In broad daylight today, as reported in the Italian newspaper Giornale di Brescia, Italian activists conducted a bold and daring raid of Green Hill, one of Europe’s largest breeder of beagles for vivisection labs, and rescued at least thirty beagles destined for painful procedures inside laboratories and eventual death from either the fatal results of experiments or the slaughter afterwards when they are deemed no longer useful.
At least 1000 activists organized by Occupy Green Hill who came from all over northern Italy started their procession in Montichiari, a city about 60 miles east of Milan where Green Hill is located. Many of them wore signs saying “We are the 86%,” referring to the percentage of Italians polled who were opposed to animal-based experimentation. On their approach close to Green Hill they were met by police and roadblocks. Groups of activists then cut through the fields and across other streets to the fences surrounding the facility.
There, about 300-400 demonstrators tried to open gates in the perimeter as teams of mobile riot police and police who were deployed tried to contain them. On the side of the gates, however, the protesters opened a breach in the fence and broke into the farm, with others simply scaling the fence, carefully avoiding the barbed-wire. Once inside they scrambled into the sheds and rescued at least thirty dogs, many of them being handed over the fence to waiting hands on the other side.
At the end of the day, it was reported that police had arrested 13 people. Some protesters said they had suffered violence by some officials. View video of the march and the raid here.
So why Green Hill?
Within Europe, Green Hill is now the largest breeder of dogs destined for laboratories. Green Hill houses 5 sheds which imprisons 2500 adult dogs, plus several litters. The sheds are closed, aseptic, without open spaces and without natural light or air. Rows and rows of cages with artificial lighting and ventilation system are the environment in which these dogs grow before being loaded onto a truck and shipped to laboratories where abuse and pain await them.
Among the clients of Green Hill are university laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and renowned trial centers as the notorious Huntingdon Life Sciences in England.
Who profits from Green Hill?
Several years ago Marshall Farms Inc., an American firm, acquired the company. Marshall is infamous throughout the world as the largest “producer” of dogs for the vivisection industry. The Marshall beagle is actually a standard variety. For about €450-900 ($600-1200) you can buy dogs of any age. For those who are willing to pay more one can also obtain a pregnant mother. Green Hill and Marshall also offer its customers on-demand surgical treatments, such as the cutting or removal of vocal cords so “researchers” cannot hear their cries of pain.
Marshall’s dogs are shipped by air all over the world, but with the purchase of Green Hill as the European headquarters and the construction of a huge farm in China, Marshall is pursuing a plan of expansion and market monopoly.
To Green Hill and Marshall Farm, animals are merely merchandise, commodities to just breed and sell without any thought to the pain and suffering — both mental and physical — that they will suffer. Through the work of these activists, a few lives were saved from the horrors of industry, and shows to those who profit from the lives of innocent beings that oppression will not be tolerated.
Former Tourism Minister Michela Brambilla traveled to the prison to visit those arrested for their involvement in the raid. The former minister noted that the demonstrators’ actions are representative of ”the high level of exasperation felt by citizens, who will no longer tolerate such shameful activity in our country. The thousands of people who for months have staged every form of civil protest against Green Hill are representing the feelings of millions of Italians.”
UPDATE: The activists who were being held have been released.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE! Click this link to an undercover photo to see what vivisection does to beagles.