A Nugget in Activist History: Henry Spira

Animal Liberation Movement

I originally planned on researching what activism took place in order to have products labeled with “cruelty free” or “leaping bunny certified”. Though there was information on this particular moment in history, the information could be summed up in two or three sentences. After searching for hours I came across Henry Spira’s animal testing ad in 1980 in the New York Times. Before this article I had no idea who Henry Spira was, but it turns out he is considered to be one of the most influential animal rights activist.

Henry Spira was born June 19th, 1927 and passed away from cancer on September 12tHow_many_rabbitsh, 1998. Spira was a journalist for a news paper and a Human Rights activist. He didn’t begin his work as an Animal Rights activist until 1970’s, but when he did, he made a huge splash. In 1974 he decided to start the Animal Rights International organization. The ARI took and active approach to reach their goals. ARI was one of the first animal rights organization to successfully make a big difference. The first campaign that the ARI brought to the public was to stop New York’s American Museum of Natural History from doing unnecessary castration tests on cats. One year after the campaign The Museum of Natural History dropped all its testing on these cats.

Before Spira, the animal rights movement hadn’t made much progress with actual legislation or entire companies making any changes their methods of testing. In a fairly short amount of time, Henry Spira was able to get Revlon, a huge cosmetic company to put money into studying alternative ways to test their products. He did this by printing out an ad in a page of The New York Times, which caused a huge uproar by the public, because it showed one of Revlon’s main testing technique called the Draize test. He was able to convince Procter and Gamble to also use different methods, and more humane methods of testing… This list goes on. Henry Spira’s efforts did not stop at trying to change the cosmetic industry, he also worked on changing the treatment of animals in the food industry.

 learn more about  Henry Spira’s Campaign

 learn more about Henry Spira and ARI

 learn more about Going Cruelty Free


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