A protest in Italy against Green Hill, a breeding facility for dogs used in animal experimentation, spontaneously turned into a daylight rescue when dozens of activists rescued more than 40 dogs who would have been used in testing.
Police stopped a few cars leaving the village, and captured a few activists and dogs, but others escaped according to Animal Equality.
News of the protest and rescue has quickly circulated around the world and inspired grassroots activists. When I saw the photos, I immediately thought of a similar protest in 1997, that galvanized an international movement. As I discuss in Green Is the New Red:
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty was born in a riot. On April 24th,1997, World Day for Laboratory Animals, protest organizers ar-rived at Consort Beagle Breeders near Hereford in England. They had campaigned for a year to close the breeder, which housed abouteight hundred dogs—beagles sought for invasive experiments be-cause of their small size, docile temperament and loving nature. The dogs would be sold to laboratories like Huntingdon. The organizers expected a few dozen activists, maybe a hundred. More than ﬁvehundred showed up.
The activists used this moment of surprise to swarm the facility. Police in riot gear kept most at bay, but somehow a few activists slipped inside the dog sheds. Muscles tensed. Did they makeit? Were they arrested? Should everyone go back to chanting andholding signs? Moments later, two activists in masks appeared onthe roof, cradling a beagle. They yelled to the crowd for help.
Riot cops were overwhelmed as people climbed over, and toredown, the razor-wire fence. More police arrived and swarmed theﬁelds like locusts: reserves had been waiting inside the building,and others had been waiting in vans lining the streets. Dr. King once said, “A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.” One could argue that for too long the activists in this crowd—from students to “raging grannies”—had not been heard. Their leaﬂeting,letter-writing, marching and protesting had earned some victories,yes, but not enough. Perhaps they felt they needed a new voice, a new language.
At this time, 12 people, 8 women and 4 men are imprisoned in Brescia, Italy, awaiting charges. You can sign the petition calling for their immediate release.
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