World Day for Animals in Laboratories – April 16, 2011

By Shari Black Velvet


It's 4.30am and the familiar tones of 'Wake up, wake up, woah-oh' (Goldfinger's 'Open Your Eyes') on my mobile phone alarm clock do indeed wake me up. Today is World Day for Animals in Laboratories. Surprisingly I actually got sleep last night. I'd say two hours max considering I went to bed at 1.30am and didn't drop off straight away. I usually get none though - so I must have been tired. My usual energy drink and 2 pieces of Tofutti cream cheese on toast help make me feel more alive. It takes me 2 3/4hours to get ready (I'm female!) and then after my own solitary 40min march into Redditch town centre I get to the coach in time for the 8am pick-up. We set off and then pick up in Coventry and Birmingham before the full coach arrives in Manchester at midday. Stalls have been set up selling everything from vegan food to T-shirts and badges with lots of leaflets to hand out. After a while the initial speeches kick off. Speakers include Richard Deboo (formerly of Animals Count), Helder Constantino (NAVS/ADI), Debbie from SHAC and Dr. Andre Menache (Antidote Europe). Vegan poet Dominic Berry also performs some humorous poetry. The main part of the day of course is the march and after the speeches we leave Whitworth Park and head up the very long Oxford Road. Everyone stops at Manchester University where chants of 'Shame, shame, shame on you' take over. After this protest by Stopford Building there is two minutes silence to remember the animals that have lost their lives in laboratories - or that are still in there being tortured. Andre Menache gives a second speech about the futility of animal testing/research. The march then continues and goes around various streets in the city centre. There are many onlookers who read the placards as we march by and are given leaflets by the designated leafletters. A couple clap, showing their agreement and support. We pass Manchester Metropolitan University which in contrast to Manchester University is progressing with the aid of humane research and does not test on animals. The march continues until we finally reach Albert Square (not the one in Eastenders!) at 3.45pm. There's time for a few more speeches including a member of Manchester University's animal rights group (the Uni students aren't ALL bad!) and another poem by Dominic Berry before folk either head home on coaches - or move over to the Info and Social Event at Cross St. Chapel. Our West Mids coach arrives at 5pm so we don't stay for the evening activities which includes a punk benefit gig at The Cavendish or the Social at Okasional Vegan Cafe.

All in all, it's a positive day. All we need is the rest of the world to realise and speak out with us regarding how useless, wrong and cruel animal testing is. If you didn't attend this march, come along to the next one. Be a part of an event that matters. Visit for more info.















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