|/ Mobilise! / Issue 45 (December 1997) / Page 4||Email page link | Print this page|
|Direct Action Against Vivisection in 1997|
1997 has seen a big increase in the use of direct action against vivisection in the United States and in the UK. This is a short history of some of the notable events this year.
In January, Barry Horne, a UK activist in prison after being charged with criminal damage to the property of vivisection businesses, started his first hunger strike. Barry said he would not eat until the British government promised to outlaw vivisection. Barry asked for supporters of his aims to organise actions against vivisection. And so they did. Dozens of Barry Horne support protests were organised by UK activists and several turned into near riots as hundreds of people trashed vivisection labs in broad daylight, and rescued dozens of animals from the labs and lab animal suppliers. Barry ended his hunger strike in February after five weeks without food. He did not accomplish his primary aim, but said the increase in action against vivisection as a result of his strike meant it was a success.
The Animal Liberation Front raided a vivisection lab in Florianopolis in Brazil on February 2nd, and released eighty monkeys. Numerous slogans were painted on the walls of the buildings. The activists broke in through the roof of the building. Unfortunately police recaptured some of the monkeys but most escaped back into the wild.
On the 19th of April, over 500 protesters gathered at Consort Kennels, a beagle dog breeding place for vivisection experiments in Herefordshire in England. The place was guarded by riot police and razorwire barricades. The protesters managed to wreck several cars parked in the staff car park, and burn down two sheds and a tractor. Nearly all the protesters wore masks and continuously swapped clothes so police could not identify any of them. One dog was liberated by activists but riot police chased fifty protesters across fields and eventually recaptured the dog and arrested 26 people. After the demo four staff members of the breeding centre had their houses vandalised. Meanwhile on the same day in Oxford, Hill Grove cat breeders was raided and twenty cats rescued from future vivisection. On the following weekend Oxford was the target. The University there closed its science dept all weekend because of the protests and two different groups of several hundred protesters spent the day causing havoc. A third group smashed up laboratory buildings later that day while the police were following the other two demonstrations. At the end of the day several vivisectors got home visits and that night some naughty people firebombed some meat trucks in a nearby county!
Protests were also organised in North America. On April 19th at the University of Davis, California 36 people were arrested as they tried to storm the vivisection labs there. Some damage was done to a partially constructed laboratory. The following Friday in Seattle, USA, 25 protesters disrupted a science open day at the University. Vivisectors quickly scooped up the lab animals they had on display before the protesters could rescue them, and eventually the vivisection display was closed down when they realised the protesters were not leaving. On the weekend of the 26th and 27th, the Americans all headed for Atlanta, Georgia where Emory University has over a thousand primates used for vivisection. A large crowd of animal liberationists were joined by gay-rights activists protesting against fraudulent AIDS research on chimpanzees. Police responded by firing stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd of peaceful protesters who then threw the police barricades through the windows of a cop car! Over sixty people were arrested and several were injured by the cops. The prison held most of the protesters for three days which caused massive media coverage of the protest. Several weeks later United States police kicked down the doors of several California activists and arrested them for "conspiracy to commit trespass". A large amount of damage was done to the activists houses and months later they are still waiting for the return of computers and other property taken by the police.
(Continued next page)
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