Research without Animals

Any experiment carried out on animals is vivisection as, by law, animals are defined as such only when used alive. Therefore, although not all in vivo tests involve dissection, they are however all cruel and invasive. Hence, the term vivisection is more effective than the generic term "animal testing".

Animal testing is being performed because of obsolete legislation and of immense economic interests. No living species can be an experimental model for other species by reason of the enormous genetic, anatomical, biological, metabolic, psychological, ethological differences which exist between them. Furthermore, "laboratory" animals are often the product of genetic manipulations which make them even more dissimilar to their fellow wild creatures. Diseases induced on animals for experimental purposes are also different from those which have a natural onset.

Since its foundation, LAV has fought to raise public awareness not only for  ethical reasons but also based on a scientific approach; in fact an increasing number of critical analyses of the relevance of animal studies to human biology indicate that animals aren’t good models for research and that animal data does not translate well to progress in clinical practice for humans. In fact, animal models have an extremely low predictivity, so much so that in 81% of the cases they fail to detect severe side effects of drugs and that 95% of drugs successfully tested on animals do not pass tests on humans (FDA data).

Since 1993, we have guaranteed the right to conscientious objection to animal testing to students and researchers: Italy is the only country in the world to do so.

We were in the front line for the approval of Legislative Decree no. 26/2014 on animal testing entered into force on 29 March 2014, implementing European Directive 63/2010,  to obtain stricter rules in Italy compared to the Community text, banning:

  • the rearing of dogs, cats and primates for the purpose of vivisection;
  • the use of great apes, stray dogs and cats and animals made aphonic;
  • war tests; 
  • animal testing for teaching purposes, except from veterinary medicine university courses;
  • drugs, alcohol and tobacco tests and tests for the transplantation of organs between different species (since 1 January 2017);
  • the reuse of animals in experiments with level of pain classified as severe (since 1 January 2017).

Moreover, alternative/substitute methods to vivisection will finally be promoted and adopted, thanks to a Fund specifically dedicated to their development.

We have reported the inhumanity of animal testing and saved thousands of animals, including dozens of female cats rehabilitated after undergoing terrible tests,  small mamorsets turned to the care of a rehabilitation facility, 2,639 beagles rescued from Green Hill –the breeding kennel for dogs destined to vivisection in Montichiari (Brescia) – which has been the focus of a resounding court case in which LAV has been in the firing line since the beginning,  and which culminated on 23 January 2015 with the conviction (first-instance judgement) of the veterinary, co-manager and manager of the kennel, with penalties up to 18 months and the suspension of the authorization to carry out business for 2 years.
This case was unheard of in Italy and over the world, because of the number of "testing animals", approximately 3000 have been rescued, and of the judicial implications: legality and the respect of animal welfare are binding principles, by law, also in fields such as experimentation.

Thanks to the endeavour of LAV and ECEAE (European Coalition to end animal experiments), the last final stop envisaged by the Directive entered into force in Europa on 11 March 2013, prohibiting animal testing as well as the import of cosmetic ingredients. In order to guide Italian consumers towards cruelty-free choices, LAV has produced the LAV Handbook which includes all the cosmetics producers that have adhered to the “Stop Animal Testing” international standards.

Nonetheless, all across the EU, rabbits, guinea-pigs, rats, mice and dogs continue to suffer and die to test the toxicity of common house detergents. ECEAE, represented in Italy by LAV, has launched the #cleanupcruelty international campaign, asking the European Parliament  to extend the imperative ban on animal testing for the production of cosmetics to all house cleaning products and to prohibit their import throughout the EU. 

We EXCLUSIVELY support methods which entirely replace the use of animals. We urge the institutions to implement such substitute methods.