∑ TACTICS - WHAT YOU CAN DO
Successes in AV, such as the outlawing of vivisection in the Italian province of Bolzano in 1985 or the closure of Consort breeding establishment in 1998, have been achieved by small groups of dedicated, well-informed people, without great financial backing, nor even any moral support from the rich, established societies. Unprecedented media coverage was obtained by small, sometimes new, grass-roots groups, as distinguished from the large established societies, which, however, always manage to cash in on the publicity produced by the grass roots activists. The small new groups of activists could surely achieve more if they had more money, but a wealthy grass-roots organisation is a contradiction in terms.
The big money of the societies comes from legacies, and it is understandable that men and women making out their wills wonít legate their will to small, young groups that might be her today and gone tomorrow, but will prefer old, established organisations with lots of by-laws, big councils and a long tradition. The older and richer a society, the more likely it is to become corrupted.
However , there are now many well-informed grass-roots groups everywhere, too small to be infiltrated, moving independently towards one and the same goal, letting the big societies trundle on towards the dinosaursí cemetery, their directors having invested their big moneys, accumulated from legacies, in interest-bearing stocks and dividend-paying shares with which to ensure the continuation of lavish salaries and expensive offices, while the animals invoke the release of death in their straining devices.
Whoever wants to leave money after their demise, should leave it to the grass -roots groups of the moment, with the proviso that it must all be spent within one year in bringing the errors and horrors, the futility and damage of vivisection to public notice, with large advertisements in the press, the distribution of pertinent works by AV scientists and MDs, the projection of films and the like; and for no other purpose. And if you donít want to wait for you own demise, then do your own advertising in the big press while still alive. In other words, do exactly that which the big societies fail to do, and what they advise you not to do.
The US group The Nature of Wellness/SUPRESS, the Campaign Against Fraudulent Animal Research and BAVA agree that the only way vivisection will ever end will be when enough informed people demand that changes are made. This can only happen when enough people are convinced as to the total absurdity and dangers of basing human medicine on animal experimentation.
So far a multi-billion pound industry depending on vivisectionís continuation has funded a massive and totally one-sided propaganda campaign in its attempt at convincing the public that vivisection is essential for human health. This is changing but the following tactics need to be stepped up:-.
∑ The staging of demos
∑ Acts of civil disobedience/direct action
∑ Holding press conferences
∑ Using stockholder resolutions
∑ Introducing legislation
∑ Lobbying - the basic requirement of successful lobbying is to muster sufficient support from different factions to make governments and Parliament take notice
∑ Conducting PUBLIC EDUCATION - stressing the medical and scientific reasons for abolition. HUMAN HEALTH is at stake. Medical research is the central issue of vivisection. It accounts for over 90% of all experiments, and is literally the root of this evil. Whilst significant, emphasis on cosmetics testing (about 1% of all testing) is totally disproportionate and diverts attention from the central issue. Students especially should know the facts about vivisection. A new generation of well-informed scientists and doctors will change archaic attitudes to dissection, research and medical practices. It is a fact that the government will only listen if massive public pressure is brought to bear.
∑ Making the public aware of the links and associations of MPs to the pharmaceutical industry, etc.
∑ Letter writing & E-mail (A LIFELINE BETWEEN ACTIVISTS)
∑ Becoming Internet-based - a great campaigning tool
∑ Campaigns/Boycotts directed at the media (bias, misinformation, omissions) legislators, hospitals, universities, companies and individuals that are the targets of protest
Working with a wide range of sympathetic organisations in order to turn public concern for animals and humans into concrete political action
∑ Checking out the backgrounds of speakers, societies and "independentí bodies - their affiliations, links, investments, funders - be aware of the illicit liaison between large corporations, career academics and journalists
On a personal level:-
∑ Support alternative/natural medicine, holistic therapies; practise preventive medicine
∑ Adopt a vegan diet for yourself and your pets (cats need a supplement)
∑ Encourage cruelty-free companies and those which invest ethically
∑ Shop & invest ethically eg does your bank support companies involved with vivisection ( eg Nat West and Huntingdon Life Sciences)
∑ Support vegan -organic farming practices/lobby for clean air, food, water
∑ Withdraw support from charities which support vivisection and say WHY. (check them out - the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, for example, finance animal experiments; the RSPCA used to own shares in Glaxo)
∑ Use natural cleaning products, eg lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar
∑ Be well-armed with facts and information about vivisection
∑ Be suspicious of AV individuals/groups who state that vivisection is/may have been useful/is still needed or who argue the moral/cruelty/welfare aspects only, whether intentionally or through ignorance. Who are their paymasters/sponsors? Be aware that the pro-vivisectionists are wealth and highly - organised. They have deliberately fostered dissension amongst AVs and have committed acts with the intention of discrediting AV/AR activists in the eyes of the public.
