By Emma Dunn
A woman spent 24 hours in a dog crate listening to hounds barking and recreating the smell of urine by spraying vinegar onto hay – to educate others on animal testing.
Anne-Marie Barton, 44, decided to livestream herself in the crate to recreate the experience of an animal bred in a laboratory and used for testing. She stripped her office, which has no windows and is separate to the house, and put down hay in a 125 x 80 x 90 cm (2.95 feets) crate. She played the sounds of dogs barking on a loop through her headphones and only slept for around 20 minutes the whole time – only getting out of the crate for short toilet breaks.
Her partner, Luke Cottrell, 34, an emotional needs tutor, was on hand throughout and brought her one meal during the experience. The dog lover wanted to encourage people to use cruelty-free products and help educate them on “the cruelty” of animal testing.
“I wanted to experience what dogs and animals experience in these laboratories as much as possible,” said Anne-Marie, an educational needs tutor from Guilford, Surrey, England. “The smell of the vinegar – which was meant to replicate urine – was eye-watering and the barking made me feel like there were dogs around me that were in distress and that I was next.
“I’d get a lump in my throat. It was a really lonely experience. I hardly slept, and I just ended up focusing on the hay. I just want to make a difference to help something improve for these animals.”
Ann-Marie became aware of the treatment of dogs in laboratories in 2020 and started to educate herself on the reality of the situation. The owner of the chocolate lab, Max, rescue chug Woody, and beagle, Benji, became passionate about trying to make a difference and decided to spend 24 hours in a crate in May 2022.
“Hearing about the treatment of dogs and how lonely they must be, was horrendous,” she said. “I decided to try and experience what they must go through for myself.”
Anne-Marie live-streamed her experience on Facebook to up to 5k viewers – chatting through her feelings the whole time.
“I think animals also experience trauma and depression like humans,” she said. “It was so lonely being cramped in the crate, so I can see how they develop certain behaviors. My partner brought me one meal during the 24 hours, and I went out for a couple of minutes for toilet breaks.
“The whole thing was eye-opening. My mind kept going to those poor animals. I wanted to encourage people to buy cruelty-free and to support places like XCellR8 – which is a non-animal testing laboratory for industries such as cosmetics and chemicals.”
Anne-Marie was able to raise £2,400 ($2,752) for XCellR8 and was inundated with messages after telling her how educational they had found it. “I urge people to go cruelty-free,” she said. “Ever since finding out more about animal testing these last few years, everything has changed for me. I understand both sides and know that it will be a slow change, but if anything can be done just to improve animals’ lives, then that would be amazing.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker.
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