4th International Animal Rights Day (IARD)
10th December 2001
On 10th December 2001 animal rights groups across the world held
candlelit vigils and demonstrations to commemorate the Fourth International
Animal Rights Day. Despite falling on a Monday (and a very cold and
foggy one at that!) there were over 30 vigils and events in the UK and
across the world.
The vigils were a powerful and dignified demand for the natural and fundamental
rights of all animals not to be deliberately exploited, harmed and killed
- as laid out in our Universal Declaration of Animal
Rights. The Declaration has been signed by organisations representing
hundreds of thousands of people in: the UK, Argentina, Australia,
Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Ireland,
Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, South Africa,
Spain, Switzerland, and the USA.
All animals, not just humans, are autonomous, sensitive, conscious beings
and are vulnerable to harm. The reasons why human beings deserve the respect
that flows from a recognition of their right not to be deliberately harmed
apply equally to animals. To withhold such respect from animals is arbitrary
and unjust. Animals will never be free from harmful domination by humans
until their basic moral rights are recognised and honoured. The most fundamental
aim of all animal rights campaigners across the world is encompassed by
our campaign for a UDAR. This is the touchstone for our movement.
Vigils took place not only at vivisection facilities, but also at butchers,
abattoirs, vivisection-funding charity shops, McDonalds restaurants, universities
and even bull-rings!
Uncaged Campaigns teamed up with Cambridge Animal Aid and Animals, People
& Environment (APE) to promote a candle-lit vigil at the Downing Street
site of Cambridge University - where some of the most vicious animal experimentation
programmes seen in the UK recent years have taken place. Cambridge University
is also attempting to build a massive new animal-testing laboratory on
green-belt land near just north of the city. There was a good turn-out
for a very visible vigil (despite some traffic problems we experienced
on the way to Cambridge) and lots of regional media coverage.
Despatches From The Front
Marilyn from Swindon Animal Concern reports:
"On December 10 eleven of us held a peaceful candle-lit demo
outside Isotron HQ in Swindon (Isotron irradiates products for the vivisection
industry including bedding etc. for the guinea pigs at David Hall and
"We arrived at 4pm and asked to see the manager to present
him with a petition signed by over 500 Swindon people. We were told
that if we waited outside someone would come out to speak to us. In
fact, what they did was lock the doors. As no-one would talk to us we
decided to shout, blow whistles etc. to let them know why we were there.
"After around half an hour the workers were waiting to leave
but were too afraid to come out so the police were called. To our great
amusement, they wouldn't open the door to let him in. He had to radio
police HQ to ask them to ring Isotron and tell them to open the door.
When he was eventually let in the officer kindly arranged for us to
present the manager with the petition... We handed the petition over
and told Mr Manager what we thought of his company's association with
the vivisection industry. He made no comment.
"Isotron are clearly very jumpy, Swindon Animal Concern and
Cirencester Animal Rights will keep up the pressure!"
Louise Baxter attended a large 'medieval' vigil organised by Edinburgh
Animal Rights in Edinburgh:
"Just emailing to let you know that the vigil at Riccarton
Industrial Estate (Quintiles) went well. Police arrived but only 2 in
a car to check we were behaving - which we were - unlike the workers!
One charming member of staff decided to blast the music from her car
in an attempt to drown out the noise of our whistles and megaphone!
We even witnessed a member of staff being escorted off site in an ambulance
while the woman inside with him laughed! We got our point across and
did get press photographers from the Edinburgh Evening News and The
"The most awful part was leaving because I knew that I was
leaving the animals to a life of hell. I am glad that we made our presence
known and stood up for what we know and believe is barbaric. All the
best with your campaigns and hope you get good responses about other
Elsewhere in the UK there were candle-lit vigils at the following places
IARD vigil in Dundee.
- The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) London - organised
by Mill Hill Anti-Vivisection Alliance.
- Sheffield University - organised by Sheffield Animal Rights Group.
- Pfizer in Sandwich - organised by Linda Byway.
- McDonalds in Llanelli - organised by Welsh Alliance Against Animal
- Newchurch Guinea Pig Farm - organised by Coventry Against Live Exports.
- Solihull Animal Aid, and Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs.
- Harlan UK - organised by Loughborough Animal Action.
- Huntingdon Life Sciences - organised by David Smailes.
- British Heart Foundation Shop in Stockport - organised by John Brown.
- Procter & Gamble offices in Bournemouth - organised by Dorset
- Wickham Research Laboratories in Portsmouth - organised by Portsmouth
- There were also vigils in: Dundee (pictured above), Hemel
Hempstead, and Winchester.
Across the world there were also candle-lit vigils and demonstrations
the rights of animals to be respected. Some reports are below:
US group POET (Protect Our Earth's Treasures) were at
Ohio State University (where both Iams and Novartis have funded experiments
on animals). They held vigils at the University with the focus on a vets
study using cats, FIV and speed / xenotransplants / and a stress study
using mice where pain and distress is not even relieved.
We also received a report from Mexico:
"I must tell you that here in Mexico City we held a demonstration
3 years ago when you wrote to me about it. It was at the front door
of the bull-fight ring 'Plaza Mexico'. We don't know any place where
people have fun with the animals suffering. Because of your letter,
we did it again at the bull-fight site. A candle-lit vigil from 5pm
to 8pm. Several organizations attended. You can add Mexico on your list.
I am the head of 'Marine Mammal Conservation Society', but am a bioethics
teacher too, and fight vivisection here in Mexico."
Dr Yolanda Alaniz Pasini, Conservación
de Mamíferos Marinos de México
And from the The Netherlands:
"We organized a vigil at the slaughterhouse in Nijmegen on
Animal Rights Day... The media paid attention to IARD: we were on the
local radio, on Teletext and in probably the most read newspaper in
Holland: Metro... Also a photographer from the magazine Ravage was there...
so hopefully if many people read about it, more people will attend on
December 10th next year."
were many other vigils across the world, including:
- Rome (where 19 groups signed the UDAR and held a national demonstration
in the capital)
- Christchurch (New Zealand)
Uncaged Campaigns 24.10.02