∑ Accept that everyone has their part to play and that how to achieve the total abolition of vivisection will vary from person to person. What is certain is that over one hundred years of arguing the moral case has led nowhere. The three Rs approach - reduction in the numbers of animals used, refinement of experiments to cause less pain and finding replacement techniques will ensure vivisectionís continuation, apart from suggesting that it is a valid methodology. The welfare of lab animals is important but legislation has not secured better conditions for many of them. Improving conditions poses no threat for vivisectors. Individual animals need help whilst legislation is being prepared but AVs must be united about the ultimate goal - total abolition. The gradualist approach will lead nowhere. Social and economic arguments in favour of vivisection are not valid. The western world did not collapse when slavery was abolished, yet it had been formerly deemed indispensible. There will only be a public outcry, and consequently the demise of vivisection, when the connection is made between medical disasters, deteriorating public and planetary health, no cures for major diseases and animal experimentation; when the public realise their taxes and donations are being squandered.
NOBODY EVER MADE A GREATER MISTAKE THAN HE WHO DID NOTHING BECAUSE HE COULD ONLY DO A LITTLE
Whatever your views about direct action groups like the ALF, there is no doubt that their actions, along with undercover investigations into labs, have brought vivisection into the public eye, whereas once it was totally hidden. Whether the public are sympathetic or not, the fact is that high security costs and the fears of employees and local residents make it more and more difficult for them to carry on operating. It has been as a result of their actions and not legislation if conditions have improved. The horrors would have remained hidden forever. Historically, advancements have often been made because , having found all legal channels closed to them, activists have had to resort to violence, for example the suffragettes and the former Ďterroristí Nelson Mandela. "Laws should be challenged or changed when they are seen to violate more general humane principles. When the government consistently violates humane principles one has the right of revolution, because the government has broken the social contract."
(Prof. Lawrence Kohlberg "Moral Reasoning. The Value of Life." 1972)
Pro-vivisectionists think AVs should refuse medical treatments developed or tested on animals, for example, blood transfusions, anaesthesia, pain killers, etc., deliberately ignoring the fact that AVs are not against medical progress, making it an animal rights issue and perpetuating myths about major medical discoveries. From a political aspect, we are denied the right to choose treatments on the NHS (UK) which have not been tested on animals.
Just because vivisection has been a tradition for over 150 years, it does not prove that animal experiments were the real key to the most important discoveries, as pro-vivisectionists would have us believe. There is no proof that they were either vital or irreplaceable, nor that medical progress will be held up by their abandonment. "Vivisectors admit animal experimentation is uncertain, but it gives an indication that one is on the right track., which makes it worthwhile continuing in the same direction. Incomplete information can be useful provided it is correct. If the vivisectionist method of research gave incomplete but correct indications it might be of some use. It is useless and misleading because it provides only accidentally indications which coincide with the right direction, without the researcher having any way of forseeing whether a fortunate coincidence can be verified or not." (Vivisection or Science" Prof. Pietro Croce, M.D. ). Hence the increasing number of medical disasters and iatrogenic illnesses and failure to find cures, just as in the past animal experimentation delayed progress. For example, digitalis was considered dangerous because, tried out on dogs, it raised their blood pressure. Thus the use of this drug, so useful in treating some cardiopathies, was delayed at least a decade. How many potentially valuable and safe drugs have been discarded because they were harmful to certain species of animal? Conversely, all the drugs which have had disastrous effects, such as thalidomide, had been extensively tested on animals.
All animals are different, even within a species, so it is impossible to extrapolate information from one species to another. Artificially -induced diseases are not the same as those which occur spontaneously. Laboratory conditions and pathogen -free animals combine to produce variable and unreliable results.
No artificial , violent interventions on healthy animals to inflict maladies and mutilations and to desensitize the students should be carried out. Only careful study and sympathetic treatment of spontaneous diseases and natural accidents will produce useful and relevant results.