A KIDDERMINSTER wheelchair user and animal rights activist has been handed an eight-week curfew following a paint attack protest.

Louise Ryan, age 51, was one of a group of four animal liberation campaigners who used red chalk spray to daub anti-vivisection slogans at the entrance to the Sequani animal research laboratory in Ledbury on February 25.

They then handcuffed themselves to the gates of the laboratory until the police arrived to arrest them.

Ryan appeared at Kidderminster Magistrates Court last Friday (September 1) on a charge of criminal damage.

The other campaigners, Sarah Benn, aged 56, from Birmingham, Yasmin Brown, aged 33, from Swansea, and Fiona Crarey, aged 68, from Barrow-in-Furness, were each ordered to do 100 hours community service.

All four made statements to the court in which they refused to apologise for their actions.

Ryan said in court: “The reason I was involved in the action at Sequani, was to draw attention to the experiments carried out there on beagles, mini-pigs, rabbits and other animals, many of which cause great suffering and all of which result in the animals being killed when the experiments are over.

“It would be wrong to carry out such tests on humans, so it must also be wrong to do them on other animals who are just as capable of feeling and suffering as we are.

“If our government were to do the decent thing and abolish experiments on animals, there would be no need for people like myself to carry out the sort of action that took place at Sequani, and for as long as such experiments remain legal, I have no doubt people will continue to take direct action in an effort to bring them to an end.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: Louise Ryan was arrested at the protest earlier this yearLouise Ryan was arrested at the protest earlier this year (Image: Wyre Forest Vegans)

In response to the protest in February, a spokesperson for Sequani said: "It's clear that those individuals attending the demonstration object to what we do as a matter of principle but there are many more people across the UK that value what we do and our contribution, along with our development partners, in helping to bring new medicines to market.

"The protesters’ ideas about what research involves is muddled and outdated. It is not the purpose of any experiment to poison an animal to death. Indeed, the purpose of safety testing is to prevent people, animals and the environment from being poisoned or otherwise harmed".

"At Sequani over 90 per cent of animals used for regulatory studies are rodents - rats and mice.

"Other species used include rabbits, pigs and dogs.

"Dogs have special protections under UK law which mean they cannot be used if another animal will suffice.

"These animals are specially bred for use in research by licenced breeders and cared for to the very highest standards of animal welfare.

"Sequani and our development partners also use nonanimal methods when they can be used".