The UK has four main humane research charities, and there are many more worldwide. All fund clever boffins in universities and medical schools to find cures for disease. Animals are a very poor model choice, and have delayed many findings in recent years, as well as causing suffering.
Louise Lizzy Hind of Hageby (front centre) was one of the first anti-vivisection campaigners along with her band of female friends. They organised demonstrations and were told by the police they could not use banners showing what was going on. The banner read ‘Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?’ Lively debates took place in London newspapers, and the women were ordered to stop using them, in case they upset society. People who expected her to a ‘square-jawed and high-browed woman’ instead said they almost converted to being vegetarians on the spot, when meeting a ‘pretty little plump woman, with kind brown eyes that twinkle. Born to a high society Swedish family and educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, Linda went onto to found an animal sanctuary in Dorset and what is now The Animal Defence League, which still offers grants for animal welfare causes.
People have been petitioning since Victorian times (when around 300 animals a year were used in vivisection). The following charities use a blend of modern methods including human volunteers, computer modelling, test tubes and magnetic resonance imaging (examining the brain). They also work with cadavers (donated dead bodies) and use population studies. Here are the main charities to switch your donations to (a few sell nice Christmas cards and envelope reuse labels):
The Little Brown Dog of Battersea
Back when vivisection was just starting in England, there were riots after animal welfare campaigners were outraged at an illegal vivisection (they say conscious and struggling) in front of medical students, the dog was then killed. A statue was put up in memory, but some of students vandalised it and went on protest marches.
The council melted the statue, despite 20,000 people protesting. A new statue is now in Battersea Park, in memory of the little brown dog. With his soul now at peace, say hello if you’re passing.
Other Ways to Help Humane Research
- Buy your soap, shampoo, skin oils and matcha tea from Purechimp, which donates 5% sales to help rescue apes from vivisection labs.
- Refuse to buy Christmas cards and other items from ‘charity shops’ that use your money to suffocate sheep and their ewes in plastic bags, then call it ‘science’ to help your relatives heal from disease. Buy your cards from locally-owned charities, and donate to one of the above charities to fund cures.
- Be brave but polite. If someone rattles a tin can at you, just stay calm, say ‘I only give to humane medical research’ and politely move on. If everyone did this, vivisection experiments would stop tomorrow.
- Human Tissue Authority has info on donating your body, tissues, bone marrow and blood. Cadavers are essential to cure disease. This includes healthy tissue (someone examining Parkinson’s needs a healthy brain to compare).
- Boffins can join other boffins at VERO (Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford). This is one of the main voices against experiments being carried out in universities (including Open University). Run by academics, who know their science.
- Human Relevant Science has an all-party group of MPs interested in replacing animals with modern human-based methods. Ask your MP if he or she is a member. And if not, why not?
- Project R & R campaigns among other things to have elderly chimps and apes released from labs in the US, where some have been incarcerated for decades, having been kidnapped from the wild. Among them is 60-year Wenka, has been at the lab since the age of 3, and has been used for alcohol and oral contraceptive studies (and has now been used on studies for ageing). Image: Save the Chimps
Could Vaccines Have Been Quicker?
Here is some food for thought. If humane research is kinder, quicker, more effective and cheaper, why did the big medical research institutions still model on animals to find a vaccine? We do not yet know for sure how the virus started, but many believe that people eating wild animals has created zoonotic diseases (where virus transfer from species to another). So considering all the previous horror stories of animal lab tests going wrong, not one person in the media has questioned why we modelled the ‘cure’ on the same premise.
If humane research works better for finding cures to illness, it would make sense that now was the time to test this theory on the greater general public. Senior research scientist Dr Jarrod Bailey writes that considering the trials have gone straight to humans in some cases, this proves that animals are not needed.
Animal Free Research UK worked on a COVID-19 test (which unlike the present ones) was kind and humane to all species. But unlike the big charities, it received little publicity and fewer donations. By using human tissue samples, Lorna and her team also made the research more relevant to humans, as they can detected the exact number of copies of active viral particles in a sample. Who knows if the vaccine could have arrived quicker, if government had supported them too?
What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit to their cruelty. Leo Tolstoy
Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character. George Bernard Shaw
Beagle Freedom Project is a US charity that campaigns against vivisection. It also takes beagles that have spent their entire lives in vivisection labs (due to be killed) and finds loving homes for them.