In 1979, the National Anti-Vivisection Society of the UK (NAVS) established World Day for Laboratory Animals on April 24th – the birthday of Air Chief Marshal the Lord Dowding – a past president of the NAVS who used his voice in the House of Lords to speak many times and with great passion about the suffering of animals in laboratories. This international day of commemoration was listed and recognised at the United Nations, and is now marked annually, on every continent, by those campaigning against the use of animals in research and for replacement of animals with advanced, scientific techniques.
Animal research technology is over 100 years old and needs to be replaced. The Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research (LDF) was founded in 1973 as part of a positive strategy to move forward the issue – specifically to fund advanced methods to replace the use of animals and encourage other sources of research information. Now, the majority of scientific and medical research uses advanced data banks and technologies to replace animals because they are faster, cheaper and importantly, more relevant to humans.
The little brown dog
On December 12th, 1985 the NAVS erected a statue of a little brown dog in Battersea Park, London, to commemorate the suffering of millions of laboratory animals worldwide, but also to ensure that the suffering of one dog is never forgotten. This was not the first such statue, but bears the same inscription as the original, removed in 1910. The issue of the brown dog was a key feature in the first undercover investigation of animal experiments by anti-vivisectionists, and the subject of the 1903 Bayliss-Coleridge libel case – Dr Bayliss of London University versus the Honorary Secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society.
Read the story of the little brown dog here