Campaigner sits in dog crate for 24 hours listening to barking and spraying vinegar

A woman spent 24 hours crammed in a dog crate in an attempt to educate people on animal testing.

Anne-Marie Barton, from Guilford, Surrey, spent a whole day listening to their barking and recreating the smell of urine by spraying vinegar on hay inside.

The 44-year-old decided to live-stream herself in the crate to replicating the experience of an animal bred in a laboratory and used for testing.

She stripped her office, which has no windows, and put down hay in a 125 x 80 x 90cm crate.

Anne-Marie 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 34-year-old partner Luke Cottrell, 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.

Anne-Marie, an educational needs tutor, said: “I wanted to experience what dogs and animals experience in these laboratories as much as possible.

“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 destress and that I was next.

“I’d get a lump on my throat. It was a really lonely experience and 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 a chocolate labrador, 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 5,000 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 behaviours.

“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 are a non-animal testing laboratory for industries such as cosmetics and chemicals.”

Anne-Marie was able to raise £2,400 for XCellR8 and was inundated with messages after telling her how educational they had found it.

She said: “I urge people to go cruelty free. 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.”