Evanna Lynch, Lucy Watson and Lesley Nicol join fight to end animal testing by recreating iconic animal rights protest photo from 1919.

The stars have teamed up with Cruelty Free International, Animal Free Research UK and OneKind to urge the government to pro-actively phase out animal testing following the release of latest Home Office statistics.

Public urged to sign petition to urge the government to phase out animal testing: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/590216

London, 15th July: Stars from Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Made in Chelsea have recreated an historic moment of protest in the UK’s animal protection movement – as they join calls for an end to animal testing in the UK.

Evanna Lynch – Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series – Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, and Lesley Nicol, who played Mrs Patmore in Downton Abbey, have teamed up with animal protection campaigners Cruelty Free International, Animal Free Research and Scotland’s OneKind to re-enact an iconic animal rights demonstration from 100 years ago.

The historic photo was captured in 1919 when three women from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, today Cruelty Free International, protested in Parliament Square while the Dogs (Protection) Bill was being debated in Parliament. Cruelty Free International, Animal Free Research UK and OneKind all have their roots in the century old feminist led anti-vivisection movement.

The three stars stepped back in time to recreate the powerful scene as the latest Home Office statistics released today provide a stark reminder that millions of animals are still subjected to the same cruel testing as they were a century ago.

Cruelty Free International, Animal Free Research UK and OneKind are urging the public to join their #TargetZero action and sign the petition which calls on the government to bring forward a pro-active plan to phase out animal experiments in the UK: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/590216

Lucy Watson says: “Progress must be made – I can’t believe that women were fighting for justice for animals reduced to unnecessary animal testing over 100 years ago and here we are today, protesting about the same issue! It’s shocking to think that so many animal experiments are unnecessary, yet they still occur and cause a great deal of distress and harm for helpless animals. Very few people know the extent of the problem, so I really hope that this campaign helps to draw attention to the issue. The more it’s talked about, the more likely things will change.”

Lesley Nicol says: “It’s horrifying to know how many animal experiments take place each year in the UK. To know that so many are unnecessary breaks my heart. In the 1900s people were fighting for animal experiments to stop and fast forward 118 years, here we are again… So why hasn’t a change been made? With modern science evolving, it’s beyond my comprehension that scientists, universities and brands haven’t made more of an effort to replace animal experiments.”

Evanna Lynch says: “I have been campaigning for animal rights for the past decade, yet this issue remains one of the biggest issues in animal welfare that urgently needs to be addressed. The UK carries out more animal experiments than most countries in Europe, but this doesn’t have to the be case. We can – and should – be leaders in paving the way for ethical, effective experiments that don’t cruelly exploit animals. I hope that the comparisons drawn between the 1900s and present day demonstrates the urgent need to rethink how we treat animals in science.”

Analysis by Cruelty Free International reveals that the overall number of animal experiments has only fallen by 1% annually over the past 10 years If the UK continues on its current trajectory, animal testing will not be phased out for at least another century.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Officer of Cruelty Free International, says: “We’re very grateful to Evanna, Lucy and Lesley for helping us recreate this image from 100 years ago. Sadly, a century later, we are still asking the same questions. That’s why we’re supporting the Target Zero petition so the British public can express their support for ending this cruelty once and for all.”

Carla Owen, Chief Executive Officer of Animal Free Research UK, says: “We owe it to the millions of animals who have suffered for negligible human benefit to end the century of unimaginable pain in UK laboratories. If Britain is to become a science superpower it must lead by example. It must accelerate the use of animal free research and aim for target zero animal experiments, starting today”.

Bob Elliot, Director of OneKind, says: “The UK Government must commit to and prioritise a phase-out of animal experimentation. Our Target Zero campaign is calling for them to support science, not suffering.”

To sign the Gov.UK petition, visit: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/590216. You can also join the conversation online by tagging @crueltyfreeintl, @animalfreeresearchuk and @onekindtweet #TargetZero

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Notes to Editor

  1. OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity based in Edinburgh.
  2. For further information please contact Eve Massie Bishop on 0131 285 9859 or [email protected]