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International Animal Rights Day

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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.

IARD vigil, 2001

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 Partners, Newchurch).

"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 Sun.

"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 vigils."

Elsewhere in the UK there were candle-lit vigils at the following places of
animal abuse:

IARD vigil in Dundee, 2001
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 Abuse.
  • 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 Animal Action.
  • Wickham Research Laboratories in Portsmouth - organised by Portsmouth Animal Action.
  • There were also vigils in: Dundee (pictured above), Hemel Hempstead, and Winchester.

International Reports

Across the world there were also candle-lit vigils and demonstrations for
the rights of animals to be respected. Some reports are below:

IARD vigil, 2001

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."

Pagan IARD vigil, 2001There were many other vigils across the world, including:

  • Australia
  • Madrid
  • Milan
  • Rome (where 19 groups signed the UDAR and held a national demonstration in the capital)
  • Christchurch (New Zealand)
  • Germany

Uncaged Campaigns 24.10.02

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Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.