British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection

The campaign for the abolition of all experiments involving animals was founded in 1898 by Miss Frances Power Cobbe. Initially organised regionally, branches undertook the majority of the campaign work, producing and distributing mass publications and holding demonstrations outside institutions which had been granted licences to perform experiments on animals.

On Miss Cobbe's death in 1904 BUAV moved their headquarters from Bristol to London. By 1912 there were 49 branches, making it the largest anti-vivisectionist organisation in the world. In 1929 BUAV changed its status from a charity to a corporation under the Companies Act of 1929. After the Second World War the BUAV founded the Conference of Anti-Vivisection Societies, which adopted BUAV's own Bill for the Prohibition of Vivisection.

Public demonstrations were increasingly used as a campaign tactic. Trade in the trafficking of animals and pets to laboratories was attacked during the 1950s, along with the practice of using animals in the Space Programme. The 1960s saw a change in emphasis towards the adoption of alternative research techniques. The Dr Walter Hadwen Institute for Humane Research was established in 1971 to undertake such research.

During the 1970s and 1980s the BUAV moved away from general discussion of vivisection towards concerted campaigns, aided by the national media. Campaigns were run during the general elections of 1979 and 1983. This was more effective at mobilising support, increasing membership and promoting the respectability of the anti-vivisection movement. Campaigns attacked organisations for their treatment of animals used in experiments as well as attempting to bring topics such as healthy living and cosmetic testing into the public domain. One of the biggest (and apparently successful) campaigns, Choose Cruelty free, was launched in 1988 and called for the avoidance of cosmetic and household tests on animals.

The records held were received in two instalments covering the period 1896-1996. There are minutes of the Executive and other Committees, and of the Annual General Meetings between 1899 and 1982, with gaps. Annual reports cover the period 1898-1994. There are membership registers, 1929-1966. Financial records date from 1964 and include details of legacies. There are series of correspondence files, 1895-1989, and personnel files, 1950-1992. Administrative files relate to the Executive Committee and internal organisation, 1966-1993. Another series of files relates to BUAV branches, 1933-1983. BUAV's involvement with other organisations is documented in a series of files and volumes, 1909-1992. Material relating to campaigns undertaken by BUAV include minutes, correspondence, leaflets, press statements and cuttings. The archives also includes a comprehensive collection of BUAV's periodicals, 1898-1996. Additional material is received on a regular basis. [U DBV]