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Save the Harlan Beagles campaign demonstrate in Brighton

Vivisection might not be at the forefront of activism these days, but that doesn't mean any fewer animals are being squirted, prodded, injected, creamed, caged or otherwise tortured - or that some humans aren't still kickin' up a fuss about it. 

Save the Harlan Beagles campaign held a demonstration on Saturday (9th) in Brighton. The campaign targets Harlan Laboratories, a set-up sinister to the core: Harlan is one of the world's leading suppliers of animals to labs for the purpose of animal testing. The UK branch has a diversity of inmates including marmosets, beagles, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, and hamsters. Also available are hybrid, mutant, and transgenic animals. A quick google demonstrates the crazy world of lab-animal mutants – Harlan's online catalogue has more modified mice ('research models') than you can shake a stick at. Take the poor wee sod that is the 'athymic nude' – these bald fellas were 'derived from a nucleus colony from the National Institutes of Health' and is referred to as an 'immunodeficient model'. Sounds like a recipe for a long, healthy and natural life.

Harlen's brochure proudly boasts it supplies more stocks and strains of lab animals than any other commercial supplier in the world. The company has been quoted as saying it provides humane care to the 'research models'. Yet (not so surprisingly) investigations have found that, apart from the animal testing itself, the welfare of its death row prisoners translates to 20 luxurious minutes out of their cage per week and brutal manhandling techniques. An ex-employee of Harlan told mainstream media during an interview the unwritten company policy was to separate dogs “by kicking and punching them”.

In Brighton, the 500-600 protesters gathered to demand the end of the use of beagles in vivisection in particular. Protesters began to assemble at 12 noon by Victoria Fountain, at the Old Steine Gardens, listening to speeches. A silent march began at 1.30pm, with the mourners marching through the streets of Brighton behind a coffin, accompanied by a dozen or so community liaison officers and team of motorbike cops. After a loop around the city centre the march came to an end at about 4pm. Protesters had travelled down from different parts of the UK as well as some mourners from across the channel, with 100 envoys from Belgium, Italy and France. Non-human participants included about 30 dogs, mostly beagles. The message was simple: 'CLOSE DOWN HARLAN', and stop testing on dogs.

The usefulness of testing on animals has been scientifically debunked time and time again. On the beagle front, bad-ass vet and animal rights activist Andre Menache has written an article which, in essence, asks readers to consider “Why on earth are Beagle dogs being used to see what pharmaceutical drugs do to people?”. Menache points out that it's like using a parrot to test drugs for horses – so why does it continue?

As it stands pharmaceutical drugs have to be tested on rodents (normally rats) and also non-rodents (usually beagles) before trials begin on the species the drugs are actually meant for. And as Menache writes, 'science has moved forward by 65 years since those early laws were written, but the laws have not yet caught up with the science'. Animal testing is not only cruel, unnecessary and evil but also unreliable - hence pretty pointless. There are alternatives such as human cell studies which even to a layman sound more sensible.

There is an injunction in place to stop demonstrations at Harlan Laboratories, which in the UK are in Blackthorn, Hillcrest, Shardlow and Wyton. Save the Harlan Beagles campaign will not be holding any demonstrations at these sites in the immediate future, due to the injunction, and on their website has requested supporters to refrain from breaching this injunction in any way. But that doesn't mean they're sitting back quietly.

As one demonstrator at the demo told us, 'There was quite a good turnout. We need to raise awareness in the public about what is happening in Harlan – the beagles are bred for torture and death.' Watch this space...

You can sign a petition, check their website, facebook and twitter to keep updated.

World Day for Lab Animals in on 27th April in Oxford. Save the Harlan Beagles campaign will have a stall there along with other animal rights campaigns.

There are 8 comments on this story...
Added By: Louis Lingg - 11th March 2013 @ 8:31 PM
What traditionally gave animal rights protesters their edge was how they didn't play by the rules. The stop HLS campaign was a masterstroke of innovative protest methods. (And they actually scared some of the arseholes involved!) Let's hope these new guys don't take any steps backwards.
Added By: Anonymous - 11th March 2013 @ 11:06 PM
Shac protests take place EVERY week in London and fortnightly in Hove at Legal and General, who have shares in Astrazeneca. For more information please see www.shac.net
Until all are free

Ps. we still make arseholes lives a misery!
Added By: Anonymous - 11th March 2013 @ 11:36 PM
SHAC is zombie campaign that everyone needs to stop wasting their time on. The only arseholes around are the ones running SHAC.
Added By: Louis Lingg - 12th March 2013 @ 3:53 PM
What?! The SHAC campaign was so good, I think other movements like environmental and social rights should use more of the same techniques. Animal rights protesters are not afraid to do what needs to be done for their cause. Everyone should learn from them. The SHAC guys are heroes!
Added By: Anonymous - 12th March 2013 @ 4:20 PM
Yeah shac USED to be good. Fuck all goes on now. I guarantee you HLS will not close because they do nothing but a few demos at legal and general, what a laugh.
Added By: Louis Lingg - 15th March 2013 @ 5:47 AM
Aw shit, that IS a pity. It's difficult to sustain any protest for a long time. You get demotivated. Well, what a pity.
Added By: Anonymous - 23rd April 2013 @ 12:35 PM
Please take a moment to sign the petition to close down Harlan. Thank you :) http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-harlan-beagles
Added By: against animal testing supporter - 9th May 2014 @ 12:21 PM
Shit there's no need for this type of treatment to any creature if man did this to man man would be discussed but because animals don't speak it's ok i don't think so humanity extends to all living things
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