Founded in 1929, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is an educational organization whose ultimate goal is the elimination of animal use in product testing, education and biomedical research. For more than 80 years, we have sought to identify the cruelty and waste of vivisection and to convince the general public to work actively for its ultimate abolition. We strive to educate researchers, physicians, manufacturers, teachers and government leaders in the discovery of new, humane methods that will save millions of animals each year and still give our children a safer, healthier and happier future.
Driven by our mission statement, our efforts are focused in the following areas:
- Public Awareness
- Student/Teacher Outreach
- Legal/Legislative Issues
- Science Programs
- Special Initiatives/Cooperative Efforts
What is Vivisection?
Vivisection is the practice of cutting into or using invasive techniques on live animals or dissecting the bodies of animals. Anti-vivisectionists are people who oppose these practices for ethical and scientific reasons.
What Do We Believe?
Anti-vivisectionists oppose animal experimentation for many reasons. First, we believe that it is inhumane to confine animals in an artificial environment, which deprives them of experiencing the ecological niche nature intended for them. These animals may be subjected to extreme pain, deprivation and distress, and their lives of agony often end in a premature and horrible death. Equally important, however, is the undeniable fact that as a scientific methodology, animal experimentation is often invalid and misleading.
Years of research have shown that imposing disease symptoms in an animal during an artificially controlled laboratory experiment cannot adequately predict or duplicate human disease. What's more, basic physiological, metabolic and chemical differences among human and nonhuman animals often produce conflicting results.
Animal experiments also waste money and resources. Although the U.S. government spends billions of dollars a year on animal research, studies show that medical intervention has contributed little to the longer, healthier lives Americans now enjoy. Such wasteful practices often sidetrack meaningful scientific progress, which can help more people.
When Vivisection Began
Animals have been used as surrogates in the study of human biology since earliest times. The practice of vivisection can be traced to ancient Greece, when physicians and philosophers curious about the inner workings of the human body cut open live dogs tied to wooden boards. In the mid-1700s, the effects of gases on research animals were first recorded. By 1918, scientists had developed methods for exposing animals to other chemicals. In the years following World War II, animal experimentation increased dramatically, as government funds for medical research became more available.
Today, as many as 100 million creatures a year may be used in federally and privately funded experiments. While an estimated 90 percent of all animals used in research are rats and mice, many other species are also used, including guinea pigs, dogs, cats, rabbits, nonhuman primates, farm animals and even humans.
Where It Happens
Animals are used as tools for research and education in product testing laboratories, medical facilities and classrooms all over the country. Despite the intent of the National Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, these animals are often kept in substandard conditions.
Countless living creatures suffer and die each year to determine the safety of consumer products, to seek treatments and cures for human illness, and in an attempt to teach students about human biology. All of these are noble goals, but the disturbing truth is that these innocent creatures are sacrificed needlessly because there are other scientifically valid and far more compassionate ways to ensure public safety, further medical progress and educate our children.
Why We Need You
Those of us who work to end animal experimentation are part of a large, fast-growing animal advocacy movement that seeks to end all forms of animal abuse.
We are committed to change, but change can only take place with the support of people like you, who have the courage and compassion to stand with us in the struggle to create a better future for all animals.
You can help the animals by learning more about the issues and sharing your thoughts with your family and friends. As the saying goes, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step."