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International Animal Rights Day

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5th International Animal Rights Day (IARD)
10th December 2002

Campaigners hold worldwide vigils for animal victims

On Tuesday 10 December 2002, campaigners across the world held candlelit vigils in protest at cruelty towards animals to mark the Fifth International Animal Rights Day (IARD).

Campaigners outside Sheffield University
Campaigners outside Sheffield University.

There were twenty such protests all over England, Scotland and Wales and several more in cities across Europe. There was also a string of protests in the United States cities of Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC and Seattle - and further protests in Mexico and Nigeria.

Establishments involved in vivisection, factory farming, the fur industry and even bull-fighting were among those targeted by the vigils.

Uncaged Campaigns initiated the day of action five years ago, with the aim of promoting a debate about how animals should be treated and working towards international recognition of the rights of animals.

Uncaged Campaigns Director, Dan Lyons, who was called upon for several media interviews to explain the concept behind the day, commented:

"10 December is the date that the world embraced the need for human rights when the United Nations made its declaration in 1948. Human rights are vital to protect us from deliberate torture, false imprisonment and killing. But these abuses still cause horrific suffering to millions of other animals as well. If we believe in human dignity and rights, we can't reasonably deny them to other animals - it would be hypocritical and unfair. The vigils that took place all over the world on 10 December were a powerful and inspiring statement to this effect, and Uncaged Campaigns would like to thank everyone who took part."

Vigil Reports

Protesting in Washington DC
In Defence of Animals protest in Washington DC, USA.

NIMR, London:

"On what seemed to us to be the coldest evening of the year, around 20 hardy souls turned up for the International Animal Rights Day vigil on December 10 outside the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill.

"Up at the top of the hill, the icy wind blew and thwarted our numerous attempts to light the candles, but it did not dampen our spirits, our voices, or our determination to show the workers of the NIMR and the passing motorists our solidarity for IARD and the animals held captive and experimented on inside the building. Our banners were strung along the railings of this and we held aloft our graphic posters for the motorists to see what goes on in there. We received a lot of hoots and support, which warmed our hearts despite the cold seeping into our feet.

"As each worker drove out past us (or was chauffered out), the protesters were able to tell them, and show them with pictures, in no uncertain terms about the meaningless and useless work that they were involved in and that each was implicated in the cruelty inflicted upon the animals, no matter what work they did in NIMR.

"We were very grateful to everyone who attended the vigil, some of whom travelled a great distance and took hours to get there. We hope that more people will join the dedicated few who demonstrate at NIMR every Wednesday without fail from 6.30 p.m."

Chrissie, 07767 471111

Protesters in Mexico City
Protesters at the Plaza de Toros, Mexico.

Mexico City, Mexico:

"A large protest was once again held at the Plaza de Toros Mexico - the largest bull-ring in the country - from 5pm to 8pm."

Dr Yolanda Alaniz, alanizy@yahoo.com

Protesters in Mexico City
Calling for animal rights in Mexico City.

The Hague, The Netherlands:

"It was freezing cold, but still 35-40 people turned up for the International Animal Rights Day protest.

"We stayed for three hours by the entrance of the Second Chamber (the Government) and gave the politicians who entered and left the building a special leaflet with an explanation about International Animal Rights Day and our demands. Amongst the politicians who took the leaflet was our Prime Minister, M. Balkenende. A member of the Second Chamber who's also a pig-farmer refused to take the leaflet and got booed.

"There were about six photographers from national and local press who turned up, but the coverage in the press the next day was disappointing - although there was a photo in a local paper, and the demo was announced in the Volkskrant newspaper (a very unusual step for a paper). Unfortunately, the lights that I brought to make the text 'animals have rights' on the square before the Second Chamber didn't work - the wind kept blowing them out.

"Nevertheless, our goal to reach the Government and let them know about animal rights was fulfilled (the leaflet was also distributed by internal email to all members of the Second Chamber). It was also positive that, in contrast with last year, 5 animal welfare organisations supported IARD by sending their volunteers and/or putting the details on their website.

"I hope the vigils/demos in the UK and other countries also went well."

H. (WerkgroepIARD), Wg_iard@hotmail.com

Harlan UK, Leicestershire:

"Had a good protest on 10th December for International Animal Rights Day at Harlan UK animal testing facility. It was bitterly cold with snow flurries! So, we were pleased that about 14 hardy protesters turned up in support, with 2 Police in warm cars. When we left, everyone was frozen but very satisfied.

