On Saturday 12 October 2013 a small group of dedicated anti-vivisection activists in Brazil started a protest action at the Instituto Royal vivisection laboratory in São Roque near São Paulo, Brazil.
Over the course of the week they were shown constantly growing support for their action and numbers outside the testing facility increased as the days passed.
The activists had the support of a wide section of Brazilian society, received coverage from the mainstream media and the support of lawyers. They had people offering to bring them food and supplies, had computer hackers uncovering evidence in support of their case against the vivisectors and had moral support from all around. Activists locked to the laboratory gate on October 12 Previous to this protest petitions had been organised against the Instituto Royal, evidence was uncovered showing the facility was operating illegally and still the police did not act.
Invitations were extended to the laboratory to discuss the issues and for them to try and justify what they did and the only defence they put forward was the tests were "quick and cheap" to perform. There was not even an attempt by the vivisectors to justify their experiments as being the best available science - it is clear it is not; they were carrying out toxicity and skin irritancy tests that there are many validated non-animal test available for.
It all came down to profits for the vivisectors and quick test results saying what the companies paying for them wanted. On the Thursday things were coming to a head.
The laboratory pulled out of an already agreed to meeting with the activists and city officials, a number of large vans and trucks entered the laboratory grounds and the cries of suffering animals could be heard from outside. An attempt was made to lay a complaint with the local police reporting the mistreatment of animals which was not accepted.
Another group went to the home a local judge to try and get some action, the judge called the police but this too was to no avail. Being left with no other option the now much larger group of activists did the only thing they could to stop the senseless testing and entered the laboratory to end them then and there. The activists removed hundreds of beagles, rabbits and rodents for rehoming.
That the animals will now get to live out the rest of their days without fear and imminent death seems certain. A Facebook page was created to facilitate the adoption of the rescued animals and had over 100,000 followers in less than 12 hours. The ability of the laboratory to carry on their senseless and misleading tests was dealt a significant blow that evening.
And on October 18 the animals are on their way to freedom
This action by such dedicated and brave people in Brazil has done much to advance the issue of anti-vivisectionism. A group of a hundred or so has led to the issue having coverage in media the world over and has received a massive outpouring of support from people all around the globe. And most importantly it has led to the laboratory being closed for good. This event also reinforces what anti-vivisection campaigners have found for years - we can try the legal channels and have the scientific evidence to back up our arguments but it's often not until direct actions are taken that substantial results are achieved. The great news came several weeks later when it was reported that the laboratory would be closing for good. ABC reported that the lab's license has been revoked and it is now being investigated for animal abuse offenses. Well done to the Brazilian activists! Their efforts have certainly been rewarded in this instance.