It was a day to demonstrate our anger, our sorrow and our determination to one of the main customers of HLS, to the people of Horsham and to the world. There were many information stalls from national campaigns and groups, and Veggies were there to fuel our anger and determination with lots of vegan food!
Amanda Richards from SPEAK kicked off the speeches, reminding everyone of why we were in Horsham and talked about the campaign against HLS since the Channel 4 documentary ‘It’s a dogs life’ in 1997. Which showed HLS workers punching beagle puppies in the face and of all the many exposes since than.
Next up was Lynn Sawyer, a mid wife, who during a protest against HLS in 2000 was shook off a 20 foot tripod by an off duty policeman. Lynn broke her leg in 4 places and had to have plastic surgery to her face. The policeman lighty due to intimidation of witnesses! But Lynn carried on campaigning against HLS. This shows you the determination of campaigners to close HLS down. She talked about HLS and the misuse of the Harassment Act, which was meant to protect people from Stalkers. But instead has been used by HLS and other animal testing companies to stifle legal protest and free speech.
Debbie Vincent then spoke about Novartis and reinforced the message that we must keep fighting for the animals inside HLS, and inside Novartis. She talked about the global movement against HLS all over the world, with over 700 protests in 30 countries last year!
The march around Horsham began and no one in Horsham town centre was left unaware of our presence of why we where there! To inform them about the primate research going on in their town, right on their door step!
There was overwhelming support from the local people of Horsham and many leaflets were given out during the march, in fact as the march weaved its way through the town several local residents joined the march up to Novartis and pledged their support! The noise and the visual presence was awesome, with banners as far as the eye could see, trailing all the way back through the town. Many locals were surprised to hear that primate research happened in their town, a fact that Novartis have tried to hide. In fact, Novartis tried to get the march stopped in the High Court!
After leaving the town centre we carried on marching up to Novartis itself on Wimblehurst Road and Parsonage Road. As people gathered outside Novartis, a young campaigner Lia gave a rousing speech, urging everyone to take up the fight against Novartis and HLS, Nationally and locally and to not let up until we win. She also talked about the Xenotransplantation scandal where pigs’ hearts were stitched onto wild caught bamboons which caused immeasurable suffering to them. These experiments were carried out at HLS, where they broke good lab practice 520 times and were never prosecuted! As the sun shone down on the righteous, we vented our grief, our anger and outrage at Novartis. The air was rent with noise; we filled the afternoon air outside Novartis with the sound of megaphones, sirens, voices, whistles and drums.
Near the end of the demo, we then had a minutes silence for the animals inside Novartis and HLS, as this protest was for them. We then marched back to Horsham Park where we gathered before finishing.
This protest was amazing, for those who came, thank you on behalf of every one of the 70,000 animals waiting to die inside HLS. To the many locals of Horsham for their support and promises of helping campaign against Novartis in Horsham, were regular protests take place. This is the start of new stage against our fight against Novartis and HLS, with many campaigners vowing to re-double their efforts to close these hell holes down. It was a very inspiring day!
Lia’s speech outside Novartis: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5edZRByKMNw
More videos of the day to come...