Animal rights protesters mark one-year anniversary at Baie d’Urfé laboratory
PHOTO BY JULES-PIERRE MALARTRE
One year after the initial rounds of protests that took place outside ITR Laboratories in Baie d’Urfé, protesters regrouped to pressure the organization to halt their testing on animals.
Last Chance for Animals (LCA), 269Life Canada and other animal rights movements organized another protest March 16 outside of ITR (International Toxicology Research) Laboratories in Baie d’Urfé to decry animal testing conducted by the company. The event took place a day to the anniversary of the first event organized to protest ITR Laboratories’ practices that were originally secretly filmed and broadcast on the television news program W5.
Despite the cold, a number of people came to join the protest.
“It went great,” said Robert Boisvert of 269Life Canada, one of the organizers. “Overall, we had about 70 people show up. If it would have been nice out, we probably would have had more.”
“People toughed it out for the whole six hours,” said Reid Gryphon, LCA Assistant Director of Investigations. “I’m impressed.
“It was very nice to see a good mix of people, from some who have been there since the very first protest and who haven’t missed a single one, to others who were attending their very first protest.” Gryphon said he feels this is a good sign of growing awareness. Flyers were distributed prior to the event in large places like Fairview Shopping Centre.
“We had Alex Tyrrell of the Green Party show up. We talked with him about our expectations, our hopes and dreams for animals, and that was really great,” Boisvert said. Gryphon echoed the sentiment saying, “It was great to see a politician show interest in our cause.”
Boisvert said the protest did not elicit any response from ITR Laboratories, but he declared that one of their contacts within ITR alleges the protests have cost the company $2 million so far. “They had to hire security again. They had to use buses to get their employees out because they don’t want their employees to go through our line.”
Private security and the Montreal police were present during the protest, but Boisvert said overall, the protest was peaceful. “There were police officers there, but I don’t think they were even necessary,” Gryphon said. “All the protesters were behaving themselves. There was no taunting for the most part.”
The organizers are continuing their fight despite their disappointment in the response from the authorities on happenings at ITR and other animal testing facilities.
“MAPAQ (Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation) said there was nothing wrong with what they saw. MAPAQ will come to your house if you have a couple of cats over the permitted limit, but when it comes to animals actually being in danger or brutalized, they don’t see anything wrong,” Boisvert said, referencing some of the disturbing footage of animals being roughly handled in the process of being used as test subjects at ITR. The footage was captured during an undercover investigation conducted by LCA in 2016.
“It’s unfortunate that animals in research labs somehow have a different standard of care. They are treated almost as objects, rather than natural animals,” Gryphon added. “It’s unfortunate that the police refused to press charges in this case. But we are still fighting for animals and we are still trying to pressure politicians and get public support. We’ll keep pushing for the cause,” Gryphon said.
For people who don’t want to join in a protest, but who still want to support the cause, Boisvert recommends signing petitions and watching what they are buying. “Check if products were tested on animals, simple products like shampoo. Even the dollar stores now carry products with the little bunny logo on it that means they were not tested on animals. It’s supply and demand. We need the consumer to step up and say he doesn’t want his products being tested on animals.”
ITR Laboratories did not respond to requests for comments, but during a previous interview with The Journal following the March 2017 protest, ITR Laboratory President Ginette Bain commented regarding the needed debate on the use of animals in medical research, stating that this was, “…a discussion we are prepared to have and hope it will hasten the development of alternative (testing) methods that regulators will accept for registration of new drugs.”
You can visit the Last Chance for Animals website at www.lcanimal.org or 269Life Canada’s Facebook page to find out more about those organizations’ efforts to save animals.