Who We Are
The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) is a non-profit animal advocacy and educational
organization that unequivocally opposes and works to end experiments on animals, and opposes
all forms of cruelty to animals. Founded in 1883, AAVS is the oldest organization in the United
States devoted to ending the use of animals in research, testing, and education. We work with
students, grassroots groups, individuals, parents, educators, the media, and members of the
scientific community to legally and effectively end the use of animals in science through education,
advocacy, and the development of alternative methods to animal use.
Our members assist our efforts by becoming active in our campaigns, which are announced in our quarterly publication, AV Magazine,
and bi-monthly newsletter, Activate For Animals. Our magazine features in-depth articles on the scientific, legislative, regulatory,
and ethical problems surrounding various issues involving animals, with articles written by some of the best-known scientists and
leaders in the animal protection movement. In addition, our literature collection and websites provide thorough information on various
issues allowing those who care about animals to speak out against their use with an assurance of accuracy.
"When it comes to the last hour of your life, it will be a great consolation to feel
that you always protect the poor, the helpless, and the unfortunate; and that you exercised
a particular care towards animals."
~ Caroline Earle White, 1833-1916
The oldest animal protection organization in the United States, AAVS was founded in 1883 by Caroline Earle White. White was a
true pioneer of the U.S. animal protection movement and also contributed to children's rights, and anti-slavery causes. Ahead
of her times, she was one of the first pioneering American humane advocates to become a vegetarian.
White was the principal force behind the organization of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA),
and later was president of the women's branch of the PSPCA. In 1876, White and her supporters introduced a bill into the Pennsylvania
Legislature that would have prohibited vivisection in the classroom. Although this measure failed, White stayed behind the issue
and helped to found AAVS.
AAVS introduced more anti-vivisection bills and helped prosecutors indict six University of Pennsylvania professors under the 1869
Cruelty to Animals statute. Although no conviction resulted, the trial marked the first instance in which an animal experimenter
faced cruelty charges in a U.S. court.
In 1907, White was instrumental in bringing about the Congressional investigation of the railroad's transportation of animals.
As a result of her hard work, Congress passed a law that required transportation workers to feed and water their animals at least
once in a 28-hour period. White often claimed that this was the crowning achievement of her life.
There is little doubt that Caroline Earle White helped shape the direction of the animal protection movement. AAVS continues
in the spirit of Caroline Earle White today, dedicated to ending vivisection and all forms of cruelty to animals.
Each year, tens of millions of animals are subjected to laboratory
experiments that routinely include-and sometimes intentionally cause--pain,
suffering, and even death. Millions of animals are also sacrificed for educational
purposes. While there are proven humane alternatives to the use of animals in research,
testing, and education, animals continue to be viewed as expendable research 'tools' by many
researchers and educators. AAVS works hard to alter this view.
AAVS accomplishes its mission by:
1. Educating students, teachers, scientists, legislators, and the general public with accurate, current printed and electronic material.
2. Providing students and teachers with alternatives to dissection in the classroom.
3. Providing grassroots groups with support and materials to proceed with anti-vivisection campaigns.
4. Initiating advocacy campaigns to stop the use of animals in research.
5. Publishing the AV Magazine
and the newsletter Activate For Animals
to keep our members informed of specific issues and how they can make a difference.
6. Providing support for conferences on topics related to our mission, such as non-animal alternatives, humane education, and animal rights.
7. Presenting well-researched and documented information to policy makers regarding vivisection issues.
8. Granting funds to applicants who are working on the development of non-animal alternatives, primarily through our affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation
9. Providing media with current information regarding our campaigns.
10. Never giving up.
Among our most significant achievements and activities, AAVS:
- Was part of a historical settlement between our affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF), and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would provide protection for the largest percentage of animals used in research-birds, mice, and
rats-under the federal Animal Welfare Act. USDA regulations had excluded these animals since 1970.
- Along with ARDF, effectively petitioned the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to change its policy and direct government funded
researchers to use non-animal methods as the 'default' method of producing monoclonal antibodies, which are used in essentially every
field of human and veterinary research. This will spare nearly a million animals each year from intense pain and suffering.
- Facilitated the introduction of legislation to the House of Representatives to establish a retirement sanctuary program for chimpanzees
used in federally-funded research.
- Was a founding member of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), which promotes a single comprehensive standard and
an internationally recognized leaping bunny logo that insures all ingredients in a personal-care or household product meet the Corporate
Standard of Compassion for Animals.
- Established Animalearn, our innovative and resourceful education division, in 1990 to inform students and educators about non-animal
dissection alternatives and other issues related to humane education.
- Supported efforts to pass student choice laws nationwide; and we are particularly proud of our accomplishment in Pennsylvania, which
guarantees students the right to object to dissection.
- Successfully worked to have a patent on purposely sickened beagles who were to be used in drug testing experiments rescinded.
- Published a widely relied upon resource report entitled, Pet Cloning: Separating Facts From Fluff.
- Petitioned USDA to regulate cloned and genetically engineered animals resulting in USDA revising Policy #10 to extend some Animal Welfare Act
(AWA) protections to these animals.
- Is proud to host five campaign websites: www.Animalearn.org,
www.BanPoundSeizure.org, www.EndAnimalCloning.org, www.NoPetCloning.org,
www.StopAnimalPatents.org and its main website www.aavs.org.
Despite our remarkable progress, we face new challenges in the name of modern science. For example, millions of animals are used in novel genetic
engineering and xenotransplantation technologies that can cause tremendous suffering and death for the animals involved.
With your help, we will continue our efforts to maintain pressure on industry, academic institutions, government agencies, and the military to
eliminate their use of animals in research and instead adopt nonanimal alternative investigative methods.