Kenya conference promotes alternatives to animal testing

ANAW Group photo web

Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) won £25,000 in the 2014 Lush Prize for their work training others in alternatives to animal testing, particularly in education.

This funding enabled ANAW, along with Egerton University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, to hold a two-day conference in Kenya last November on Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Research, Education and Testing. Themed ‘From Animals to Alternatives’, the first session was attended by 40 participants from different education and government institutions as well as civil organisations to learn about the existing alternatives and to develop a framework for further awareness and adoption of them.

The workshop’s second session was attended by over twenty veterinary students plus university staff and demonstrated the availability of alternatives to animal use. Nick Jukes of InterNICHE, a previous Lush Prize judge, also attended and demonstrated some of the alternatives to animal use in education.

The overall objective of the workshop was to raise awareness, provide skills and knowledge and adopt use of alternatives to animals in education and training. One of the conference’s specific objectives was to formulate a roadmap and a platform for adoption of alternatives.

Samuel Theuri, Director of Programs at ANAW, told Lush Prize:

“Following fruitful deliberations, the workshop witnessed a change of attitude from pessimistic reservations of ‘is it possible to use alternatives in education and training and achieve the same results?’ to high optimism and a call for immediate adoption of alternatives. Prof. Munene (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Egerton University) said: ‘from the workshop, I now believe that replacement of harmful use of animals in education and training is possible up to 99% if not 100%’.

“Both the Dean and the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University committed their institution to supporting the adoption of alternatives and the creation of a model faculty that uses alternatives to the harmful use of animals in education and training. They called upon ANAW to enhance awareness and demonstration, initiate research on alternatives, motivate the development of innovations and enhance development of alternatives in the learning institutions.”

Of the many actions resulting from the sessions, there was an agreement to form an inter-institution working group that can steer the adoption of the alternatives, named KeNIA – Kenya Network of Implementation Alternatives. There are also plans to create a resource center (physical and virtual) where alternatives can be developed, people can be trained, alternatives can be loaned and an open library where people can access a database with a variety of the alternatives.

Lush Prize are pleased to see the great work ANAW is doing to help animals, particularly in Kenya, and how the funding and recognition provided by the annual Lush Prize can help develop a lasting framework to end animal testing.