On Tuesday 4 December a local news website, The Argus, reported a demonstration against Brighton University. It said a group called Brighton Vegan Activists had “stood outside the university on Friday with posters and photographs of vivisection designed by the Animal Justice Project.” A spokesperson said:
Sentient animals have the ability to feel pain and suffering as humans do, therefore we can relate to their plight. The vivisection is hidden from the general public and even students, as many were shocked to hear the university took the lives of 1,182 mice this year. It’s cruel and inhumane.
The university replied with the usual excuses of “improving quality of life for patients” and only using animals where there are no alternatives in research “regulated and monitored by the Home Office under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1968.”
Protests like this used to be relatively commonplace. In most towns and cities local animal rights groups campaigned against animal testing. A few became so popular they assumed national significance, most notably the one against a new laboratory at Oxford University from 2004-08 which drew headlines in newspapers and tv coverage.
This does not happen anymore. In fact since I started this blog in May 2014 one of the enduring themes has been the decline in the anti-vivisection movement, not only here in the UK but elsewhere too . Research shows opposition to vivisection worldwide has plummeted to negligible levels. I will be exploring the reasons for that and what, if anything, can be done about it in an article next year.
In the mean time we should be thankful to those activists who are still speaking up for the millions of animals tortured to death in British laboratories. Mel Broughton, the driving force behind the Speak campaign against Oxford University, has revived the weekly protests there on Thursday afternoons. There are also still occasional demos against Sequani laboratory in Ledbury by Hereford Animal Protection League.
Let’s not forget Animal Justice project. They have a number of anti-vivisection campaigns. The most recent, Lifeline, draws comparisons between the plight of farmed animals and those in laboratories. AJP says its a collaboration with “The Save Movement which raises awareness of the two biggest causes of animal exploitation globally: ‘food’ production and animal experimentation. Lifeline is the campaign where you get to ask people where they draw the line, and urge them at the same time to be a lifeline for animals.”