A woman did a 24-hour live stream locked in a crate surrounded by the stench of ‘urine’. Anne-Marie Barton stripped out her office attached to her home and then stepped inside the crate.
During the experience she had short toilet breaks, but then returned to the cage and sprayed one corner with white vinegar to recreate the smell of urine. With the lights remaining on throughout the experience she managed just 20 minutes sleep on a hay bed, reports Surrey Live.
The 44-year-old carried out the experience to raise money to help stop animal testing. She was also hoping to educate people to switch to cruelty-free products.
Anne-Marie, from West Clandon, live-streamed the event on her Facebook page on Sunday, May 15. This was also the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week for loneliness, which she also wanted to raise awareness for.
She told how she spent the 24-hours inside the dog crate which just under one metre high and just over one metre long. She said: “For the whole duration the only small breaks I had were for using the toilet.
“I was completely alone. I also used white vinegar to spray in one corner after each toilet break, to replicate the strong smell of urine, that a dog would experience. I found it eye-opening from a psychological sense – seeing what it could be like for animals in laboratories that are bred for testing.
“There was no stimulation at all like auditory or visually and when I laid down my head was touching one end and my legs had to extend up because there was just no room.”
Anne-Marie, who was assisted by her husband and assessed the safety aspects before the challenge, owns three dogs and is particularly concerned with beagle puppies being bred on puppy farms for testing. She said: “I’m ashamed to say it but I thought that had ended in the 1970s. But puppies are still being bred for vivisection.
“Some might think it was a bit crazy what I did but I did have my reasons behind it.” The event raised £2,400 for XCellR8, a UK laboratory that creates animal-free testing within industries such as cosmetics and chemicals.
Anne-Marie, who works as a special educational needs tutor and emotional coach, said: “We desperately need to move forward in science because it’s got such a high failure rate and there are moral and ethical reasons why people protest. But the key thing is that they desperately need funding to fund non-animal methods, which is how I came across XCellR8 and their work.”
One of the laboratory’s current projects involves replacing the LD50 toxicity test, a method for determining how poisonous a substance is by testing it on animals. Anne-Marie hopes the money raised will contribute to the project.
She said the response on social media was “huge”. She added: “I’m still getting responses now and people saying how educational it is and that they’d never thought of those sorts of aspects. I think just generally there is a shift amongst the public to move towards non-animal methods.
“As mental health professional with a keen interest in psychology, I can understand now how even small changes in their environment would trigger certain emotional and behavioural responses.”
Anne Marie said it was “pointless” in trying to get comfortable inside the crate and that it took her the rest of the week to recover from the whole experience. She added: “Part of the reason I did it as well was to educate the public to try to move to as cruelty-free products as they can. There are great alternatives out there and the way forward is definitely non-animal testing.
“We pride ourselves on being a nation of dog lovers and sadly it’s still happening in the UK and across the world. It’s thinking about future generations and if we don’t don’t educate them then how are we going to spark that interest in becoming a scientist and looking at non-animal methods?”
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