cuddly name, Hugs for Puppies alarms drug-industry employees."
The Wall Street Journal - September 28, 2005
Activists Attack Drug Industry
by Heather Won Tesoriero
The New York
Stock Exchange's decision earlier this month to yank a planned stock listing of
an animal-testing company marked a success for the extreme tactics of
But it was only the most visible sign of a
battle that has been raging with increased ferocity in recent years in courts,
at corporate headquarters, and sometimes at the homes of executives.
one time known for throwing paint on fur coats, some animal-rights activists are
now seen by the drug industry and law enforcers as home-grown terrorists who
launch attacks against individuals connected to animal testing.
Board hasn't said why it pulled the listing of Life Sciences Research on the
morning it was scheduled. Without elaboration, a spokesman says the listing was
But the animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty,
which has long targeted Life Sciences and its sister company, Huntingdon Life
Sciences, had published the names and contact information of New York Stock
Exchange officials on its Web site, encouraging movement supporters to protest
the stock listing.
SHAC's targeting of the New York Stock Exchange is the
latest in a string of actions it has taken against companies in recent years.
The group is named in a suit filed in New Jersey State Superior Court by Teva
Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and one of its divisions which alleges, among
other things, that SHAC members broke into the home of an executive and charged
goods on his credit card.
"There's been no other movement that has
brought as much violence, destruction, and vandalism as animal-rights and
environmental-rights activists," says John Lewis, Federal Bureau of
Investigation deputy assistant
director in charge of counterterrorism. (The
FBI's international terrorism division tracks foreign terrorists.)
quest to shut down Huntingdon LIfe Sciences, a British concern with facilities
in the U.S., has spawned related gorups. In July, members of Philadelphia-based
Hugs for Puppies were arrested outside of drug company Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. and
charged with criminal trespassing, criminal mischief, and consipracy to commit
Despite its cuddly name, Hugs for Puppies alarms
drug-industry employees. The group, like many animal-rights activists, decries
biomedical research that involves animal testing as cruel and unnecessary. One
of its main
tactics is to publicize personal information about employees and
At a recent biotechnology conference in Philadelphia, the
group distributed a flier and map with the names, home addresses, and phone
numbers of several drug-company employees in the area. The brochure said it
didn't intend to promote illegal activity, but added, "Of course, what you do is
up to you," and "Give our friends in the pharma and biotech industries memories
that will last a lifetime."
Last year, armed FBI agents raided the home
of one of Hugs for Puppies' key organizers, Nick Cooney, a 24-year-old nutrition
educator who shares his house with seven others. Mr. Cooney says he was not home
at the time of the raid, but that several of his possessions were confiscated.
No charges were brought against Mr. Cooney.
Drug companies and some
government authorities are also fighting animal-rights groups through the
courts. In June, a New Jersey judge declared a mistrial in a case against six
members of SHAC who were indicted for alleged crimes against HLS employees. Ths
mistrial was declared after an attorney in the case became ill. A new trial is
scheduled for next February.
Hugs for Puppies, Mr. Cooney, and SHAC were
named in a preliminary injunction issued in April by a New Jersey superior court
judge in a lawsuit filed in the chancery division of New Jersey superior court
in Bergen County. The suit was filed by Teva Pharmaceuitcal and two senior
executies, George Barrett and George Svokos. The lawsuit claims the groups
harassed executives and their children in their homes, at church, and at their
schools. According to the suit, defendants broke into the home of Mr. Svokos,
president of a Teva unit, on Jan. 27 and stole an airplane ticket and charged
$5,000 to his credit card. In February, Mr. Svokos's priest received an email
accusing Mr. Svokos of "inappropriately watching and touching children." The
recently amended their complaint to add a racketeer influenced
and corrupt organization charge, a so-called RICO charge. On Sept. 21, a motion
for permission to appeal the preliminary injunction was denied by the New Jersey
state superior court.
Through a spokeswoman for Teva, Messrs. Barrett and
Svokos declined to comment, and Teva declined to comment on its policies
regarding animal testing.
SHAC founder GREG Avery, 37, of Worcestershire,
England, says his group
doesn't support violence. In previous interviews,
Mr. Cooney has maintained
his innocence on this and other charges brought