Animal rights protesters descend on Horsham

ABOUT 300 animal rights protesters marched through Horsham on Saturday afternoon.

There was a very strong police presence in the town as protesters marched from Horsham Park through neigbouring roads to pharmaceutical company Novartis.

It is understood that the protest passed off peacefully with no reports of trouble.

A Novartis spokesperson said earlier on Saturday: "People from animal rights groups will come together in Horsham for an assembly and procession. Novartis is liaising with its employees, the local police and representatives of the local community to help provide information and to minimise disruption.

"The pharmaceutical industry continues to attract the attention of animal rights groups and, as a leading pharmaceutical company, Novartis is the main focus for this particular event. Research involving animals is an essential part of modern drug research and development.

"It is a legal requirement of regulatory authorities worldwide that new drugs be tested in animals before they can be safely and ethically tested in human beings. The knowledge acquired through such research is essential for the discovery and development of innovative new medicines to treat a wide range of diseases.

"Research involving animals is only carried out when absolutely necessary and Novartis strictly adheres to the relevant regulations and guidelines at all times.

"Novartis also demands the same of organisations with which we partner for research involving animals. Novartis is strongly committed to animal welfare and actively supports the development of alternative research methods to reduce and replace the need for such research."