In December 2014, Elisabeth was hired by the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) to work on a project exploring the use of animals in undergraduate teaching at the University of British Columbia. Soon after the project was underway, additional funding was given by the British Columbia Foundation for Non-Animal Research (BCNFAR) (see our Projects page for details). At the same time, Lesley had been working on student choice policies and non-animal alternatives to dissection in local high schools with her ‘Frogs are Cool’ project.
Piecing together a common interest in this important area, Sara, Elisabeth and Lesley were inspired to form a new Canadian non-profit dedicated to providing education on ethics and non-animal alternatives for the use of animals in research, testing and teaching. They quickly gained support from Geoff and Marcy, and the Animals in Science Policy Institute was born.
The Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI) was officially registered as a non-profit society in July 2015 to address the need for more critical and constructive dialogue about the use of animals in research, teaching, and testing in Canada. There is growing literature on the merits of non-animal alternatives for various different applications; however, there is disconnect between alternatives development and implementation. As a result, there are still millions of animals used for scientific purposes in Canada each year. AiSPI aims to promote meaningful, evidence-based discussion about the need to use animals in science, to highlight where non-animal alternatives can be better implemented, and to encourage deeper ethical reflection about animal use in the scientific community.
The Animals in Science Policy Institute was granted charitable status by the Canada Revenue Agency in February 2017.
We envision a society where the public ethic, and technological advancements and global communication strategies in the scientific community have made the use of nonhuman animals in science obsolete.
To build an ethical culture of science that respects animal life by promoting the reduction and replacement of animals in teaching, research and testing.
To advance education of the public about the use of animals in teaching, research and testing by providing information on ethics and alternatives to reduce and replace the use of animals in science. Specifically, we aim to:
- conduct research projects into the efficacy of non-animal alternatives
- provide up to date resources and information about non-animal alternatives
- collaborate with stakeholders in science and policy to develop new alternatives that reduce or replace the use of animals in science
Respect for animal life: respect for animal life is the foundation of our work and we strive to create a society where animals are no longer considered ‘property’ and are no longer commodified or objectified.
Transparency: we believe that information about animal research should be presented in a clear, fact-based manner. We also commit to full transparency regarding our own structure and function as an organization.
Professionalism: we are committed to holding ourselves to high professional standards as an organization and as such we will continually seek a high standard of expertise in our membership and staff, act in an ethical, compassionate and balanced manner, with integrity and recognize the need for trust and discretion. We also believe in being held accountable to our funders, donors and the broader community.
Empowerment: we believe in providing information and resources that empower others to make social change for animals. We also believe in empowering animals, rather than portraying them as victims, thus we have chosen to avoid using graphic imagery on our website or social media platforms.
During our logo design process, there was unanimous agreement that we did not want an animal as part of our logo design because our primary vision is one that imagines replacement of animals in science. Instead we focused on what essence we wanted to capture. We are in the business of transmitting information in various directions, so it made sense to work with images that were a play on nerve cells – nature’s information carriers. The image we ended up choosing, with the “stick and ball” representation of a multipolar neuron, is also reminiscent of the plastic molecular kits that young science students use as part of their education. For us, the colours purple, blue and grey are intended to represent “science” more generally. We also wanted an energetic logo – one that conveys our passion and active engagement.