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Gravediggers and scholars: campaigning to end animal experimentation
 

Gravediggers and scholars: campaigning to end animal experimentation

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The increasingly militant tactics of grassroots animal rights activists that have made headlines in recent years include protracted protests, home demonstrations, staff harassment, laboratory raids, ...

The increasingly militant tactics of grassroots animal rights activists that have made headlines in recent years include protracted protests, home demonstrations, staff harassment, laboratory raids, animal rescues, property destruction including vandalism and arson, threatening behaviour and even grave robbing. Yet are these the most intelligent and productive strategies for ending animal experimentation?

While some undoubtedly increase opposition to animal experimentation, others seem to be achieving the opposite effect, at least in the UK and US. As long as governments, scientists and the public believe animal experimentation remains essential to the advancement of human health, it is destined to continue, through direct government intervention where considered necessary, or translocations to developing countries in which animal protection is minimal.

Truly ending animal experimentation requires awareness by governments, ethics committee members, scientists and the public of the poor human clinical and toxicological predictivity and utility of animal experiments, and of their burdensome cost:benefit ratio when compared to other means of protecting and advancing human health. A range of strategies to advance these goals could be employed by scientific, economic, student and public activists. Such intelligent, strategic activism would significantly speed up the abolition of animal experimentation, yet is rarely pursued by the animal protection movement as a whole. The abolition of animal experimentation is likely to take a very long time at best, without such fundamental changes in strategy.

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    Gravediggers and scholars: campaigning to end animal experimentation Gravediggers and scholars: campaigning to end animal experimentation Presentation Transcript

    • Animal Experimentation Campaigns   ANDREW KNIGHT DipECAWBM (WSEL), PhD, MRCVS, FOCAE
    • Overview Militant and direct activism Requirements for ending animal experimentation Scientific activism Student activism Public activism Conclusion
    • Militant & direct activismTactics Protests, sometimes persistent and protracted Home demonstrations and staff harassment Laboratory raids and animal rescues Property destruction: vandalism, arson, (sinking whaling ships !) Threatening behaviour, e.g. pipe bombs (!?!)Benefits Animals rescued Video/camera footage gained Laboratories and breeding facilities closed due to staff harassment  and economic damage
    • Costs Loss of media support Loss of public goodwill ‘Terrorist’ characterisation by the biomedical research industry Hardening of governmental positions in support of animal  experimentation Repression of activists
    • “Firebombs detonated on a porch and in a home belonging toUniversity of California at Santa Cruz researchers in the earlymorning of August 2, 2008 are believed to have given a big late-in-session boost to… a bill which would allow universities to withholdthe names of animal researchers from public documents.…[This bill] is in some respects a state version of the federal AnimalEnterprise Terrorism Act…” - Clifton M. Animal People, 2008
    • “[The bill] would restrict access to information about animalresearch at both public institutions and private companies receivingpublic funding.” - Dr Elliot Katz, Founder, In Defense of Animals“Such actions put people in danger, and do nothing to help animals,or further our cause; indeed, they are counter-productive, …”“The Santa Cruz firebombings, like several others in the pastseveral years, imminently preceded the sentencing of a prominentdirect action advocate. Tre Arrow, 34,…, on August 12, 2008 drew78 months in federal prison and a restitution order for a series ofarsons committed in the name of the Earth Liberation Front…” - Eric Mills, Founder, Action for Animals
    • Animal experimentation will continue, as long as:A majority of (i) the government (ii) scientists and (iii) the public believe it is necessary to protect and advance human health, (and (iv), a sizeable industry is economically reliant on it).Mechanisms Direct government intervention  Translocation to countries where animal protection is minimal
    • Requirements for ending animal experimentation  Awareness  by  governments,  ethics  committee  members,  scientists  and  the  public  of  the  poor  human  clinical  and  toxicological  predictivity and utility of animal models Awareness  of  the  poor  cost/benefit  ratio  of  animal  experimentation  cf. other mechanisms for protecting and advancing human health Awareness of the ethical case against animal experimentation (?)  Resultant  public  support  for  restrictions/bans  on  animal  experimentation Resultant legislative restrictions/bans on animal experimentation Finally… outreach to other countries
    • Some different types of activism  Scientific activism  Student activism  Public activism
    • Scientific activism Studies: publication in scientific journals Studies: presentations at scientific conferences E.g.  systematic  reviews  demonstrating  the  poor  human  clinical  or  toxicological  utility  of  animal  experiments  (around  93%  demonstrate poor utility) Outreaching summaries Scientific and popular media Popular conferences & presentations Legislators Ethics committees Maximising impact requires the active participation of the  animal protection movement
    • Student activism: campaigns for humane teaching methods Importance  directly saves animal lives  allows compassionate students to graduate  increases pool of scientists knowledgeable about and  sympathetic towards alternatives  winnable! Many student successes internationally  Secrets of student success: high motivation and  campaigns based on student, rather than animal, rights
    • Inspiring student campaigns Provide students with information about humane  Provide students with  alternatives Inspire them to conscientiously object Guide them in the steps needed to maximize their  Guide them in the  chances of success Provide them with the resources they need to win! Provide them with the  Outreach: biomedical student noticeboards, student  magazines, animal protection newsletters, websites,  presentations, essay competitions.
    • Key resources Knight. ALTEX Proc 2012.
    • www.InterNICHE.org
    • www.apehperu.com
    • Public activism Goals: educating legislators, scientists, the media, and  the public about the scientific and ethical case against  animal experimentation Forwarding existing scientific studies or abstracts/shorter articles Publishing own letters/articles Speaking or arranging speaking opportunities/debates for experts Seeking media attention through tactics designed to generate both  awareness and support:  Laboratory raids/undercover investigations to rescue animals  and gain footage of laboratory conditions  Graphic stunts: occupations, sit-ins, die-ins, pie-throwing, etc!
    • ConclusionThere is a great deal of intelligent, strategic activismwhich is not undertaken by the animal protectionmovement, although it is well within our ability. Suchactivism would significantly speed up the abolition ofanimal experimentation, which will otherwise take a verylong time.
    • Evidence-based websiteswww.AnimalExperiments.info:  Peer-reviewed  studies  of  human predictivity/utility, governmental reports, reviews of alternative strategies.www.HumaneLearning.info:  Over  over  400  published  studies  of  harmful animal  use  and  humane  alternatives,  in  various  educational  disciplines.  www.eurca.org: The European Resource Centre for Alternatives in Higher Education  Database:  over  70  high  quality  educational  alternatives,  most with commissioned reviews by professional educators.www.InterNICHE.org:  The  InterNICHE  Studies  Database  provides references,  abstracts  and  other  details  for  over  750  published  studies describing  humane  teaching  methods,  searchable  by  discipline,  author and keyword.