ANIMAL rights supporters used art to raise awareness of the animals used in warfare research at Porton Down.

London-based street artist Disk (UK) joined Animal Justice Project on Saturday, for an awareness event at the Cheese Market.

He created a large canvas painting of a macaque monkey, which was completed throughout the day watched by shoppers.

The group says the day, which was part of its Secret War campaign, was an “overwhelming success”.

Spokesman Helen Dufton said: “People often feel powerless to stop vivisection as the problem appears to be vast, yet an increasing number of young people oppose the use of animals in research. In 2000, an MP tabled a motion stating the House was “disgusted” and “appalled” by animal experiments involving mustard gas and nerve gas.

“Yet 15 years on, these experiments continue. This hugely successful event enabled us to inform the people of Salisbury about what the MoD is doing to animals inside Porton Down, and enabled people to speak out against it.”

The group says in 2013, more than 6,000 experiments were carried out at Porton Down on animals, including 193 marmosets.

It says some animals were experimented on more than once, mostly without anaesthesia, before being killed.

It also said last year 12 macaque monkeys were transported from China to Porton Down and infected with TB. It says they were provided DVDs for visual stimulation and when the animals showed severe symptoms they were killed.

A Dstl spokesman said: “Research by the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has saved the lives of British troops by developing new protective equipment and medical treatments that also benefit civilians.

“While we are working to reduce the need for animal experimentation, some of this life-saving research simply cannot be conducted without animals.”