AR-News: Covance Undercover
rumsiki at netvision.net.il
Mon May 31 14:00:21 EDT 2004
If you want, you can skip all this and proceed to Covance Undercover.
Covance is a multinational biomedical testing company which abuses animals and attempts to quash free speech. This site now contains evidence regarding both of these despicable behaviors.
Some animal-rights activists in the city of Münster, Germany obtained photographs, video, and other evidence of Covance's abuses of monkeys and other animals and created a website called Covance Undercover. Rather than respond directly to the allegations contained therein, Covance corporation has attempted to intimidate, through lots and lots of lawyers, the ISPs which people are using to get the site in question onto the internet.
Their primary legal person seems to be one Thomas de Weerd, of the firm Houthoff-Buruma in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This is somewhat odd, as Covance does not otherwise have any offices in the Netherlands — it seems they want to insulate their lawyers from public protest. Indeed, Covance is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, not 60 miles (100 km) from the location of the owner of this particular mirror, and yet they have yet, it seems, to hire any American lawyers to work on the case.
So, first, some documents about the legal efforts to shut down this site and other mirror:
a.. A complaint to my ISP (text file, in English)
b.. My reply (text file, in English)
c.. (Note: in a brief email not reproduced here, my ISP decided that it is not their responsibility to enforce German law, and so my website will remain up for the time being.)
d.. Despite Mr. de Weerd's assertions, Covance Undercover remains legal in Switzerland, according to this ruling of a high court in Geneva. (1.23MB PDF file en français)
e.. A well-known Swiss professor of law has written a paper opining that, under Swiss law, the Covance Undercover website is quite legal. (40.7kB PDF file auf Deutsch)
f.. Covance has hired some lawyers in Hong Kong to threaten ISPs there. (237kB PDF, in English)
g.. The regional court in Münster ruled on 7 January 2004 (141kB PDF, in English translation) that Friedrich Mülln is forbidden to distribute the photos and video contained in Covance Undercover. Note, of course, that this decision is not binding on anyone but Mr. Mülln, and certainly not on non-Germans. (also: Original, auf Deutsch, 503kB PDF)
h.. A report on a demonstration in Basel written for Covance's lawyers (76.8kB PNG image auf Deutsch)
i.. Update! As of May 21, 2004, the Bezirksgericht (District Court) Münchwilen in Switzerland has ruled that vgt.ch is not forbidden to publish the photographs contained in Covance Undercover. The latest news in this situation is available from c9c.info, and now we have the ruling itself available (2.65MB PDF, auf Deutsch).
Swiss television's nightly news had also a TV news piece (11.6MB WMV movie; auf Deutsch) about the incident.
(Legal documents above are listed in the order I post them, not in chronological or any other sensible order.)
Covance's free-speech-quashing lawyers include:
a.. Thomas de Weerd of the firm Houthoff-Buruma in Amsterdam
b.. Robert Clark of the firm Deacons in Hong Kong
c.. Peter Pestalozzi and Clara-Ann Gordon of the firm Pestalozzi Lachenal Patry in Zurich
d.. Thomas Schierack, Barbara Schramm, Dr. Christoph Anger, Anja Bornemann, and Nikolaus Schulz, all of the firm Arcon in Köln
And, now, please proceed to judge for yourself by visiting Covance Undercover...
If you'd like to set up your own mirror, you can download a ZIP file (10.7MB) and put it on some webspace that you control. Also available: a package of the legal documents offered here (ZIP; 4.52MB)
The following other mirrors are known to exist:
a.. http://www.tierversuche-muenster.org/ (the original source for the site; currently unavailable)
There is also a video, some 24 minutes long and narrated in English, giving more details of the abuses. Due primarily to bandwidth constraints, it is not made available here; however, you can get it from the eDonkey file-sharing network, if you have the proper client software installed, by following this ed2k link. People who cannot get the file through this method but require a copy can contact me (details below) to work something out.
Some study reports and other interesting internal Covance documents were posted to the original Covance Undercover website just before it was shut down. Although the mirror above does not include these documents, I was able to obtain a copy of them. You can browse through these documents or grab a ZIP file (6.03MB) of them all.
Questions? Comments? New mirrors? Vague legal threats? Email me. Faxes and voicemail to +1 (530) 686-8623, or you can email me and ask for my real phone number.
Last Modified: 21:26 UTC, May 24, 2004, Mike Castleman (PGP Public Key)
Covance is a trademark, presumably registered, of Covance, Inc., and all its international subsidiaries. For the very dense: this site is not an official publication of Covance. In fact, they'd rather this site didn't exist at all.
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