"If anyone wants to get involved in this campaign, please contact Cathy at: ambrosian@btopenworld.com

"Seasons Greetings to all, For them"


Campaigners outside Sheffield University
Campaigners outside Sheffield University.

Sheffield, South Yorkshire:

"On December 10th Uncaged Campaigns joined forces with members of Sheffield University Animal Rights and Sheffield Animal Rights Group (SARG) to hold a candle-lit vigil at the University of Sheffield. As well as promoting IARD, the vigil was to remember the tens of thousands of animals, including cats and dogs, which have suffered and died in the University's research laboratories.

"A very visual and dignified vigil with lots of banners, candles and lanterns (and pretty cold protesters) took place at Firth Court - the main administrative centre of the University - from 4.30pm until 7pm. The protest attracted the attentions of print and television media - as well as the rush-hour pedestrian and road traffic. It was a success in highlighting both International Animal Rights Day and the fact that animal experiments are conducted at the University of Sheffield - a fact of which many people appeared unaware."

Max Newton, Uncaged Campaigns

Pfizer, Kent:

"On a bitterly cold night campaigners from various parts of Kent attended the vigil held at Pfizer [an animal testing company] who are based at Sandwich, Kent. Pfizer's security bill would have been increased as they trebled their guards; there were at least five on every point once people started arriving.

"The media coverage was excellent, starting with an interview Angie Petro did on the BBC Radio Kent's Breakfast Show, which was repeated throughout the day. Neptune Radio, a local station, also carried an interview with Angie, which went out every hour in the news bulletins. BBC Radio Kent was again present at the start of the vigil, having already spoken to Pfizer about animal experimentation. Pfizer stated that they wanted to phase it out, so Angie asked that they stop it now.

"The vigil was also on BBC's Ceefax Service for the South East, which read:


"Animal rights campaigners are holding a vigil in Kent later to mark the 5th International Animal Rights Day. Protests are taking place across Britain, the US and Europe on a day that is traditionally associated with human rights. Kent campaigner Angie Petro, who will be out with protestors in Sandwich, said that it was time to extend the rights enjoyed by humans to animals. 'Their basic moral rights should be recognised and honoured,' she said."

Angie Petro

BARC protest outside Cognito
BARC protesters outside Cognito boutique in Windsor.

Windsor, Berkshire:

"IARD 2002 went well for us at BARC [Berkshire Animal Rights Coalition].

"Cognito boutique in Windsor is selling various items made from fur. They are proud of this & think its ok to sell fur as its fashionable! We are now starting a specific campaign against them & yesterday was another step closer for all of us to end the barbaric fur trade.

"We had lots of support from the public passing by & we also managed to introduce these people to the idea of a Universal Declaration of Animals' Rights. This was what yesterday was all about & it was great thinking that whilst we were standing there, out in the freezing cold, that others all round the country, & even elsewhere around the world, were fighting against other animal abusers as well.

"United we stand, divided we fall...

"Lets hope by IARD 2003, some of the places targeted this year will be no longer!"


Sequani, Herefordshire:

"Seven members of SSAT (Stop Sequani Animal Testing) held a candle-lit vigil outside Sequani animal research laboratories in Ledbury, Herefordshire on Tuesday 10th December to commemorate the 5th Annual International Animal Rights Day.

"We were almost outnumbered with 2 policeman from the local force and 3 security 'types' ushering the workers out at the end of their 'work' day.

"We regularly receive positive support from passing traffic and, with some additional help, we would like to step up the campaign at Sequani.

"Please contact SSAT on 01684 569 244 or 01432 851 970 for details of how you can help this campaign."


Prague, Czech Republic:

"In support of International Animal Rights Day around 25 people marched through the centre of Prague at 5pm with lots of banners and placards and headed for the Fur Shop of Liska co. [the largest fur shop in Prague]. Here, a noisy demonstration reminded all passers by of the real cost of the fur - the start of a new campaign for the Svoboda Zvirat group.

"For more information about the campaign against the fur trade in the Czech Republic (and other campaigns) please contact szpraha@volny.cz or see www.svobodazvirat.cz/szpraha"

Jan Lorenc, SZ Praha coordinator

Protesting in Washington DC
In Defence of Animals protest in Washington DC, USA.

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