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Animal experimentation and alternatives addressed for first time at major Chinese conference

The first major presentation on replacement alternatives in China and the first InterNICHE visit to the country took place in June 2011. In its first venture into the topic of animal experimentation, the Asia for Animals (AfA) conference invited InterNICHE Co-ordinator Nick Jukes to give an extended presentation at the event held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Over 400 animal welfare and rights delegates from across Asia and beyond attended a very successful event in a very challenging country.

The animal experimentation session at AfA was co-chaired by Dr Andrew Rowan from the Humane Society International (HSI). Addressing alternatives in research and testing, with a special focus on toxicity studies, he described important progress towards humane science and improved consumer safety. Nick gave a 2-hour presentation about humane alternatives in education and training, and demonstrated a range of exemplary tools from across the disciplines.

Nick Jukes giving extended multimedia talk and demonstration

The talk gave an overview of the field and aimed to empower the delegates to begin facilitating the process of replacement of animal experiments in education and training. Many were not aware of the feasibility and potential of full replacement, nor familiar with the resources and experience available to help achieve it. Starting their involvement from a position of replacement will enhance the effectiveness of the movement for alternatives as it grows in China and across Asia. A new engagement in humane education will also lead to greater confidence in addressing alternatives in research and testing.

A small Multimedia Exhibition from InterNICHE, held throughout the event, gave the opportunity for more hands-on trial of alternatives, for distribution of literature, and to discuss and network widely. The extended Animals Asia network helped connect InterNICHE to new groups from across Asia who are keen to collaborate with new campaigns and to organise outreach and alternatives seminars. Levels of cruelty are high in the region: in a recent case in China, middle school students cut off the fins of live goldfish in order to observe changes in the balancing process.

Inspiring the delegates with exemplary alternative tools at the Multimedia Exhibition

Listening to the heart sounds simulator of the Critical Care Jerry mannekin

Discussing the Pulsating Organ Perfusion (POP) Trainer for laparoscopic surgical training

Exploring the range of software alternatives and literature

Top AWBI and CPCSEA (Government of India) officials at the talk

A promising development is the interest in alternatives from new China Veterinary Medical Association. Members were at the AfA conference and attended the InterNICHE talk, and Nick travelled to Beijing to meet their Committee. The result was very positive: it was felt that replacement is possible, that training through alternatives can be superior to that through animal experiments, and that the development of alternatives can support economic development.

Special meeting with the China Veterinary Medical Association 

An even greater focus on replacement alternatives is scheduled for the next AfA conference, to be held in Singapore in early 2013. This will further establish animal experimentation as an important topic to be addressed in the region, and allow for the development of more collaborative projects between InterNICHE and national animal protection groups.  

InterNICHE gratefully acknowledges the Anti-Vivisection Union (South Australia), the Swiss League Against Vivisection (LSCV), and the International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals (IAAPEA) for their support for the outreach.

Animals Asia can be reached at