We’re often taught to believe that the people who conduct animal experiments enjoy hurting animals and that they don't care about science or viable results. It's easy to keep this narrative playing in your mind when you’re unable to talk to anyone from within the industry.
But an important part about solving a problem is to properly understand it first! So, to do our job and end animal experimentation as soon as possible, we need to know everything about this issue. This includes having factual information about the people who use animals for science.
Over the years, we’ve met with many key stakeholders, including people who have conducted animal experiments. Some of them were hard to hear about (obviously – we’re a vegan animal advocacy charity), but what we’ve discovered has completely shifted how we view members of the animal science and research community.
The people we’ve met are reasonable; they have their own justifications for conducting research and experiments on animals. We don’t agree with these justifications, but they can be acknowledged and discussed openly. The key thing is that no one we’ve met has wanted to be involved in research because they want to hurt animals.
In fact, the sentence we hear a lot is, “We don’t want to use animals in experiments.” Understanding the motives and beliefs of people from “both sides” is crucial, and the only way we can do that properly is by communicating in an open and honest way.
NZAVS isn’t a business; it’s a charity that will only exist for as long as it’s needed. Therefore, we must use our time and other resources as wisely as possible to create change as efficiently as possible.
This means avoiding the ongoing ‘tug-o-war’ between animal advocacy groups and the scientific community as much as possible. Time has shown us that this doesn’t work.
At NZAVS, we’re open to working with anyone if it means that we can have a positive impact for animals.
However, true collaboration does require genuine trust and intent to change.
There’s one institute in NZ that we have essentially hit too many brick walls with, and the space for working collaboratively has been lost. All you have to do is look at our popular 12 Days of Christmas campaign for a really clear example. However, we are still open to working with this institute if we can see that they genuinely want to work towards common goals.
We’re in a position that we’ve never been in before – we’re having behind-the-scenes, confidential conversations with key stakeholders where we share perspectives and goals and brainstorm ways that we can make progress for animals together.
For those reasons, we’re anticipating many great changes on the horizon that will prove our theory of change – that we can work together for a better future for animals used in science!
We can look at things a little differently – instead of ‘us vs them’, it’s two communities who, in some ways, want the same things: for science and human health to thrive without harming animals.