This was done to pay our respects to the estimated 115 million animals who are used for laboratory experiments around the world every year, and to draw attention to their plight and to the many faults inherent in vivisection.
Events happened at 1 pm on the 23rd of April, the eve of World Day for Lab Animals in:
Wellington - where we joined forces with the Wellington Animal Rights Network.
and a smaller event also happened in Dunedin
Not only were we uniting across different cities in New Zealand but we were also working in sync with international anti-vivisection groups in the UK, Australia and the USA - as animal testing is a global injustice, it made a lot of sense to stand united with our international allies.
The NZAVS vigils involved eye-opening role plays to show the public the reality of what animals used for vivisection have to endure. We had volunteers dressed up in bloodied up lab coats with gloves, aprons, stethoscopes, scalpels and all other medical tools you could possibly think of - these were the evil doctors!
We also had volunteers dressed as the victims. They wore hospital gowns and tops with identification numbers written across them, bald caps with electrodes stuck into them, fake brain caps and bandages. These very brave volunteers were the ones being tested on for the duration of the one hour long vigil. They had drugs (tic tacs) and hazardous substances (coloured fizzy) poured down their throats, their organs were cut out, they were gassed, poked and prodded and treated like they were nothing more than lab tools.
While these dramatic role plays were happening, volunteers stood in support, holding anti-vivisection themed signs. Other volunteers were handing out flyers that summarize our scientific argument against animal testing to the many people stopping to watch.
While the visual performances were happening a volunteer with a megaphone read out a list of facts to inform the public on how scientifically invalid animal testing is. They included examples of cases where animal testing has gone wrong and hurt people, cases where results from animal tests are leading us astray and much more information that the public needs to know.
The demo left us all feeling incredibly empowered. Not only did we have countless people stopping and learning the truth about vivisection but we also stood united across NZ and globally with other people who are fighting for the same cause as we are - to end animal testing.
In Auckland the volunteers felt so inspired after the vigil, they took to the streets and initiated an impromptu march. Volunteers walked down the main streets of Auckland with their heads held high, holding their placards and banners while chanting;
"animal testing is a lie, animals suffer and they die."
We really are lucky to have such dedicated, passionate and intelligent volunteers. They helped make the day a real success. With such an amazing team, we have no doubt that together, we will end animal testing in NZ! To get involved in future events like this and join our volunteer team, send your details (email and name of the city you currently live in) to firstname.lastname@example.org