Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United Kingdom
Animal Rights Militia "has contaminated Savlon"

David Batty and agencies
August 30, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Hundreds of thousands of bottles and tubes of Savlon have been removed from sale after animal rights activists claimed to have contaminated them.

The Animal Rights Militia said it had tampered with 250 Savlon antiseptic products as part of a campaign against an animal testing laboratory. Savlon is primarily marketed as a treatment for children's cuts and grazes.

The group did not say how the items had been tampered with, but it also claimed to have contaminated Novartis contact lens solution, on sale in France, by injecting bottles with bleach.

It said it had targeted Savlon because it believed the product's Swiss manufacturer, Novartis, was a client of the Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) research centre.

In a statement addressed to the Novartis chief executive, Daniel Vasella, the group said the campaign against the firm would continue unless it severed its ties with HLS.

It made the contamination claim in a statement posted on the website of the US Animal Liberation Front magazine BiteBack on Tuesday.

"Over the last five days, over 250 tubes and bottles of ... Savlon have been tampered with in the north of England in stores such as Superdrug, Boots and other well-known stores.

"We don't want to kill living beings like Novartis, but the side effects and the inevitable hospital stay will give people an idea of what Novartis pays for inside Huntingdon Life Sciences.

"The message is clear and uncompromising ... you must stop killing animals inside Huntingdon Life Sciences or this will only be the beginning of our campaign."

On the same day, the group issued a similar warning about contaminated bottles of contact lens solution being sold in France.

"On August 25-27, 85 bottles of Solo Care, Aqua made at Novartis were infected across France," it said. "We infected Vision Origionale, Atol, Krys, Optical Center and Optique Jardin." It claimed the contaminant was hydrogen peroxide.

In 1984, the Animal Rights Militia claimed to have poisoned supplies of Mars bars, but later admitted this was a hoax. The group said the action had caused huge financial losses for the chocolate manufacturer.

There is no evidence that Savlon products have been contaminated, but Novartis said it was taking the threat seriously and had contacted police and the shops it supplies.

"This appears to be part of the long-running campaign by animal rights extremists which adversely affects both Novartis and our consumers," a company spokesman said.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said it was working with Novartis, retailers and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to investigate.

An Acpo spokesman said: "Our overriding priority is to ensure that members of the public remain safe at all times."

The MHRA, which regulates the safety of medicines and medical devices, said customers should check Savlon product packaging and not use anything that may have been tampered with.

A spokeswoman for Boots said the company wanted to "reassure customers that their safety is our number one priority" and had withdrawn all Savlon products from its stores across the country until investigations had been carried out.

LONDON: Animal rights activists claimed to have sabotaged health care products in Britain and France in a long-running, and often violent, campaign against an animal-testing firm, police said Friday.

Britain's Animal Rights Militia said it had contaminated products made by the Swiss-based pharmaceuticals manufacturer Novartis AG, targeting the firm over its alleged use of Huntingdon Life Sciences -- a company hounded in Britain and the United States for testing medical products on animals.
"Over the last five days over 250 tubes and bottles of Novartis's antiseptic product Savlon have been tampered with" said the statement posed on Tuesday. "We don't want to kill living beings like Novartis, but the side effects and the inevitable hospital stay will give people an idea of what Novartis pays for inside Huntingdon Life Sciences."
In March, three British animal rights activists were jailed for prison terms ranging from 15 months to four years for intimidating employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences and connected companies.

Prosecutors said the activists -- from Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, or SHAC -- had invaded offices across the country belonging to companies that either supplied or dealt with the firm.
French consumers who purchased SOLO-Care Aqua lens solution between Aug. 25-30 in one of four stores in France have been urged to exchange the product and to report any unusual eye pain to a doctor.

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