Noisy protest held in Gosport against animal testing

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THERE’S no excuse for animal testing – that was the rallying cry that rang through the air as protesters took to the streets to voice their disapproval.

Campaign group Stop Wickham Animal Testing held a noisy protest through Gosport on Saturday afternoon.

Around 40 people held placards, chanted slogans and handed out leaflets telling people about Wickham Laboratories, which operates from a unit in Barwell Lane, Gosport, after its Wickham site was demolished three years ago.

March co-organiser Jeanette McClunan said: ‘The point of the march is to highlight that Wickham labs, which is now situated in Gosport, is using an outdated method of animal testing and we are asking the laboratory to use an alternative.’

Wickham labs is a designated animal testing facility by the Home Office under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986. Its CEO John McKenzie apologised for the disruption.

He added: ‘The toxicology and microbiology testing we perform at Wickham Labs is a vital part of the regulatory requirements for all pharmaceutical products and medical devices. However, it is absolutely essential to our values as a company, that we not only abide by all legal regulations but also adhere to the highest level of ethical treatment and care for any animals that are used in testing.’

He said the company was also researching non-animal alternatives. Some bemused shoppers looked on as the march passed through the precinct, with some showing support while others reacted furiously, especially when a group stopped outside the British Heart Foundation and shouted accusations for the charity commissioning research into animal testing.

Martin Richards, who lives above the shop, said: ‘I’m on nights and they woke me. They didn’t inform me. If they want to do it, then fine, but let’s have some notice. It is terrible.’