Art for animals: Artist raises plight of animals experimented on at secret military lab
August 22, 2016
A street artist had shoppers doing a double take today as animals seemed to burst out of the pavement in Salisbury today. Animal rights organisation Animal Justice Project organised the event to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of animals used in warfare research at nearby Porton Down government military testing facility, just seven miles away.
Renowned London-based artist, Disk (UK), illustrated the plight of animals at Porton Down using full-colour paint on two six-foot panels of canvas. The scene came alive during the day as the painting was completed in full view of onlookers. Animal Justice Project supporters wearing three dimensional animal masks encouraged onlookers to learn more about Porton Down, which the organisation is highlighting as part of its ‘Secret War’ campaign (1).
The day was an overwhelming success, with numerous people stopping to look at the artist in action and find out more about Porton Down while children enjoyed arts and crafts activities.
In The Mirror earlier this year, Animal Justice Project exposed how the Home Office has been issuing licenses for researchers to carry out cruel military experiments on animals at Porton Down (2). Published research and data from the Ministry of Defence (3) reveals that guinea pigs at Porton Down were forced to inhale nerve gas (4), marmoset monkeys infected with biothreat diseases (5), pigs forced to inhale toxic mustard gas (6) and rabbits had their legs clamped and weights dropped on them five times their body weight so that researchers could infect their open wounds with bacteria in an attempt to simulate a human battlefield injury (7).
In 2013, over 6,000 experimental procedures were carried out at Porton Down on animals, including 193 marmosets. A number of these animals were experimented on more than once before being killed. Out of these procedures, almost 5,000 did not involve the use of any anaesthesia (2).
Shockingly, last year 12 macaque monkeys were transported all the way from China to Porton Down (8) to be caged and infected with TB. The animals were provided DVDs for ‘visual stimulation’ and, when the animals showed severe symptoms, they were killed.
Animal Justice Project Spokesperson, states: “People often feel powerless to stop vivisection as the problem appears to be vast, yet an increasing number of young people oppose the use of animals in research (9). In the year 2000, an MP tabled a motion stating that the House was “disgusted” and “appalled” by animal experiments involving mustard gas and nerve gas (10). Yet 15 years on, these experiments continue. This hugely successful event enabled us to inform the people of Salisbury about what the Ministry of Defence is doing to animals inside Porton Down, and enabled people to speak out against it. Our message to the Ministry of Defence is clear and absolute, these experiments must end now.”
Kirsten Bayes, Campaigner for Stop the Arms Fair and ex-Liberal Democrat councillor added: “The animals at Porton Down have been made part of a global system of war and oppression. Conventional weapons like explosives or bullets, as well as weapons used on civilians like teargas and electro shock devices are all tested on animals. Arms companies use the results from these experiments to harm people around the globe.”
Animal Justice Project is an international organisation based in the UK and United States working to raise awareness on the plight of animals in laboratories around the globe.
References available on request