Marchers take to the streets of Birmingham for WDAIL 2017

Yesterday was the annual march highlighting World Day for Laboratory Animals (WDAIL) - widely regarded as the highlight of the animal rights calendar. This year it was the turn of Birmingham and the good folks at Birmingham Animal Action pulled out the stops to make it an action packed and effective day.
We assembled in Park Street Gardens on the edge of the city centre where people visited the various stalls, listened to John Curtin and Animal Aid's Jessamy Korotoga, and - of course - ate lots of vegan food. 

The march set off with shouting and chants and and in just a few minutes was in the heart of the city centre. The first stop was our old adversary - the British Heart Foundation, where we gave a speech about the experiment conducted in 2015, just down the road at the University of Birmingham, where mice had their throats cut open and tubes inserted into their windpipes, and their arteries clamped to induce cell damage. Stem cells from the ground up bones of other mice were injected into their gut via the tubes in their windpipe.

We also talked about their new chairman Douglas Gurr - a man with no medical degree and whose day job is running Amazon UK - a company who are rarely out of the headlines for their awful treatment of staff, poverty wages, and inhuman working conditions. Just the kind of person you want on the board of an organisation set up to help to improve people's health. 

And of course we couldn't resist talking about the £17,000 fine that they received last year for profiling their biggest donors and swapping data on them with other organisations - so they could be harassed for even more money. 

But it wasn't all bad news, because we spoke about what our campaign has done and achieved - the hundreds of thousands of leaflets we have given out, the protests, postcard campaigns, banner drops, and sticker campaigns, to name but a few. And we seem to be having an effect: with BHF's retail profits down almost 10% compared to last year, and both Warburtons and HSBC appearing to pull out of sponsorship deals with them despite the tax breaks provided to businesses who give to charity.

Suffice to say, we couldn't have done it without our army of supporters up and down the land who have worked so hard and been so supportive, out in the streets, writing letters, stickering lampposts and posting on social media, so everyone got a massive cheer.

But after a while it was time to move on: so we went round the corner to the offices of Skanka - the firm responsible for building the new mega AstraZeneca animal lab in Cambridge for a speech by Aran from the Cambridge against AstraZeneca Planning campaign. 

Next stop was the abhorrent Cancer Research UK - where our friend John Lord from NAWC spoke about their campaign against CRUK - one no less important than ours - and the fundamental flaws in extrapolating animal test data into humans. 

Our circuit route was finished and back at Park Street Gardens we heard more speeches: by Hannah from Animal Justice Project and the legendary Ronnie Lee.

Once all the stalls had been packed up and people's voracious appetite for Veggies' burgers had been adequately sated we headed back into town for a simultaneous protest outside both of Birmingham's branches of BHF - not even a hundred yards from each other. They were obviously expecting us as they had hired a security guard - a campaign first as far as we know! No need of course, as the protests were entirely peaceful, yet still bursting with anger at BHF's bloodthirsty ways, and we stayed there until 5pm when they closed their shutters for the day.

We give our wholehearted thanks to everyone who organised it and took part and hope to see you again in Newcastle next year!