A KIDDERMINSTER wheelchair user was one of five women arrested after they carried out a "paint attack" at the Sequani laboratory in Ledbury.

Animal activists painted slogans and sprayed blood-red paint at the entrance to the lab and three of them also handcuffed themselves to the main gate and had to be cut free by police.

The action occurred while a protest, attended by dozens of anti-vivisection campaigners, was taking place outside the laboratory.

Louise Ryan, aged 50, said: “Despite having limited mobility, I was determined to take part in the action, which I did by handcuffing myself to the laboratory entrance.

“Sequani profits from carrying out cruel tests, involving the poisoning of beagles, rabbits and other animals to death with noxious substances.

“Animal experimention is not only morally wrong, it is also regarded as scientifically invalid by an increasing number of doctors and scientists, and is an example of human supremacism, the arrogant and irrational belief that humans are somehow more important than other sentient animals.”

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Louise previously chained herself to the steering wheel of a lorry as part of the blockade of a Müller dairy supply depot by Animal Rebellion last September.

In response to the protest, a spokesperson for Sequani said: "Most research animals in the UK are mice, fish and rats.

"Animals are used in discovery science or to create and safety test medicines. This includes all vaccines for Covid-19, as well as new drugs announced recently to combat cancer and Alzheimer’s, pet medicines and more.

"It would be difficult to find anybody whose life has not been saved or significantly improved by the use of animals in research. It has been used to create almost all medicines.

"By law, animals cannot be used if working alternatives exist.

"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"The protesters’ ideas about what research involves is muddled and outdated.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".

Ledbury Reporter: Louise Ryan handcuffed to the main gateLouise Ryan handcuffed to the main gate (Image: Handout)

They added: "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".

During the protest five people were arrested. Four people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, one person was arrested on suspicion of a breach under the public order act.

Superintendent Mel Paley said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest, however, where criminal offences are committed will take action against those suspected of being involved.

“I would like to thank the local community for their understanding and cooperation as we responded to the protest.”

All those arrested have been bailed.