World Day for Laboratory Animals, is an annual global observance held on April 24 each year. It was established in 1979 by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) based in the United Kingdom. The day is to awaken the conscience of humanity in all parts of the world to the iniquity of procedures causing suffering or distress to living creatures and the breeding and supply of animals for such research purposes; to persuade regulators and legislators to adopt non-animal research methods and to end the use of animals in research. On this day, the suffering of millions of animals all over the world who are trapped in laboratories is commemorated.
This is a big issue for all Australians. According to statistics from Humane Research Australia for 2014, “the approximate total number of animals used in laboratory testing in Australia was over 6.99 million.” In regards to the 4 states that reported for 2014 6,613 dogs were used in experiments. Sadly, 26,397 animals (or 0.51% of all animals used in research) were in the ‘Death as end point’ category. The aim of these types of experiments require the animal(s) to die unassisted, i.e. not euthanased, as death is ‘a critical measure of the experimental treatment’. For example, toxicological experiments such as the LD50 test, in which animals are forced to ingest, inhale, be exposed to, or be injected with a particular substance up until the point where 50% of the animals die. The test is generally conducted without anesthesia or pain relief due to concern that they would alter test results. (Humane Research Australia:
In the face of such overwhelmingly devastating research statistics, the Welfare Committee decided to shine a light on lab testing, by combining our usual monthly social walk with an evening of awareness and observance. On Saturday 23rd April, 124 Queensland beagles made their way, with owners in tow, to Southbank to walk in solidarity and raise awareness against lab testing. Thanks to the support of the merchandise committee our beagles and their human friends were able to glow up and make a statement against the cruelty of animal testing.
At the event, the Welfare Committee was run off their feet with questions and conversations with club members and the general public – many of whom saw our beautiful beagles and wanted to come over and find out more. People were disturbed about the information – many not knowing that Australian animals like beagles, greyhounds, marmosets, mice, cats and many other species are testing on and killed each week.
These conversations while unpleasant and devastating are necessary if we are to mobilise our voting public to fight for change. Members of the Club had the opportunity to take home a bookmark designed by young club member Grace Borrello to keep this issue at the forefront of our minds as we go to the shops week to week in our quest to purchase CCF products – a stand we can make every time we go to the grocery store. $350 was also raised by our generous Club members to be donated to Beagle Freedom Project Australia who are fighting to free beagles from labs around Australia on the evening.
Our beagles of course were the best advocates in the battle against lab testing and it was great to walk in solidarity for many unfortunate beagles trapped behind cages. Our glowed up beagles were a great source of support for this cause and it was amazing to see devoted protesters stay behind after the Club walk had concluded to continue to raise awareness. We look forward to continuing this event year to year and advocating for animal rights into the future. If you are keen to help in any way or have ideas on further ways we can fight for change, please consider joining our Committee. Thank you to all those who SHONE THE LIGHT!