National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Support science without suffering and 40th anniversary of World Day for Lab Animals

Posted: 11 March 2019. Updated: 17 April 2019


2019 marks the 40th anniversary of World Day for Laboratory Animals. Founded by the National Anti-Vivisection Society in 1979, and held on 24th April, this important day commemorates the suffering of animals in laboratories in Britain and around the world.

Compared with the year this global day of commemoration was launched, when 4.7 million experiments were carried out on animals in British labs, one million fewer animal tests now take place.

Over the years, and with your support, the NAVS has campaigned for and celebrated many victories for lab animals – and championed advanced modern methods to replace their use. UK legislation ending suffering and saving lives in the past 40 years includes a ban on cosmetics testing on animals, bans on using animals – hundreds of thousands at the time – to test alcohol and tobacco products, as well as deadly, acute oral LD50 safety tests.

Almost 30 years ago, we highlighted the plight of primates and the ecological damage caused by removing them from the wild for use in research. Today, no wild caught primates are kept or used in British labs, and primate experiments as a whole have more than halved since 1979, from 6,354 to 2,960

A huge number of lives have been saved, but still too many continue to suffer.

Unrecorded in 1979, more than two-thirds (2.6 million) of all procedures today are carried out specifically for the creation and maintenance of animals with genetic modifications. Such animals are created with a particular trait, in order to “model” human conditions, and are intended to be abnormal in some way. Given a deliberate genetic defect, prolonged animal suffering can arise from repeated surgeries, egg collection, implantation, repeated blood and tissue testing, and the intended and unintended mutations suffered. With only 3-5% of offspring actually having the desired genetic defect, huge numbers of animals are also killed and discarded.

With little known about the experiments that take place in British labs, the NAVS continues to call for removal of “secrecy clause” Section 24 of the Animal (scientific Procedures) Act, and specifically for the licence applications submitted by animal researchers to be made public before experiments take place. Five years after consulting the public on Section 24, the UK Government has still to release its findings.

This World Day for Laboratory Animals, the NAVS is urging the UK Government to tackle the secrecy continuing to surround animal tests and support the adoption of advanced non-animal methods that can replace their use.

Please help.

  • Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion #2228: Developing Innovative Science – Better for Animals TODAY. You can check if they have signed here and contact them here using our template letter below.
  • Give a vital platform for the animals where you live. Raise awareness and funds, and sign up to join our Lab Animal Week collections. Call 020 7630 3340 or email [email protected] TODAY! It will take just a few hours of your time but will make a world of difference.
  • Make a donation to support our work.

Together we can champion the progress that has been made in the past 40 years and a future where advanced, non-animal methods are the norm. Better for animals and people.

Template letter to MP


Developing innovative science - better for animals and people

As a constituent, and someone concerned about animal research, I am writing to ask you to sign the following Early Day Motion which calls on the UK Government to take action to facilitate the adoption of advanced methods which can replace their use.

EDM 2228: Developing innovative science - better for animals and people
That this House recognises the economic and scientific need to support advanced scientific human-relevant research methods; notes that the goal of Recital 10 of EU Directive 2010/63/EU is ‘full replacement of procedures on live animals for scientific and educational purposes as soon as scientifically possible’; supports the Declaration for Advanced Science, championed by Animal Defenders International, supported by scientists and other stakeholders and acknowledging that animal models can provide misleading results; and calls for the Government to lead globally in the development of innovative science, better for animals and people, by supporting research and considering legislative measures which facilitate and accelerate the realisation of this goal.

Given their recognised scientific, economic, and human health benefits, it is important that innovative non-animal science is placed front and centre of government policy.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

© National Anti-Vivisection Society