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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Controversial lab director gets award
Brian Cass, boss of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), the controversial medical research company, has been given a CBE.

The award comes after several turbulent years for HLS, which has faced demonstrations against its work with animals, as well as financial problems.

In February 2001, Mr Cass was attacked outside his home by three pickaxe handle wielding attackers. They were caught and subsequently jailed.

Mr Cass has steadfastly refused to be intimidated by anti-vivisection protestors.

He has said: "Our work is crucial as we help our customers develop safe new products which improve the quality of life and protects both man and the environment."

'Special day'

HLS has been involved in the development of treatments for Aids, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer and heart disease.

A spokesperson for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection said: "I am appalled that in the face of growing public concern that the government has made this symbolic award. It shows the extent of HLS's high-level support."

Greg Avery, a spokesman for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, said the decision was a "gimmick".

Mr Cass said he regarded his CBE as an indication of the level of government and public support for companies such as his.

He said it was "a special day for everybody involved in our research area and particularly our employees".

He added: "There is always going to be pressure from protest groups but what this does is show that the government is really and truly behind people in this industry".

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Brian Cass CBE of Huntingdon Life Sciences
"I think this is a very positive statement from the establishment"

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