April 24th brings World Day for Laboratory Animals
With the 40th anniversary of the global day approaching, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has shared the great news that one million fewer animal tests are conducted in British laboratories today, compared with 1979 when the global day was first launched.
Founded by NAVS, for the last 40 years World Day for Laboratory Animals has been used to educate the public and legislators about animal tests and alternatives. The chosen date is in fact the birthday of a past NAVS President, air chief marshal Lord Dowding, who was a great champion of animals.
When World Day for Laboratory Animals was first created, 4.7 million experiments were carried out on animals in British laboratories. Now, UK Government figures show that 3.7 million tests take place – a million fewer, but this is still too many.
NAVS have imperative in saving animal lives over the years, campaigning to save animals from experiments, and in helping to bring into practice lifesaving legislations – like the ban on cosmetics testing, alcohol and tobacco on animals.
Almost 30 years ago, NAVS campaigned heavily for the plight of primates and the ecological damage that is caused by catching them from the wild for use in research. Today, no wild caught primates are kept or used in UK labs, and primate experiments as a whole have more than halved since 1979, from 6,354 to 2,960.
Over the last 40 years, the NAVS has brought attention to the unnecessary suffering and misleading use of animals in laboratories in a wide variety of ways. In the 1980s and 1990s, before smart phones and social media, it organised huge World Day for Laboratory Animals rallies in London – the biggest the country had seen, or has seen to date, on the issue, with as many as 23,000 people attending.
NAVS president, Jan Creamer, said: “This significant decline in animal use, and since the first World Day for Laboratory Animals, has been in spite of inadequate funding and support for modern science. Knowing animal research to be misleading and fundamentally flawed, the UK Government must act to accelerate the adoption of advanced human-relevant methods, helping animals and people.”
Sadly, there are still 3.7 million animal tests conducted annually, so NAVS is demanding that the UK Government does more to support the uptake of advanced non-animal methods to replace their use.
Since it began, many celebrities have supported the day of commemoration, including Boy George, Chrissie Hynde, Brian May, Dannii Minogue, Brian Blessed, Stella McCartney, Philip Schofield and Twiggy.
Head to navs.org.uk for more info.