British union for the abolition of vivisection

Founded June 14, 1898, in Bristol, England
Founder(s) Frances Power Cobbe
  • London, England
Key people Michelle Thew
Focus(es) Animal testing, vivisection, animal rights
Method(s) Education, research, lobbying, investigations, undercover work in laboratories, and lawsuits
Motto "The campaign to end all animal experiments"

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is a British animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments. Founded in 1898 by Frances Power Cobbe, the Irish writer and suffragette, the BUAV engages in education, research, lobbying, investigations, undercover work in laboratories, and legal cases that challenge the legitimacy of using animals in experiments. It also promotes non-animal alternatives.

The BUAV acts as the secretariat of the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), established in 1990. BUAV's chief executive, Michelle Thew, acts as chief executive of the coalition.[1]

In 2012, the BUAV joined with the New England Anti-Vivisection Society to establish a new international organisation to campaign against the testing of cosmetics on animalsCruelty Free International. This was launched by BUAV supporter Ricky Gervais.[2] They organise certification of cruelty-free products which are marked with the symbol of a leaping bunny.[3]


BUAV was founded on June 14, 1898 by Frances Power Cobbe during a public meeting in Bristol, England.[4] Known at first as the British Union, or "the Union," it campaigned at first against the use of dogs in vivisection, and came close to achieving success with the 1919 Dogs (Protection) Bill, which almost became law. In recent years, it successfully lobbied the British government into abolishing the oral LD50 test in the 1990s. The BUAV was also closely involved in the lobbying which led to the adoption in the European Union of the 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive, which will effectively ban both the testing of cosmetics products and their ingredients on animals and also the sale of products in the EU which have been animal-tested anywhere in the world.


In recent years, the BUAV has focused on a number of new areas, including the promotion of non-animal tested products; the European Union's REACH proposal to test tens of thousands of chemicals on millions of animals; and the use of non-human primates in experimentation.

The BUAV helps consumers to identify and purchase products that have not been tested on animals through its Humane Cosmetics and Humane Household Products Standards (HCS and HHPS). These are audited accreditation schemes for retail companies which confirm that neither their products nor their ingredients are tested on animals. These standards are also run in a number of European countries and in the United States. A list of approved companies is available and regularly updated on the BUAV website.[5] It also runs a primate sanctuary in Thailand for 50 rescued macaques.

On 30 January 2008, the BUAV won a victory over the Home Office when an information tribunal agreed that experiment summaries are biased towards emphasising the positive aspects of research. The tribunal said summaries amounted to creating a "perception of a positive spin". The BUAV argues that this inevitably means any negative aspects such as animal suffering are downplayed.

The BUAV is opposed to any form of violence or intimidation in the name of animal rights or animal welfare.

Undercover investigations

Among the BUAV's many undercover investigations, the most recent (September 2006) exposes the breeding and supply of monkeys from Nafovanny in Vietnam for experimentation in Europe and the US.[6] Recent previous investigations include the University of Cambridge and Covance's contract testing laboratory in Germany. The BUAV is pursuing a judicial review against the Home Office as a result of its findings in the Cambridge investigation. Other investigations in 2007 have highlighted the primate trade from Malaysia and Spain. In February 2008, the High Commission of Malaysia confirmed to the BUAV that a ban on the primate trade would be reinstated following the BUAV investigation.

See also


Further reading

  • BUAV website
  • The archives of the BUAV (ref U DBV) are held at the online catalogue.
  • BUAV animation
  • European Coalition to End Animal Experiments

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