SPEAK Campaign supporters met opposite Oxford's new animal abuse lab to campaign against the University's barbaric treatment of the sentient beings who will be tortured and killed inside it, as they have done every week for the past four and a half years. Campaigners of all ages, some who have been with SPEAK from the beginning, others who have been drawn to the campaign more recently having heard the appalling truth about the horrors perpetrated against the animals imprisoned within university labs, spent the four hours of the demo informing the passing public of their opposition to vivisection at Oxford. These highly visual demos always receive much support from those passing in vehicles and on foot, and this week was no exception with gestures of support from a huge number of motorists and tourists on tour buses, and words of encouragement from pedestrians, many of whom stopped to talk to protesters and took leaflets.
Oxford University's arrogant attitude and disregard for anything other than its own interests was clearly illustrated by an incident that occurred that afternoon. For some time now SPEAK have been trying to draw attention to the dangerous situation that the university has caused by creating a blind spot on the junction of South Parks Road with Mansfield Road. The nine foot high fence that surrounds their new animal torture lab, blocking off the pavement and the pedestrian crossing, has been causing problems for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike, forcing those on foot to walk in the road and blocking the vision of those in vehicles. It was therefore of no surprise to SPEAK supporters when an accident occurred at this junction during the afternoon protest. Luckily no one was hurt, this time. But will it take someone being seriously injured before this fence, which serves no real purpose now as the outer building work on the lab has been completed, is removed? Don't forget that it was only eighteen months ago a number of people sustained injuries when a section of this very same fence blew down, trapping and crushing the pedestrians unlucky enough to be caught beneath it.
The council have previously claimed that the fence was positioned there at the request of Thames Valley Police for security purposes. This begs the question; is the university going to keep that dangerous and unsightly fence there unnecessarily forever, because we would like to assure them that the lawful SPEAK protests against the atrocities carried out by this institution will continue until the cruelty stops. The resolve of the SPEAK Campaign is stronger than ever - we will never be silenced or walk away from the voiceless victims of Oxford University.