Advocates for Animals

Advocates for Animals, formerly known as the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection, is an animal rights organization which campaigns against all animal use including farming, the fur trade, bloodsports, captive and performing animals, and the use of animals in research. [ [ Intute Health and Life Sciences] . Retrieved 14 December, 2006.]


Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Advocates for Animals in its current form was established in 1990. The organisation was previously known as the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Vivisection, which was founded in 1911 by Nina Douglas-Hamilton, wife of the 13th Duke of Hamilton. The current, 15th Duke and Duchess remain active in the organisation. Catherine Lyst. [ A noble fight for animal rights] . "BBC News", 23 January, 2006. Retrieved 14 December, 2006.] The group is run by successive directors, Les Ward and, currently, Ross Minett. [ Advocates for Animals:About Us] . Retrieved 14 December, 2006.]


Advocates for Animals "promotes the protection of animals through investigations, high profile [news media] campaigns, political lobbying and public education." They maintain a large media database of animal-related images and videos, provide spokespeople for comments and quotes on animal-related issues, aim to be a research hub for issues surrounding animal welfare, and promote animal-friendly lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism. [ [ Advocates for Animals:Press Office] . Retrieved 14 December, 2006.]

In 2006 the group criticised the Scottish Executive for "putting out a mixed message" on livestock management techniques. A spokesperson for Advocates for Animals described techniques such as castration, branding and declawing as "painful mutilations" and urged the Executive to review whether these should be permitted. Fordyce Maxwell. [ Mutilation or just management?] "The Scotsman", 7 December, 2006. Retrieved 14 December, 2006. ] Earlier that month, Advocates for Animals had called for the Duke of Argyll and Chivas Regal to end their involvement with the annual World Elephant Polo Tournament, a sport they described as "exploiting animals." Chivas defended their sponsorship of the event, arguing the elephants "are well treated and have responsible owners." [ Call to end elephant polo links] . "BBC News", 2 December, 2006. Retrieved 14 December, 2006.]

Moderate stance

Advocates for Animals adopts a pragmatic stance on animal welfare issues, choosing to engage with legislators and those involved in animal experimentation to further their cause. They were one of a few anti-vivisection groups to contribute to the formation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Former director, Lew Ward described it as "one of the better laws" in comparison to other countries' legislation, while acknowledging that "most scientists in the UK, were they not to have the protection of the 1986 Act, would find themselves in a court of law for cruelty to animals." [ Minutes of Evidence, Question 1384] . "Select Committee on Animals In Scientific Procedures", March 12, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2006. ] Ward also served on the Animal Procedures Committee, a statutory requirement of the act.

In 1991 the group released a critique of primate experiments in the UK, leading to the laboratories mentioned in the report being firebombed by extreme animal liberationists. In response the group restricted the release of a follow up report in 1992, urging editors to use "discretion by not identifying the laboratories or scientists concerned." [ Animal campaigners pinpoint 'trivial experiments'] . "New Scientist", Issue 1807, Feruary 8, 1992. Retrieved December 12, 2006. ]

In 1992, after a television debate, Advocates for Animals' director Les Ward and Colin Blakemore, a strong advocate of animal experimentation, formed the Boyd Group a bipartisan forum to discuss issues relating to animal experimentation. Kenneth Boyd. [ Bringing both sides together.] "Camb Q Healthc Ethics". 1999; 8:43-5. PMID 9924617 ] Advocates for Animals claims this approach led to a joint effort by the scientific and animal welfare communities to ban the testing of cosmetics of animals. [ Minutes of Evidence, Question 1384] . "Select Committee on Animals In Scientific Procedures", March 12, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2006. ]

The group's moderate stance has drawn criticism from within the animal rights community. The National Anti-Vivisection Society described the Boyd Group as a "public relations exercise" [ Minutes of Evidence, Question 1362] . "Select Committee on Animals In Scientific Procedures", March 12, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2006. ] and British Anti-Vivisection Association described Ward's engagement with Blakemore as "trading the very premise by which the genuine [anti-vivisection] movement exists, in return for an end to cosmetic testing." [ The Enemy Within] . "The New Abolitionist", Summer 1997, No. 11. Retrieved December 12, 2006. ] Ward justified his position, telling "Nature", "I want to see the total end of animal experimentation, but I am not stupid enough to think that it is going to happen overnight." Emma Marris. [ Animal research: Grey Matters] . "Nature", 13 December, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2006. ]

Ward has since withdrawn from the Boyd Group, believing it had become "stalemated", but in 2006 continued to defend its usefulness, calling it "one of the few places where moderate activists and moderate scientists sat down and talked things over."

Jane Goodall

The primatologist, Jane Goodall was the president of Advocates for Animals from 1998 until 2008. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, [ Defending captivity.] "Science", Vol. 320. no. 5881, p. 1269, June 6, 2008. Retrieved 18 July 18, 2008.] In May of that year, she described Edinburgh Zoo's new primate enclosure as a "wonderful facility" where monkeys are "are probably better off [than] living in the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially." Mike Wade, [ Zoos are best hope, says Jane Goodall.] "The Times", May 20, 2008. Retrieved 18 July 18, 2008.] This is in conflict with Advocates for Animals' position on captive animals, who stated "She's entitled to her opinion, but our position isn't going to change. We oppose the keeping of animals in captivity for entertainment." Tim Walker, [ Is Jane Goodall about to lose her post?] , "The Daily Telegraph", May 23, 2008. Retrieved 18 July 18, 2008.] In June 2008 Goodall confirmed that she had resigned the presidency of the organisation, citing her busy schedule and explaining, "I just don't have time for them."


Advocates for Animals have published papers on a wide variety of animal-related topics, [ [ Articles Database] . Retrieved 14 December, 2006.] including:
*Sheep welfare in Scotland (2004)
*An inquiry into the welfare of ducks and geese kept for the production of "foie gras" (2000)
*A report on the use of electric shock collars for dogs (2006)
*A report examining pedigree breeding (2006)
*A report which summarises the scientific evidence on the tail docking of dogs and supports Advocates for Animals' call for legislation to end this practice in Scotland (2005)
*An investigation into Glasgow Zoo (2002)
*A report that looks at a wide range of scientific research about cephalopods and decapod crustaceans' potential to experience pain and suffering (2005)


External links

* [ Advocates for Animals]

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