A group of young, ambitious Belgian scientists have had enough of standing by doing nothing while animal research is criticised in the media. This article by Liesbeth Aerts and Jeroen Aerts was translated from the original Dutch version published in De Standaard on 26 December 2016.
‘Sadists’, ‘bastards, ‘a gang of psychopaths’, ‘worse than Dutroux [serial killer and child molester]’ … a selection of the insults directed at animal researchers that appear each time the debate about animal research surfaces in the media. One day we are awarded with prizes for our research, the other day we are cursed, insulted or threatened.
As young ambitious researchers, we care deeply about our work and also about this controversial subject. The mixed feelings of the general public indicate there is still a lot of mystery about what really goes on behind the doors of a scientific laboratory.
Spokespersons and policy makers don’t seem to understand it very well either, and the people heading our research institutes are silent as usual. Since we are doing the actual animal experiments, we are the ones at the receiving end of all of these insults. We are told to keep our head down, for fear of reprisal; but we don’t want to stand by and do nothing while we are put on trial in the press and on social media. Continue reading
This blog post was originally published on the Understanding Animal Research website on February 3.
EARA and Understanding Animal Research, one of our UK partners, promote the importance of universities and other research institutions across Europe of being clear and open about their research. To pre-empt the regular Freedom of Information (FOI) requests about the numbers of animals used, some institutions have taken to pro-actively publishing these on their website (often including a breakdown by species). Continue reading
This post was originally published on the website of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) January 28, 2016. It is republished here with permission from FBR.
The major public health problem of 2016 has been the sharp rise in the ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus, as well as its probable link to microcephaly in infants. While Zika has been on the rise since 2014, it has recently reached pandemic levels and is forecast to spread to nearly all of North America; outbreaks in southern Europe are also possible. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, which is spread through mosquito bites. It causes an illness similar to a mild form of dengue fever, but the biggest threat from the virus is the link to Guillain–Barré syndrome in some patients and microcephaly when pregnant women are infected. Continue reading
This post was originally published on the Huffington Post UK website July 21, 2015 in response to the negative reactions to the UK government’s decision to grant B&K Universal permission to expand their beagle breeding facility. It is republished here with permission both from the Huffington Post and the author, Tom Holder, director of Speaking of Research.
Where do medicines come from?
It’s not a question most of us bother with when we take advantage of the huge array of medical treatments available to us.
All modern medicine is built on the ‘basic research’ which allows us to understand our physiology, and the diseases we suffer. Much of this research has been done, and continues to be done, in animals. Had Mering and Minkowski not shown the causal link between the pancreas and diabetes in dogs, we might never have discovered insulin (much more work was conducted in dogs by Banting and Best who later won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin). Had Pasteur not shown how dogs could be vaccinated using weakened samples of the virus (made from rabbits), we would not have both the veterinary and human rabies vaccines. Continue reading
This post is a translation of a Dutch blog that was originally published on the Faces of Science website March 12, 2015.
Marieke Rienks, PhD student in Molecular Cardiology at Maastricht University
Born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, Marieke Rienks completed her Master in Medicine in 2010 at Maastricht University. Her interest for Cardiology and Internal Medicine led her to pursue a PhD position focusing on the role of extracellular proteins in inflammatory heart muscle abnormalities. After finishing her PhD at Maastricht University she will return to the clinic to complete her training to become an internal medicine specialist. Because of her involvement with animal welfare and experience of animal research in academia, she is very avid on open and honest communication about animal research.
“I use animals to study heart failure; does that make me a bad person?”
Dr. Alberto Ferrari is a member of the managing board and of the scientific Committee of Pro-Test Italia, an association dedicated to correct scientific information on the topic of animal research in Italy. He has a Ph.D. in molecular medicine; during his training he has worked on animal models of psychiatric disorders. Currently, he is specializing in biostatistics and collaborates with the unity of medical statistics at the University of Pavia, Italy.
Animal experimentation has always drawn criticism from an ethical standpoint; but while concerns about animal welfare or good laboratory practice are legitimate (if not always easy to agree on), we know that the position of those who deem animal testing useless or dispensable from a strictly scientific point of view is much less acceptable.
Our peers at Pro-test Germany explain the mission of this recently launched advocacy organisation.
Pro-Test Deutschland lends its voice to science. We supply information for everyone to help understand the role of animal experiments in research. By offering clarification on many scientific, ethical, legal, social, and psychological aspects of animal research, we provide a common platform to all those who wish to stand up for science. And above all, we say: Yes to research. Yes to science. No to ignorance, distrust, half-truths and hostility. Yes to insight – and Yes to a deeper understanding of what we humans are.
This post was originally published in Speaking of Research website May 29, 2015.
The following guest post is by Richard Marble RLATg, CMAR, Laboratory Animal Facility Coordinator at Ferris State University. In this article, he provides an insight into animal facilities from the perspective of a lab animal facility manager. Continue reading
Riccardo Avvisati is a PhD student at Sapienza University of Rome, studying the influences of the environment on drug of abuse in a rodent model. He is currently a visiting research student at the University of Sussex.
There is no doubt that animal rights organisations are gaining support and momentum from the public and policy makers in Italy. In recent days, we are seeing quite a big change as the government recently implemented the transposition of the European Directive 2010/63/EU but with the following major restrictions:
This article was originally published by Amy Davidson BSc (Hons), MBA, RQAP-GLP. Amy is Vice President, Operations at Kingfisher International Inc. She has worked as an animal care attendant, technician, quality assurance auditor and now manages a team of dedicated animal research professionals. Amy explains how talking about her profession has changed and the benefit of sharing accurate information about animal research all that will listen. This article has also appeared on the Speaking of Research website.