Research Defence Society

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The Research Defence Society was a British lobby group, founded in 1908, which at the end of 2008 merged with the Coalition for Medical Progress to form Understanding Animal Research.[1]

The aim of the Society was, as for the new merged organisation, to disseminate information about, and to defend the use of, animal testing in medicine. It represented the interests of 5,000 researchers and institutions. It was reportedly funded by the pharmaceutical industry and universities.[2] The organization states that it was funded by its members, which include medical scientists, doctors, veterinarians, pharmaceutical companies, research institutes, universities, and charities that support medical research.

Its last executive director was Dr. Simon Festing, who became CEO of Understanding Animal Research.[3]

One campaign to demonstrate the support for animal research within the scientific and medical community, was the co-signing of a petition in support of the use of animals in research called Declaration on Animals in Medical Research.[4] The declaration was signed in 1990, and a modified version in 2005. Over 700 scientists, of whom 500 were British, signed the declaration in the first month, including three Nobel laureates, 190 Fellows of the Royal Society and the Medical Royal Colleges and over 250 academic professors.



  • Understanding Animal Research website (the RDS site no longer exists) [1]
  • Woods, Richard & Ungoed-Thomas, Jonathan. "A campaigning hero", Sunday Times, February 26, 2006