April 24 is World Day for Animals in Laboratories, an international day to commemorate the millions of mice, chimpanzees, rats, rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, birds, and other animals tortured in needless experiments. It’s also a day to take action, with rallies and marches held around the world, including this one in Nottingham, England.
But even if you are not able to participate in an organized event, there’s still plenty you can do!
You can start by asking Air France and ABX Air to stop shipping monkeys for animal research. Just last month, China Southern Airlines ceased its shipments of live primates to laboratories, thanks in large part to public outcry, so these campaigns do work!
You can also voice your objection to your tax dollars being used to fund torture. If you live in the United States, tell Congress you don’t want your taxes used to underwrite animal experiments. Every dollar the US government spends must be approved by Congress, and since virtually all federally funded research is paid for with tax revenue, it’s important to let your elected officials know how you feel. You can find the members of Congress representing you, as well as phone numbers and links to contact them online, at http://www.contactingthecongress.org.
In addition, you can write to research-funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health:
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, Director
National Institutes of Health
Shannon Bldg., Room 126
1 Center Dr.
Bethesda, MD 20892
You can Tweet the director @NIHDirector
In the United Kingdom, you can write to the Home Secretary and ask for the most progressive and compassionate laws governing animal research. You’ll find contact details at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk. You can also use the website of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection to lobby your MP. Visit http://www.buav.org/lobby-your-mp
In Canada, let your Member of Parliament (MP) and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) know how you feel. Find your MP online at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC. You can find your MLA at www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm
In Australia, you can find your federal electorate here: http://apps.aec.gov.au/esearch/
MPs in New Zealand can be found here: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/AboutParl/GetInvolved/Contact/2/9/d/00PlibHvYrSayContact1-Contact-an-MP.htm
South African Members of Parliament can be located online at http://www.parliament.gov.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=36
When writing letters, be sure to make the following two points:
- Animal experimentation is an inherently violent and unethical practice, and you do not want your tax dollars used to support it.
- Testing on nonhuman animals is also bad science; therefore, funding for research into health and ecological effects should be redirected into using clinical, epidemiological, in vitro, and computer-modeling studies instead of laboratory experiments on animals. (See this handbook from Animal Aid for more information on this point.)
In the US, animals also suffer for the “safety” testing of household products, such as cosmetics, cleansers, and even foods for companion animals.
- Only buy products from companies that don’t test on animals! A comprehensive list is available at http://www.leapingbunny.org.
- Encourage your friends and family members to support humane companies as well.
- Let companies currently testing cosmetics on animals know that you will not buy their products until they stop. Most companies have toll-free numbers or websites you can use to contact them.
- Avoid pet foods that test on animals, including Iams, Eukanuba, and Natura Pet Products (owned by Procter & Gamble); Hill’s Science Diet (owned by Colgate-Palmolive); Nestlé Purina/Friskies (Alpo, Bonio, Felix, Go Cat, Gourmet, Omega Complete, Proplan, Spillers, Vital Balance, and Winalot); and these brands from Pedigree/Masterfoods (owned by Mars Inc): Bounce, Cesar, Chappie, Frolic, James Wellbeloved, Katkins, Kitekat, Pal, Pedigree Chum, Royal Canin, Sheba, Techni-cal, and Whiskas. For information on pet food companies that do not test on animals, please visit: www.iamscruelty.com/nottested.asp
Other campaigns and groups worth checking out include AAVS, Animals Australia, The Bunny Alliance, BUAV, The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Humane Research Australia, The Italian Anti-Vivisection Society, NAVS, New England Anti-Vivisection Society, The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, PETA, SAFE New Zealand, and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty.
P.S. I devote Chapter 3 of my new book Bleating Hearts to vivisection—it’s a chapter that took me a year to research and write. You can download the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes, or buy a hardcopy from your local bookstore.Follow @markhawthorne