Putting animal rights first is the goal of World Day for Laboratory Animals, which is observed annually on April 24. This day was created to call attention to animal suffering, and killings undertaken in laboratories across the world. Each year, millions of animals are used to conduct experiments and tests of all kinds, across various industries, resulting in terrible conditions for the animals in question. The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) created this day over 40 decades ago, and since then the campaign has gained overwhelming popularity and many advocates for the cause.
History of World Day for Animals in Laboratories
Every day, before your most loved medical supplies, cosmetics and toiletries hit the counter, they go through a series of tests to ensure they are safe for human consumption. This sounds logical and impressive when you first hear it, but we tend to forget the tests and experiments that go on behind the scenes to ensure that happens. One of the most outdated, yet practiced methods in these industries is animal testing or research.
Animal research has been in existence since the 2nd century B.C. and has been used throughout the existence of biomedical research. The first modern use of animal testing can be seen in the creation of anthrax and insulin in the 1800s and 1900s respectively, and the concept eventually gained popularity in genetics and toxicology testing in drugs.
Over the years, animal testing has been used in the cosmetic, medical, aviation, and even warfare industries in a variety of ways. However, the pitfalls of this method have also come to light due to the high incidence of harm to and fatalities of animals, and several failed projects. Two major examples of such failed projects are the BIA 10-2474 Drug Trial and drug TGN1412.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) was established in 1875, becoming the first anti-vivisection organization in the world. It is a non-profit animal protection group based in London. Their goal is to replace animal testing with more advanced scientific techniques.
Animal Defenders International (A.D.I.) is another animal rights protection group that was established in 1990. Both organizations have gained massive popularity and created a major impact over the years in the cause to end animal research. They now work together as one body under the A.D.I. name. They created World Day for Laboratory Animals to raise global awareness of the fatal effects of animal testing, while encouraging more advanced techniques.
World Day for Animals in Laboratories timeline
The Cruelty to Animals Act is established to set limits on the practice of animal testing.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is founded in London by Frances Power Cobbe.
World Day for Laboratory Animals is founded on April 24 by Animal Defenders International (A.D.I.) and their partner, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS).
The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act is passed by the U.K. government to regulate the use of animals in research.
World Day for Animals in Laboratories FAQs
Are the creators of World Day for Laboratory Animals and World Week for Animals in Laboratories the same?
World Week for Animals in Laboratories was created to be a single-day observance by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), now known under the single-body name — Animal Defenders International (A.D.I.). This day is observed annually on April 24, and the surrounding week around that date has now come to be known as World Week for Animals In Laboratories.
Why was April 24 chosen for World Day for Laboratory Animals?
Lord Hugh Dowding was an Air Chief Marshal and officer in the Royal Air Force. He played a major role in Britain’s defense in WWII and the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s plan to invade Britain. He became the president of NAVS after World War II and made many passionate speeches against animal testing in the House of Lords. In 1973, the Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research was created in his honor. Shortly after, World Day for Laboratory Animals was established on April 24 because that is also the birth date of Lord Dowding.
What is the Brown Dog Affair?
The Brown Dog Affair is one of the earliest public cases of the protest against vivisection, which is the experimental surgery carried out on living organisms, specifically animals. It came about due to allegations raised against William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at University College London who performed illegal vivisection on a brown terrier. It was deemed cruel and illegal by NAVS, resulting in a nationwide controversy that divided the country. In 1906, a statue was erected in Battersea Park in the honor of the dog and over 200 animals that were victims at the same university. The statue mysteriously disappeared in 1910 and was again erected by NAVS in 1985.
How to Observe World Day for Animals in Laboratories
Make a donation
Several organizations, other than the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), support the fight against animal testing in research. These organizations are typically non-profit and require donations to fund their cause. Make it a mission to set aside some money for donations to a relevant organization of your choice. You can do some research to learn more about them, and find out which of them piques your interest the most.
Spread the word
Today is all about raising awareness about the use of animal testing in research. Discover more about the animal testing industry by doing some research. Share your findings online by blogging, tweeting, writing, and posting the information you find across your social media platforms.
Buy cruelty-free products
Cruelty-free products are those that are manufactured without any harm to plants or animals. Some companies make it their sole mission to create cruelty-free cosmetics and daily household products. Pledge to only purchase such products, and take it a step forward by swapping out some of your favorite products for a cruelty-free substitute today. Challenge your family and friends to follow suit and foster accountability for one another.
5 Important Facts About Animal Testing
Results are far from accurate
Animal testing has become an outdated, inaccurate technique due to differences in genealogy in different animal species.
Aspirin can be dangerous
Using aspirin can cause birth defects in monkeys.
They’re more frequent than you think
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), each year, over 100 million experiments are conducted on animals in the U.S. alone.
There are several alternatives
There are over 50 scientific alternatives to animal testing.
They are entirely legal
To date, there are no laws completely banning the use of animals in research experiments, and laws such as the Animal Welfare Act protect only 95% of animals.
Why World Day for Animals in Laboratories is Important
It protects animal rights
Just because they cannot defend themselves, does not mean animals shouldn’t have rights too. The basic right they all have is to live. World Day for Laboratory Animals is all about doing our part to protect their rights, as well as encouraging others to do so as well, and possibly saving the lives of hundreds of animals currently dwelling in laboratories.
It encourages the use of cruelty-free products
Cruelty-free products are completely free of animal testing and no animals have been harmed during the research or manufacturing of these products. This day encourages us to prioritize such products whenever we get the opportunity of doing so.
It’s a global awareness campaign
Although this campaign was established by a U.K.-based organization, it is a campaign that is observed and encouraged across the world. We love this day because it creates a global awareness about the fight to end animal testing, educating those who may be ignorant of the cause, while empowering those who are already advocates.
World Day for Animals in Laboratories dates