Jan. 4, 2006
The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has
sued Huntingdon Life Sciences of Somerset County, challenging its use
of animals in laboratory research just weeks before six animal rights
activists are to be tried on charges that they waged a terror campaign
against the company.
The NJSPCA, a private quasi-police agency operating under an 1868
animal cruelty law, insisted yesterday it was not embracing the
activists' cause. It filed the lawsuit in Middlesex County, charging
the Britain-based firm with more than 100 counts of animal cruelty.
But the lawsuit, like the activists, lambastes HLS's use of animals in
product research, and the case is based largely on decade-old
incidents that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said they
videotaped in 1996 and 1997 through an undercover operative.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture probed the PETA charges in 1998,
when it also reached a federal court settlement with HLS to improve
conditions for animals held at its East Millstone facility. But HSL
had also sued PETA, and the alleged evidence PETA gathered had been
sealed, until last year, under a federal court settlement reached in
"The USDA did its investigation, but the NJSPCA has its own duties
under state law," said NJSPCA spokesman Matt Stanton. "More
importantly, this is not the NJSPCA taking up the cause for PETA or
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty."