down many of your senior executives and also junior staff, as well as those from other HLS customers.
Drop HLS or you will face the consequences. For all the animals inside HLS, we will be back.
Members of Blackburn’s family were in the home when the extremists ignited the incendiary device — so much for all that nonsense about ALF taking extreme care not to risk human lives.
The ALF also claimed responsibility for a September 23 attempted arson at a sports facility in Oxford.
Firebomb in Beaconsfield. Bucks Free Press, October 4, 2005.
The Times (London) is reporting today that in a private meeting with Tony Blair the CEOs of GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca threatened to pull new investments from Great Britain unless the country does something about extremist acts by animal rights activists.
According to The Times, GSK alone spends 3 million pounds a day in Great Britain and told Blair that it would not “spend another pound” until the government demonstrated it had a more effective strategy for dealing with the extremists.
AstraZeneca chief Tom McKillop told The Times,
At regular meetings with ministers, we have said that we cannot continue to function unless you deal with the animal rights issue. The implications economically are desperately serious.
Drug giants’ threat on animal terrorism. Ingrid Mansell, The Times (London), September 9, 2004.
About 30 animal rights activists associated with a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania group called Hugs for Puppies demonstrated outside the home of GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer Jean-Pierre Garnier. Garnier was out of town at the time.
According to the London Telegraph, about 30 protesters chanted and marched on the street outside Garnier’s home while police looked on.
Organizer Alexandra Deyo told The Telegraph that the protest was a response to Garnier’s recent characterization of activists as cowards. Deyo said,
He’s only been speaking to the British media against animal rights groups and has been speaking like he’s a victim when he actually lives in the US.
Deyo is apparently referring to a July interview that Garnier gave to the Telegraph in which he said,
I take it [animal rights violence] extremely personally. When your general counsel has to go into hiding in some apartment and has to move out of his house with his young children because he has been threatened, you do take that personally.
Apparently empathy for other people is an alien emotion to activists like Deyo.
Deyo, by the way, is one of the activist who was arrested in June and charged with criminal conspiracy, harassment, disorderly conduct and child endangerment in connection with a protest she organized that targeted an executive with Johnson Matthey Pharmaceutical Materials.
Animal rights stand-off at Garnier home. Dominic White, The Telegraph (London), August 23, 2004.
GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer Jean-Pierre Garnier recently condemned animal rights activists, saying they were causing his and other firms to divert sizable sums that could be spent on drug discovery and research but must now be spent on security in Great Britain.
Garnier said that his company alone spends tens of millions of pounds on protecting facilities and individuals from animal rights extremists. Garnier said,
This is money that could be spent on research and development of new drugs. Britain has to do more with its police and the judicial system because we are being terrorized.
Garnier also said that a number of firms are considering moving their research staffs out of Great Britain or considering avoiding the country for future investment. He said,
I work hard to bring in investment to the United Kingdom and have talked many times to friends who are in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses about moving here. But there is one issue that exists only in the UK and nowhere else has a comparative effect from extreme actions by animal rights activists.
Glaxo employs nearly 6,000 people in research throughout Great Britain, and Garnier said he takes the threats against those employees personally,
I take it very personally. When you general counsel has to go into hiding in some apartment and has to move out of his house with his young children because he has been threatened, you do take that personally.
Glaxo chief: animal rights cowards are terrorizing us. Rosie Murray-West, Telegraph (UK), July 28, 2004.
GlaxoSmithKline, the largest European drug maker, issued a press release this week defending Huntingdon Life Sciences and promised that it would continue to be a customer of HLS despite the concerted campaign of intimidation by animal rights activists against anyone continuing to do business with HLS.
In its press release, GSK chairman Richard Sykes said, “It is totally unacceptable that any company conducting its legitimate business within the confines of the law can be undermined by a long-term campaign of violence, intimidation and harassment.”
Sykes went on to point out that medical progress cannot occur without animal experimentation and that GKS would continue to use HLS as long as it maintained its high standards of animal welfare.
Glaxo backs beleaguered animal testing lab. Reuters, May 21, 2001.