The Lush Training Prize aims to recognise and reward those working to eliminate animal testing in science and cosmetics through training. The Iranian Anti-Vivisection Association has been working with educational institutions to introduce them to humane alternatives to animal testing. It is for this that they have won one of this year’s two training prizes.
The Iranian Anti-Vivisection Association (IAVA) has been working with universities for over six years, meeting with deans, teachers and students across Iran to demonstrate and introduce alternative testing.
Despite the challenging environment, the association has been successful at gaining support. The team hold seminars and exhibitions of alternatives at many national and international veterinary conferences. What’s more, IAVA lobby the Ministries of Education, Health and Science in order to change the national education system.
The association’s director Dr Ramak Roshanaei explains the importance of these successes: “Direct replacement has now been achieved in a number of anatomy, surgery,physiology and pharmacology practical classes. In a country where animals, particularly dogs, are so little respected, the work of IAVA is of great importance. Critiquing animal experimentation, informing people about alternatives, and demonstrating that full replacement is achievable, is happening for the first time in Iran.”
With an animal rights and vegan ethos, IAVA emphasises the benefits of humane education and humane science for students, the professions and society as a whole. But why are the team so passionate about campaigning and raising awareness for alternative testing methods?
Ramak says: ‘We strongly believe that animals have a right to life and that they should live freely. We need to respect that. In Iran, very few people are protecting animals, and it is only IAVA that is working to replace animal experiments.
It’s not just animal welfare that motivates IAVA, but the extra reliability and effectiveness alternatives can provide: “Students and trainees can learn better using alternatives – with alternatives, a new generation of humane and better trained doctors, vets and biologists is created. And as well as being better professionals, there will be more respect and less violence in society as well.”
After winning the Lush Prize, IAVA hopes to reach even more people across Iran, and raise the profile of of alternative testing.
Ramak adds: “We are happy our work is being recognised internationally. This validation will help us enhance all our activities – and we are already feeling more motivated! It may even make it possible for us to spread our work to neighbouring countries and throughout the Middle East.”