World Day for Animals in Laboratories was held in Manchester this year on April 16 2011. Some 500 attended.
Quaker Concern for Animals was represented by the clerk and treasurer and three members, Hanna from the Wirral and Alan and Mary from Halifax. Thanks for your support, friends!
On a lovely sunny day in Whitworth Park – as a Mancunian, I can assure you this sometimes happens – conveniently located near the University of Manchester campus, we began with speeches from the campaigners, who included Richard De Boo, formerly of Animals Count, from Helder Constantino of the National Anti-Vivisection Society/Animal Defenders International and from our patron, André Menache of Antidote-Europe. www.antidote-europe.org
He reminded us that it is crucial to inform our MPs and get them on our side – they have the power to change legislation and nothing will happen without their support. The only MP with qualifications in life sciences was convinced by the literature to support our cause.
The rally moved down Oxford Road, pausing at the Stopford Building, where much testing on animals takes place. We held a 2 minute silence to remember the thousands of animals sacrificed there. We continued towards Deansgate and then into Albert Square, where there were more speeches.
It was good to meet Liz Tyson, new director of Captive Animals’ Protection Society, whom I introduced to André Menache, who, as a veterinarian, offered the group his expertise.
En route, a Friend from Stafford linked up with us, and another lady, whose father is a Quaker, offered to ask him to put QCA leaflets in Mount Street Meeting House, where we have no contacts as yet.
Please see www.wdail.org for more information on the event.
Universities are fast becoming institutions that are producing a new kind of waste – “intellectual waste”. How else can one describe the animal studies and the resulting data that is churned out week after week by the country’s leading places of learning? To these animal researchers, a mouse, a rat, a rabbit, a pig or a monkey are all tools of their trade as well as a means of ensuring income for their department. All they are required to do is conjure some experiment and record what happens to the animal when a major blood vessel to the brain is deliberately blocked for several hours. They know they will get a result. And whatever the results obtained, they will be published in a scientific journal, thus adding one more grain of knowledge to the mountain of useless knowledge that blocks real progress.
The University of Manchester is just as guilty as any other university in the UK where animal experiments take
place. And the same system is in operation. The animal research is approved by a committee whose members have a vested interest in their continuation. There is not a single dissenting scientist on the ethical committees that approve these animal studies, and if ever there were such scientists, they would very soon find themselves ostracised by the university for daring to challenge their colleagues. So much for academic freedom in the 21st century.
According to the website of the University of Manchester, “The Faculty of Life Sciences is committed to engaging with the public, be it through its schools outreach work, Faculty open days or by alerting the world to its research breakthroughs via the media. Its scientists take a proactive approach to communicating their work, understanding the importance of explaining their research, not only to justify continued funding but also to excite and inspire the young people who will be the groundbreaking scientists of the future”.
Statements like these help to keep the public in the dark about the real nature of the animal research that takes place behind University of Manchester’s closed doors. In 2010, cat and monkey brains were destroyed, dogs were subjected to allergy tests, pigs were sliced up, rabbits were deliberately given lung infections and rats force-fed alcohol.
Several UK university heads have been approached to host an open scientific debate on the subject of animal experiments. None of the universities have replied. They clearly want to have their cake and eat it. On one hand, they claim to be committed to engaging with the public and explaining the importance of their research, while on the other, they consistently refuse to debate with scientists and continue to stack their animal ethics committees with “yes” men and women. Time for change!
Please also note that André Menache’s report Toxic Waste has a link on our site – visit the January 2011 archive.
~ Photos courtesy of Khalid Hussenbux and Alan Betteridge.
On April 23, our patron, Dr. André Menache, also addressed the World Day for Animals in Laboratories rally in Paris.
He reports that there were about 1000 participants from France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.