World Lab Day 2015.
What it's all about...
Everyone and their dog attended.
Joan Court; her passion undimmed.
John Curtin; change is necessary but the message is the same.
Animal testing; the science is flawed.
Veggies did very good business!
Anglia News recording a report.
Banner Art #1: a personal favourite!
Banner Art #2
Banner Art #3
Banner Art #4
Banner Art #5. Yes they really did travel from Newcastle to Cambridge!
Banner Art #6
The (huge) march sets out...
Heading up St. Andrew Street.
Stopping off on Sidney Street.
A speaker from The Green Party.
Heading up St.Johns Street, Trinity College visible on the left.
I shall publish this story in two parts as there are a lot of pictures for it, with this part (part one) containing the main body of my report.
This was certainly one of the biggest protests the city has seen for a few years, representing a body of opinion that the mainstream political establishment rarely seems to want to acknowledge, with the exception being the Green Party, whom had some representatives in attendance (the only party that did show it's face on the day), which included a stall at the assembly area on Parkers Piece, and at a couple of points en route some of their candidates spoke, including Rupert Reid, currently standing for election in Cambridge.
My only criticism of them being that they perhaps spoke for a little too long, with some activists getting restless to move on after a few minutes of their speeches.
In evidence was a diverse mixture of people from all backgrounds and ages, in itself revealing lie of the stereotypes the usual corporate press outlets like to have us believe regarding who Animal Rights protestors are.
Before setting out on the march there were several speakers, some rousing and motivational (like longtime campaigner John Curtin's call to arms, and veteran activist Joan court's short but hearfelt speech, showing that even in her eighties her passion for the cause was undimmed.
There was also a presentation by a former lab technician on how animal testing is based on scientifically false premises, pointing out that it is not so easy (or reliable) to compare the physiology and metabolism of other species to that of Humans.
The main theme - and target - of this year's World Lab Day was the British Heart Foundation's (dubbed "British Heartless foundation" by activists) funding and support for vivisection. Cambridge now has two BHF shops, one of which was besieged for about an hour by a smaller breakaway group of activsts after the main demonstration (see pictures).
Another contentious subject this year is Astra Zeneca possibly building a huge animal testing facility on the Addenbrookes campus, despite there being a fair amount of local opposition to it.
The main demo did a circuit of the city centre, in effect creating a moving roadblock on a Saturday afternoon, so nobody who saw this would be left in any doubt what was happening.
The march also paused for a few minutes outside of the Cambridge University Downing Site, where there is still animal testing labs (see pictures).
For such a high profile event (making front page news locally the day before, and Anglia News had a team out on the day) there seemed to be a very low profile police presence at the head of the march, closing off streets and providing traffic control, then latterly only one F.I.T. operative (see picture) appearing during the picket of the BHF shop.
Although passions were high on the day (it was a very noisy demo), no arrests were made, so nobody spent the night in a police cell!
It has to be said that seeing such a huge number of activists marching around Cambridge city centre was an impressive show of force, and that despite the worst efforts of certain parts of the political establishment to try and legislate them away, this movement for a more holistic form of justice is very much alive and well.
MORE PICTURES TO FOLLOW IN PART TWO.