A group of six protesters staged demonstrations at two Charles River Laboratories in Mayo this week. The members of the National Animal Rights Association staged the protest outside the gates of the laboratories in Carrentrila, Ballina, and in Glenamoy a short distance from the controversial Corrib Gas project.
Laura Broxson, spokesperson for NARA, spoke to the Mayo Advertiser at the protest in the Glenamoy facility about why they were there. “What we are doing today is taking part in a global week of action against vivisection breeders and vivisection testers,” she said. “Charles River is the global target at the minute so we picked the two facilities in Mayo to protest today to highlight the issue because not many people know that this is here and what goes on here. It is a commercial laboratory they will test anything for a price, it is mostly pharmaceutical and veterinary testing that goes on in there on cats, dogs, mice, rats, horses, you name it. We think it is immoral and wrong and shouldn’t be here in the first place.”
Broxson went on to criticise the location of the two plants which she said are hidden and out of the way. “We think that it’s done on purpose. If this was in a city centre there is no way local people would stand for it and accept it, where as if it’s in the middle of nowhere they can get away with anything.”
The earlier protest in Ballina passed off without incident, but Broxsen expressed her disappointment that no one from the company would engage with them in discussion. “We invited staff to come out and talk to us, but they wouldn’t. The only people that stood at the gates was their own security and then the gardaí came along. There was no interaction between staff and us. Overall our aim for the day is to raise awareness for the cause and to let the people in there [the laboratory] know that we know what they are doing. There may be only a few of us. The campaign has only started today and it can only get bigger, it’s more like a scouting protest day today and we are hoping that this will get the ball rolling and when we come again we hope to bring more and come as often as possible.”
When contacted by the Mayo Advertiser about the protest outside the company’s two plants in Mayo, Charles River issued the following statement: “The survival rates for major diseases are at an all-time high thanks to the discovery of new drugs. Charles River’s work is an essential component of the research that has led to these discoveries and has played a vital role in medical advances for humans as well as animals. Charles River has a deep commitment to animal welfare, and we make every effort to exceed national standards for the care of the animal models under our stewardship.”