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International Animal Rights Day

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6th International Animal Rights Day (IARD)
10th December 2003


International Animal Rights Day (Wednesday 10 December 2003) saw dozens of candle-lit vigils, and other actions, across the UK, The Netherlands, Mexico, Argentina, The USA, Spain, France, Italy, New Zealand and Australia.

Wirral IARD vigil
Animal Rights on the Wirral (AROW) vigil.

These vigils took place at sites as diverse as: vivisection facilities, abattoirs, greyhound stadia, bull-rings, shops selling fur, battery farms, the shops of vivisection-funding charities, supermarkets, and the embassies of nations currently engaged in whaling.

However, all had one thing in common - the sites represent organisations that abuse the fundamental rights of animals to life.


The Dundee Animal Rights vigil gets in the local paper
Dundee Animal Rights' vigil gets in the local paper.


Once again, the vigils proved to be a powerful and dignified demand for the recognition of the natural and fundamental rights of all animals not to be deliberately exploited, harmed and killed and attracted a good deal of regional and national media coverage - thus bringing the concept of animals' rights onto the public agenda.

Below are some reports and pictures from the protests.

Sheffield, UK:

"Protesters from Uncaged Campaigns, Sheffield Animal Rights Group (SARG) and the University Animal Rights Society gathered for a well-attended candlelit vigil outside the University of Sheffield during the evening rush hour. The vigil remembered the animals, including cats and dogs, who have suffered and died in the University's research laboratories; and to highlight the reasons why it is imperative that animals are afforded basic rights.

"Several large banners outlined the concept of International Animal Rights Day and the reason why the University was being targeted. Dozens of candles, nightlights and a small generator powering a string of garden lights lit up the vigil site to great effect.

"Members of Uncaged Campaigns conducted radio interviews and the event was filmed for the regional TV new bulletins."

Max Newton, Uncaged Campaigns

Uncaged Campaigns vigil outside the University of Sheffield
Uncaged Campaigns vigil outside the University of Sheffield.

Rijswick, The Netherlands:

"On International Animal Rights Day on 10 December 2003, at 3.30pm about 200 people (including some from Belgium and Portugal) - dressed in dark mourning clothes - gathered at the train station in Rijswijk near The Hague, the Netherlands. The media was there en masse: national newspapers, national TV-stations, local press, etc. were all present!

"After an inspirational speech we hit the road, led by a huge van, with posters on each side and playing REAL funeral music - beginning with bells tolling! Behind the van came the Grim Reaper; a white coffin with a black cross and flowers; a huge banner ('Close Down Rijswijks' Monkey Hell!') and some 200 people.

"We headed to the city centre, where rush hour was in full swing. Candles were handed out to the protesters for a short vigil at the gates of the laboratory. We then had another speech, followed by one minute of silence to remember all the animals who suffered and died inside this place.

"The event attracted a great deal of media interest, and footage was used on national TV and featured prominently in national newspapers.

"We had a great response from the public, and received a lot of good comments from people who joined and, next time the action will be even bigger with even more people!"

Arnoud Koenen, EDEV (Een Dier Een Vriend).

Mexico City, Mexico:

"Comarino wrote a letter to the Japan ambassador, urging them to stop killing dolphins and whales, and staged a protest at the Japanese Embassy for IARD.

"Since the Embassy is located on a very important and busy avenue many people in their vehicles and on foot stopped to see our demo and big banner with the legend: 'Japan: stop the killing of whales and dolphins in Taiji.'

"In the morning one of the best newspapers in Mexico wrote an excellent and impressive full-page article about the COMARINO protest, with a follow-up the next day. Laura Rojas, coordinator of this event, and I attended to a radio show about this issue, and there will be at least 3 further interviews on the radio about the killing in Taiji and the International Animal Rights Day protests."

Yolanda Alaniz, Conservacisn de Mammferos Marinos de Mexico (COMARINO), www.marineconnection.org

Vigil at the Icelandic Embassy
Vigil at the Icelandic Embassy, London organised by Cetacea Defence (cetaceadefenceuk@yahoo.co.uk).

London, UK:

"Protests and a vigil were held in support of the concept of International Animal Rights Day and also the Sea Shepherd call for demonstrations at Japanese embassies against Japan's brutal dolphin kills. The Japanese government will definitely have got the worldwide message! A wreath was laid at the embassy in memory of all the dolphins mercilessly killed by Japanese fishermen.

"People then moved on to the Iceland embassy to give the give the Icelandic government a message about their resumption of whaling. Both protests were very colourful, noisy and attention grabbing.

"An interview was done for current affairs programme a few days before the 10th for BBC Radio 3.

Alan Cooper, Cetacea Defence UK, Marine Connection, and Campaign Whale

London, UK:

"Supporters of London Greyhound Action held a very successful candlelit vigil outside Walthamstow greyhound stadium in memory of the thousands of dogs that suffer and die every year as part of the British greyhound racing industry.

"It was a very positive evening and London Greyhound Action are confident they have recruited a few new members as a result."

Tony Peters, Greyhound Action.

Coventry IARD vigil
Coventry Animal Alliance and Solihull Animal Aid stage a vigil by the Lady Godiva statue in Coventry.

Coventry, UK:

"We started outside a Sainsbury's store in the City Centre and concentrated on giving out leaflets about the horrors of factory farming of turkeys for Christmas. We then split into two groups, and leafleted outside Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds. We ended with a vigil, including placards and candles placed all around the Godiva Statue in the centre of the city. It looked very effective. We gave out your IARD leaflets and received quite a bit of interest. We would like to make this an annual event with even more people next year."

Julie Roberts, Coventry Animal Alliance & Solihull Animal Aid. Tel: 07860 433906

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