Make A Difference For Animals Used In Science
World Day for Animals In Labs is marked every year on April 24th, with World Week for Animals In Laboratories (WWAIL) scheduled around it. Back in 1979, the British National Anti-Vivisection Society chose the date as a tribute to Hugh Dowding, a former president of NAVS, and since its founding, it’s served as a date for animal advocates to commemorate animals used in science, and to organize around related issues.
Actions during WWAIL have ranged broadly in their scope and impact. Quite often, animal advocates will use the occasion to hold demonstrations, tabling and outreach events, film screenings, and other interventions. In one unique instance, a spontaneous daytime liberation of animals from a lab breeder happened during WWAIL, serving to inspire animal advocates, as well as make a huge media splash with the associated images. It’s worth noting too, that pro-research organizations sometimes use the week to do their own, pro-animal testing outreach.
To mark WWAIL, this Faunalytics blog gathers together some of our most popular and useful resources on research animal issues. In the past year, we’ve been quite active when it comes to covering the topic. Of particular note is the latest entry in our Faunalytics Fundamentals series. If you are mystified about research animal issues and need somewhere to start, or if you are well-informed but need a one-stop solution for the latest statistics and public opinion data, gathered in an accessible way, start there.
From there, head over to this blog entry, which gives some context on the history of research animal advocacy, as well as some ideas and inspiration for the future. In it, we discussed how anti-vivisection work has been a key aspect of animal protection movements for many years. We also look at how contemporary awareness campaigns, boycotts, appeals to fiscal conservatism, and the advancement of research alternatives, all help to keep the issue in the spotlight.
Once you’ve explored those, check out our first Faunalytics Slack Chat with Dr. Lisa Kramer and Justin Goodman of the White Coat Waste Project, on the subject of animal research, economics, and government spending. It was an eye-opening discussion, touching on the (supposed) efficacy of animal research, the problem of institutional inertia, and the costs of animal research, on both a human and financial level. In it, Goodman describes how approximately $15 billion is spent by the U.S. government each year to fund animal research. “You can’t boycott government animal testing unless you stop paying taxes,” Goodman noted, “but that’s where the lion’s share of the problem exists. Taxpayers can and should hold their federal representatives’ feet to the fire for allowing agencies to waste billions in public money on animal experiments. “
At this point, you may be wondering: is animal research a “winnable issue”? We reached out to Dr. Kramer for a follow up:
The debate about using animals in biomedical research often gets bogged down in questions of ethics: given a choice between a lab animal and a human you love, who would you prefer to save? This is a false dichotomy because the overall body of scientific evidence clearly shows that animal models overall have extremely poor predictive value in identifying safe, effective treatments for humans. To improve and save human lives, we must abandon the use of animals in drug and disease research and focus instead on modern methods that make use of what can be known about humans, including each individual’s unique genetic makeup. Focusing on the scientific facts makes it an achievable goal to eliminate the use of animals in drug and disease research. Furthermore, by leaving animal-based research in the past, we will enhance progress in identifying safe and effective treatments and cures.
Are you motivated to make a difference for animals in labs? The Faunalytics Research Library has a broad range of articles and blog posts that will arm you with the data you need to do your advocacy more effectively. Sometimes, however, we know that looking at such a big archive of material can be daunting. Below is a selection of some of the best we have to offer, in addition to the resources listed above.