The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is talking to branding agencies in a “prepa- ratory and preliminary” exercise, as it seeks to boost brand awareness and reposition itself.
BUAV development director Alison Cowan, who is responsible for building awareness of BUAV and for fundraising initiatives, says the move comes as the organisation seeks to counter negative perceptions of its cause. She says: “This [anti-vivisection] is a very controversial topic at the moment, with some media being responsible for misinforming the public about our cause.”
She says that the organisation is restructuring, and is bolstering both its fundraising and marketing teams as it plans to “make a concerted effort” to boost awareness and counter negative attitudes towards anti-vivisectionists. She adds: “Although BUAV was established in 1898, there is very low awareness and we need to make a big difference.”
Cowan herself was initially hired as an interim director of fundraising, but has been made director of development as BUAV seeks to further its cause.
The organisation itself is committed to peaceful protest only as a means of campaigning against animal testing, but Cowan says BUAV often suffers as a result of press reports regarding animal rights protesters who resort to violence.
The news of BUAV’s attempts to boost both its profile and its image come hot on the heels of the launch of “The People’s Petition” last week, an online petition that allows people to show their support for animal testing and live experiments.
In response to this, BUAV campaigns director Alistair Currie issued a statement saying: “Although they have launched an (anonymous!) petition claiming to be the voice of the ‘silent majority’, we believe that if people could see the real suffering that goes on inside UK laboratories – instead of the sanitised version that usually gets broadcast by the media – the real majority would be those in opposition to animal testing.”