Protesters turned back the clock to stage non-violent suffragette-style protests at Sheffield University – chaining themselves to railings while wearing Edwardian outfits.
The event was intended to re-enact similar opposition to animal cruelty in laboratories, which took place in the late 19th century.
Members of the Campaign for Reliable Medical Research taking part in the stunt argued that too little had changed over the last century.
They claimed that scientists were still not willing to adopt modern non-animal methods of research.
The protest outside the main Firth Court building was timed to coincide with the university’s annual open day.
Andrew Davis, a member of the group, said: “It is now very well established that using a different species to try to model diseases in humans is unreliable and wastes resources.
“Despite the soundbites we hear from scientists and politicians that animals do not suffer in laboratories on account of licensing procedures, and that they want to reduce the number of animal experiments, the reality behind closed doors is very different.
“We are calling on Sheffield University to ditch its archaic animal experiments and embrace medical research techniques that are fit for the 21st century. The delay in developing reliable methodology is delaying progress for patients.”
Mr Davis said the latest Home Office statistics had revealed yet another rise in the number of animals being used in UK laboratories, now to over four million per year.
“Breaches of the animal procedures rules are commonplace and there are insufficient inspectors. Every other area of science technology has moved on and yet the number of animal tests still keeps on rising,” he added.