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COVID-19 Crisis Unites Groups Against Animal Testing

This week has seen anti-vivisection groups around the globe unite for a common cause. Ordinarily, these groups campaign against animal testing, but this week they are doing something new: supporting the many scientists who are fighting COVID-19 without using animals.

These advocacy organisations hope to be a positive force during the current crisis and have dedicated this week – which is World Week for Animals in Laboratories - to thank the scientists who are working hard to combat COVID-19 without using animals. Local efforts are being headed up by the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS).

Along with NZAVS, the global coalition consists of the Animal Justice Project (U.K.), Humane Research Australia and In Defense of Animals (U.S.).

“One of the roles of advocacy groups like ours is being the light in the darkness in times like this,” said Tara Jackson, Executive Director of the New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS). “We are hoping to shine a light on these amazing scientists who are pushing the frontiers of science without using animals.”

To date, over 12,000 people from over 20 different countries have sent their support to the scientists conducting research into COVID-19 without the use of animals.

Jackson said the campaign has felt positive to run, but there is more to it than just feeling good.

“We are thrilled that so many people are feeling positive about this campaign, but there is more to it than that. We are sending a message to other scientists that there is real support out there for these more modern methods,” said Jackson.

The institutions being thanked include Epithelix, MatTex Life Science, Immundnz, STEMCELL Technologies, IIVS, Yumab and InSphero. Their work includes projects like three-dimensional human respiratory tissue models and human liver models.

“It's really important that we use modernised, alternative research methods in order to be able to develop vaccinations and other medicines as efficiently and as accurately as possible,” said Prof. Andrew Knight, who is backing the call for ethical research.

The groups in the coalition are asking people to join their Facebook event and sign the digital thank-you to scientists, which will be delivered at the end of the campaign.

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