[CLARIFIED:] Animal Liberation Campaign Against Brea Medical Supply Company Turns Uglier

See the clarification at the end of this post about the group that released the statement about the latest vandalism against a Brea medical supply company official.

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A 13-year war between a U.K.-based cosmetics company and militant animal rights activists has spilled over to a Brea medical supplier and the Orange County homes of its employees.

The latest flare-up was Sunday evening in Yorba Linda, where a female executive found her backyard pool water dyed red and "PUPPY KILLER" and other messages spray painted in red on her garage door and driveway.

Another message discovered on the garage door of vice president Allison Blackwell's home in the 5700 block of Via Del Potrero--before police were called just before 7 p.m.--was, "DROP HLS," a reference to Huntingdon Life Sciences. The British cosmetics company's animal testing has been targeted by the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign since 1999.

Demonstrations began peacefully in front of the Huntingdon Life headquarters in the U.K., but the activism has grown more vehement--and violent--over the years. Threatening calls have been made to HLS employees' homes, 11 vehicles belonging to workers have been fire bombed and packages containing feces, dead animals and razor blades have been sent to houses of HLS staffers.

"One HLS executive was assaulted with pepper spray and struck in full view of his family," according to court documents. "HLS's managing director was viciously beaten outside his home by masked men wielding axe handles."

Huntingdon Life obtained an injunction limiting the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty coalition's ability to conduct protests against it and from terrorizing HLS employees and their homes. Some activists have reacted by switching targets to companies they claim are tied to HLS, including UPS, Citibank, Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch, Aetna Insurance and Johnson & Johnson. This has extended to employees of those companies, and the FBI has now labeled Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty a terrorist group.

The latest company in the campaign's cross-hairs is the Brea-based medical supplier Beckman Coulter, Inc., the employer of the Yorba Linda executive whose garage door needs a new paint job and pool needs to be drained.

Beckman Coulter officials say the activists are employing tactics previously used against HLS and HLS employees against Beckman Coulter and its workers, including vandalism and posting photos and addresses of employees and former employees on websites.

In May, the company obtained a restraining order in Orange County Superior Court against Band of Mercy Inc., which is affiliated with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, to stop harassing its employees. Named were Band of Mercy members Nicoal Sheen, Tyler Lang, Ezell Rima Jomaa and Shannon Maas.

Represented by Frank Broccolo of LA law firm Sidley Austin, Beckman Coulter cited the following specific incidents in court documents . . .


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