Lyon, November 9th 2013:Major Demonstration Against Animal Experimentation
200 citizens protest against vivisection on Saturday November 9, 2013
This large-scale operation proved once again how easy it was for International Campaigns to rally people together for an essential cause.
As part of the ongoing national campaign “Stop Aux Animaux dans les Labos” (“No more Animals in Labs”) International Campaigns took up the cry and organized a demonstration on Saturday November 9, 2013 at Place des Terreaux in Lyon. The goal of this series of rallies is to protest the use of animals for experimentation in all major French cities.
Called “Operation Lyon SANG Vivisection” (“Operation Vivisection in Lyon is blood”) the demonstration drew about a couple of hundred people. Some 150 protestors brandished signs and shocking posters of animal suffering as they stood, silent and still, in a triangular formation for three long hours that afternoon. The protestors hailed from the Rhone-Alpes region (including the cities of Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble, and Chambery) but some came from as far away as Paris, Besançon, Dijon, Perpignan, Toulouse and the departments of the Var and Saone et Loire. Their efforts were not in vain.
Media coverage was slight, in part due to a long weekend, but also because this region is at the heart of the vivisection industry in France (Both private and public institutions traffick in experiments on animals, and breeding facilities that distribute to labs throughout France). But even so this 16th “Happening” was a success. (For more info see page below.)
As is always the case, the operation had a three-fold aim:
- To denounce vivisection (experimenting on live animals), and especially targeting the extensive research conducted on animals in the region of Lyon.
- To solicit the local public, most notably through an information stall located near the human triangle, and equipped with a television monitor so passersby could witness for themselves video footage of what laboratories—predictably enough—seek to hide.
- To call for major financial support for alternative methods of testing done without animals, to bring a halt to the current experiments on millions of animals in France. In this instance a parting shot was to send a strong message to the mayor of Lyon.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS ARE FULLY VIABLE
Working in conjunction with scientists who have already rejected the so-called animal models, International Campaigns made paramount the emergence of a new more ethical and effective science that uses alternatives to animal experimentation.
We reminded the public that the French government and European authorities have not yet proposed financial incentives or subsidies to aid in advancing the development of new scientific methods that draw from studies of human populations, patients or volunteers, state of the art in vitro experiments, and sophisticated computer models. Animal testing is rarely pertinent because of fundamental differences between our species and others.
A EUROPEAN INITIATIVE TO ABOLISH VIVISECTION
This happening followed on the heels of the European Initiative “STOP VIVISECTION” resounding success in gathering and surpassing the requisite million signatures required by November 2nd 2013. This groundbreaking development now allows Europe’s citizens to formally petition the European Commission to abolish animal experimentation, and to make compulsory for medical research and toxicology the use of data that is truly pertinent to our own species.
Because our happening was visually spectacular, the event drew many people to our stall. Passersby paused and were receptive and sensitive to the cause. Local residents were shocked by the visuals and interested to learn more; we were able to provide them with lots of information in the way of brochures, documents and pamphlets.
As with all our activities, a section of the stall was devoted to promoting the fundamental rights of animals and veganism. World Vegan Month made it possible to offer free booklets offering practical advice about vegan cuisine (food that is plant-based and devoid of animal products). We also distributed the UDAR (Universal Declaration of Animal Rights) and shared information about International Animal Rights Day 2013 coming up on December 10th, which on this day each year calls for abolishing all animal exploitation.
Overall, the response was very positive from the public, who congratulated the organizers and hosts at our stall for what we are doing for the animals. We were able to share ways they could also help save animals, including to go vegan, to educate themselves on the subject, and then get involved.
We also helped those who wished to receive specific documentation on what is possible in the way of alternatives to animal testing. A number of people wanted solutions right away and we were able to provide them with lists of health, beauty and household products that are not tested on animals. The scientific committee Antidote Europe allowed us to share documentation on the details of scientific alternatives to animal experimentation. Those who were interested were able to view alternatives with the help of fact sheets, visuals and other graphics. Yet others wanted to commit themselves to the cause even more and we invited them to join International Campaigns’ branch in Lyon.
Some illustrative anecdotes:
- One man explained to one of our hostesses at the stall that he had worked in an animal experimentation facility and had resigned because he found it so inhumane. He explained that he had witnessed scientists conducting the experiments on live animals with cold-hearted detachment. He himself had administered pain-killers to animals because the researchers were indifferent to the animals’ suffering. He stated he felt that medical conferences should include workshops on empathy and that this should be compulsory for all medical students at the start of their medical training. Though International Campaigns believes in absolute abolition, this man’s testimony, since he has been on the front lines, was nonetheless valuable.
- Someone else asked how one could help fight vivisection in view of the powerful pharmaceutical lobby. We explained that the only effective way is 1) to spread information and to share as widely as possible what actually goes on in laboratories behind closed doors. And 2) to exercise one’s power as a consumer by boycotting products that have been tested on animals. This is why a list of brands from companies that don’t test on animals is an essential tool for those who want to help.
Other large happenings will be held in the coming months including for the major annual World Day for Laboratory Animals event which will again take place in 2014 as usual around April 24th.
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www.international-campaigns.org – there is no excuse for animal abuse