Animal rights demo goes off peacefully

Monday 4pm POLICE officers from five different forces were involved in the policing of around 300 animal rights activists demonstrating outside Highgate Farm near Normanby by Spital on Saturday, as part of their Global Week of Action against laboratory animal breeders.

Highgate Farm is a supplier of animals to, amongst other sources, the vivisection industry, including Huntingdon Life Sciences, which has been a target of anti-vivisection campaigners for some time. It also supplies rabbits to the meat trade.

In January 2008, protestors broke into the farm and stole around 130 rabbits.

The campaigning group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), has hailed the event a 'success', and said it brought the attention of local people to the farm's 'immoral practices' and the 'start of an ongoing and growing campaign to close them down for good'.

There were several short speeches during the five hour protest, calling for the closure of the animal breeding business.

Protesters were kept about 300 metres from the farm entrance as police placed a perimeter of officers protecting the private business. As demonstrators arrived police used a banner to announce the implementation of the legislation.

The road down to the farm was also closed and campaigners used a shuttle minibus to get their supporters to the farm entrance.

Police said they were pleased the demonstration had been conducted in a peaceful manner within the law.

They said additional offcers, including mounted police which were kept in reserve, were needed to ensure normal everyday policing within Lincolnshire was unaffected.

"Lincolnshire Police invested a great deal of time and effort in planning an appropriate balanced response and policing the event in an impartial way," a spokeman said.

"The protesters were able to express their views, opinions and beliefs in a lawful way whilst the farmer was able to conduct his legitimate business and enjoy his right to private family life. We would like to thank all concerned for their cooperation.

"We are also grateful to the local residents, we tried our best to minimise the disruption to their daily lives and routines but inevitably some were inconvenienced to a degree. We thank them for their patience and understanding."