The BUAV: The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is one of the oldest animal protection groups in the world, and their history of advocating on behalf of animals in laboratories reaches back over a hundred years. They have also been at the forefront of undercover investigations into animal experimentation industries, and are one of the only groups that has put significant resources into connecting the dots of the international web of animal experimentation and it’s related companies and suppliers. They contributed a wide range of footage for use in MTD, and we are honoured to have been able to use some of it in the film.
PubMed is an online database of publications resulting from biomedical research, both with and without the use of animals. With a few quick keystrokes, you can find out about all kinds of animal research being performed around North America, including at a university near you. We sincerely recommend this resource for anyone who thinks that animal experimentation is something that happens far away from them. CLICK HERE to begin searching for animal experiments that have been recently performed, documented, and published.
Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) is the leading organization in the US devoted to exposing the what happens behind the closed doors and blanked out windows of Universities and commercial labs across North America. They have leaked countless documents and photographs from inside labs and have a long track record of helping activists across the US with their campaigns.
Foundation for Biomedical Research is a staunchly pro-research organization that is currently engaged in a widespread and ongoing PR campaign to discredit and dismiss any ethical or scientific concerns about the use of animals in research. A fascinating and scary look into a world that is not for the faint of heart. CLICK HERE to enter the animal experimentation PR spin cycle.
The Sacrifice - Lynda Birke, Arnold Arluke, and Mike Michael: This book is, in many ways, the key analysis point of the film. It combines a sociological history of lab animals with a sociological history of the laboratory space and a tonne of interviews with lab workers and students of science and biology to form a pretty broad context under which vivisection happens. It is not framed with an “animal rights” approach, but rather presents the information in a dispassionate and matter-of-fact way, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. Lynda Birke herself used to work in laboratories, and a recent interview with her during MTD production in the UK will form a narrative line in the film.
Brute Science: Dilemmas of Animal Experimentation - Hugh LaFolette and Niall Shanks: A carefully considered and thoroughly explained outline of the contemporary issues facing the use of non-human animals in scientific research. They do an excellent job of explaining how the ethical and scientific validity of animal research are intertwined and prove that you can’t talk about one without talking about the other. If you don’t have a background in science, you may find parts of this book very dry (I struggled through some parts, but found it overall very rewarding).
FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science: A Handbook for the Scientifically Perplexed - Ray Greek and Niall Shanks: If the above book sounds a bit daunting, this is exactly what you need to get your hands on. Though different in scope and content, it does exactly what it says it does: answers the frequently asked questions that you have probably heard a million times before and probably wish you could answer more eloquently. I had a chance to see Dr. Greek speak last September at the University of Toronto, and he gave an excellent and accessible lecture specifically on the predictive value of animal research. You can watch that lecture here.
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary - Andrew Westoll: Full disclosure, Andrew and I worked together for months at a Toronto lefty bookshop when he was trying to get his first book published and I was just starting to make short films. Little did I know that a few years later, we would be working on some of the same subject matter on our own separate paths. This book takes readers on an honest and challenging journey into the use of chimpanzees in scientific research, and specifically tells the stories of the beautiful and (in many ways) broken individuals that live at Fauna Sanctuary. Give yourself a few days once you start, because you will not be able to put it down once you pick it up.
Secret Suffering - Sarah Kite: This book is a first-hand account of Sarah Kite’s 8-month undercover investigation into Huntingdon Life Sciences (formerly known as Huntingdon Research Centre). It is an excellent account not only of the conditions inside the contract testing facility and the kind of hideous things that happen(ed) there, but also the hardships endured by undercover investigators as they gather crucial information to shine a light on what goes on behind closed doors and high walls and barbed fences. MTD will include Sarah reading some of the passages from her book, as well as an interview about her experience.
Laika - Nick Abadzis: A graphic novel about Laika, the first ever animal to orbit the earth (and die there). Though the graphic novel takes some storytelling liberties that it kind of has to (because it’s a graphic novel), I think it does an excellent job of giving a proper emotional weight to the story and the consequences of the exploration of space for Laika, and the animals that followed her into the abyss before humans felt brave enough to do it themselves.
The Monkey in the Rocket - Jean Bethell and Sergio Leone: A children’s picture book that gives a rather disturbing look into the use of monkeys for space flight tests… Disturbing because it’s amazing how much fun this book makes animal experimentation look like!
Doctor Rat - William Kotzwinkle: A novel, and a strange an hallucinatory one at that. One of the main characters is a lab rat with Stockholm Syndrome who narrates large parts of the story. The book is kind of about the end of the world, and kind of about how human beings have so thoroughly steered us in that direction by attempting to control everything. Not bedtime reading!
These books are mostly still in print, and you can probably order just about any of them from your local indie bookshop or from an online used book dealer.
If you are a current lab worker or researcher looking for support to stop experimenting on animals, or if you are a former lab worker looking for emotional support and someone to talk to, please reach out.
Maximum Tolerated Dose and the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group (LPAG) provide resources and outlets for current and former lab workers or researchers to tell their stories and those of the animals they worked with.