The ANZCCART vivisectors conference was held in Melbourne from July 10-12, and Animal Liberation Victoria was there over the three days with activists from other groups and interstate sending a loud and clear message that these apologists for animal experiments are NOT welcome in our town. On the surface this annual conference is concerned with 'humane' science and reducing the number of animal in experiments. But there is no such thing as humane vivisection, just as there is no such thing as 'humane child abuse' or 'humane domestic abuse'. In reality this conference is a greenwash to hide the fact that, despite the existence of ANZCCART and Codes of Practice which call for the reduction in the numbers of animals used, statistics consistently show that animal experiments in Australia are increasing.

Animal Liberation Victoria is a voice in opposition to vivisection. We held a loud three day protest at the conference and told those animal abusers what we think of them, their practice and their futile experiments.

Day one – Tuesday July 10th
Over 60 activists dressed in black braved icy winter morning temperatures and converged on The Rendezvous Hotel from 8:30am. With banners reading ‘Vivisection Murder for Profit’ and ‘Ban Animal Testing’, the conference delegates were met with a noisy reception of air horns, whistles and megaphones as we loudly let them know what we thought of their support of animal abuse.

At 12pm ALV engaged media from AAP, Herald Sun, The Age and other outlets and newswires with a graphic demonstration. Bloodied and wearing only a sheet, Jamie Yew was strapped to a giant vivisection board while photographers snapped shots that made news around the world. Some of the media coverage can be seen here: The Age (and some more of the scores of papers that ran the AAP story), Sydney Morning Herald, AAP, AFP and GETTY newswires and REUTERS newswire. The story also ran in Melbourne and Sydney's MX, Triple M and ABC national radio, and numerous other media outlets, including in the Middle East and throughout Asia.

Media Spokesperson Dan Archer fired things up with an impassioned speech interspersed with angry chants. ALV has some great talent on the megaphone with activists tag teaming to get the chanting going. Jamie, Dan, Peter, Michael, Tim, Sally, Melinda, Karen and others took turns at giving both the conference and the Hotel a serve.

The Rendezvous Hotel's security was visibly shaken but still took the opportunity to manhandle some of our activists, backing off only when our own security expert reminded them that any force used must be ‘legal, reasonable and proportionate’ under Australian law. The police arrived to check up on us as the noise continued. Still, our activists were not deterred and our numbers stayed strong throughout the day. Noah got some awesome photos and Tim captured most of the day on video. Over 2000 leaftets were handed out on the first day alone with a total of over 3600 across the entire conference.

Day two – July 11th.
Again we converged on the hotel in the early morning. This time, Noah, Jamie, Sally, Erik and Peter bravely stormed the building, pushing past security. Peter managed to make some noise with a very loud air horn before he and Erik were removed. Meanwhile Jamie and Noah chained themselves by the neck with bike D-locks to the hotels main entrance with Sally making a quick getaway with the keys.

Things got really loud outside as activists screamed and chanted in solidarity with Jamie and Noah locked down inside. 20 police swarmed the building creating a human wall between us and our comrades within. For hours we held out, refusing to move, refusing to be quiet and not breaking the chants of ‘Behind closed doors’, ‘Animal Abusers’, ‘Blood on your hands’ and ‘Ban Animal Testing’

Police tried to negotiate for the keys to which we simply said, ‘No comment’. In an act of desperation ‘Erin’ from The Womens Hospital who was attending the conference came out to ‘negotiate’. Her first mistake was telling us that she was pro-vivisection, she was shaking all over as she tried to talk to two of our activists. Her pleas to unlock in return for being allowed to speak at the conference were quickly exposed as fake trickery. She then offered to let us see The Women's Hospitals animal housing – of course with no cameras, no witnesses and while no experiments were being conducted. Nice try Erin. Our activists remained locked down while police hung huge screens in front of them to hide them from the public and prevent us from communicating with them. This only made us more determined and more angry. After nearly three hours blocking the hotel entrance, they were cut out with angle grinders and released without charge. Both The Herald Sun snapped photos as did our own activists Ralph and Erik, with Patty capturing the unfolding drama on video.

Day Three – July 12th, final day
This was the final day of the conference. So far it had been a huge success for us with large numbers, media attention and thousands of leaflets handed out. The conference was due to end at 3pm, so we embarked on our noisiest action of the entire three days with security, police and activists all needing earplugs. Simple technology allowed us to create a very loud high-pitched unending feedback loop for hours on end. It could be heard across several city blocks and no doubt inside the conference only meters within the building. Add to that several whistles and three airhorns as well as our angry voices and we had one very loud wall of angry activist resistance. With chants borrowed from our comrades overseas we screamed ‘Council for Care you stink of death – Free the animals ALF’ and ‘Innocent animals under attack – Act up! Fight Back!’ and ‘Animal labs pain and death – burn them down, ALF’ Conference delegates were farewelled by activists as they left the building.

This was a great send off to let The Rendezvous Hotel and ANCCART know – not in our city and not on our watch!! ANZCCART maintains that animal testing is necessary yet pretends to hold a mandate to reduce the number of animals used. Simple arithmetic would suggest that if they met their target to reduce the number of animals used every year, then one day no animals would be used. They are contradicting themselves as long as animal numbers continue to increase and they continue to believe that animal use is necessary. We made this clear in no uncertain terms. Their belief that it is necessary to use animals undermines their mandate to reduce numbers – why would they want to reduce and replace something that they think is necessary. Simple answer – they don’t.

ALV would like to thank all our wonderful activists, volunteers and support crew. Thanks to ALNSW for coming all the way down from Sydney. Thanks to our newest volunteers for whom this was their very first protest – well done! Thanks to Simon who made our wonderful easy to assemble vivisection board. Thanks Sally and Erik for the professional banners. Thanks to all our myspace friends who spread the word, posted bulletins and turned up to help. Thanks Karen for adding some variety with those great kiwi chants. Thanks Serryn for being only a phone call away. Thanks to our President, the irrepressible Patty Mark who is always behind us all the way. Thanks Nat for the extra air horn. Thanks Ralph for photos and driving us around. Thanks Tim for videos and youtubes. Thanks Jamie and Noah for all the support, and especially Jamie for braving the winter cold in only a sheet! And thanks Dan for organising everything so brilliantly and tirelessly. A few dedicated activists made themselves available 24/7 for the whole conference – guys, get some sleep! ALV committee, thanks! Everyone did a hell of a lot more than what we have mentioned here.

For more information, please call ALV Anti-vivisection spokesperson, Dan Archer on 0404 051 223 or e-mail antiviv@alv.org.au. If you would like to help support ALV's work fighting for all animals you can donate here. Your support helps us keep up the fight against animal abuse.