Keep Research Afloat

Our latest guest post comes from Peter Wright and Eleanor Browne, students of Imperial College London. They have started their own organisation aimed at trying to avoid the imminent crisis heading for biomedical research due to the restrictions on animal transport. We urge you to support their efforts to Keep research afloat – an issue we have posted guest posts before.

Keep research afloat!

Vital medical research in the UK is threatened by a crisis in the transport of animals for research. A campaign of lobbying by the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) and other animal rights activists against firms transporting animals for medical research has resulted in ALL ferry companies refusing to carry animals for research into the UK. Most airline companies are also refusing to transport animals internationally with others being targeted.

The current transport crisis is a lose-lose situation for drug discovery (which both needs and legally requires animal research), the economy (as pharmaceutical companies will move overseas in order to continue their drug discovery efforts) and most importantly animal welfare (as the animals spend longer in transit at airports, and more animals will be required to set up additional breeding centres if they cannot be acquired from breeders overseas).

In response to this crisis, an e-petition has been set up on the UK government website, to start building some political pressure and ensure that the transport of animals into the UK for vital medical research is not entirely halted. If the animal rights movement succeeds in totally stopping the transport of animals into the UK for medical research, it will be much harder to re-establish it, so scientists and the public must respond to the threat now. Please sign if you are a British citizen or are based in the UK. If none of the above, then please create some publicity for this cause (for example alerting UK based twitter followers to this crisis) or tell a friend or colleague based in the UK.

This is the link for the e-petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40111

The aim of this petition is to act as a central voice for all those who recognise the importance of protecting the transport of animals for research into the UK, including academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, societies, charities and the public. We need to convince the government and the ferry companies that science is worth saving – it’s going to take a lot of signatures. It’s completely confidential and only takes a minute to fill in your details and signature, so add yours.

Crucially, this crisis in the UK will only embolden the activists elsewhere. This is an issue that is already beginning to affect the US and it will only be a matter of time before it has an impact on global research. In the last month animal rights activists left thousands of message on Air India’s Facebook wall urging them to stop transporting animals. Their activities work and we must all act before it’s too late. Scientists like us need support to keep research afloat – we all need to stand up for science and get our voices heard through this petition.

Keep up to date by following us on twitter and spread the word, to stop the activists activities from slipping under the radar. This is one battle science cannot afford to lose.

Eleanor Browne and Peter Wright

twitter: @keeprsrchafloat
web: keepresearchafloat.org
e-mail: keepresearchafloat@gmail.com
petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40111
petition tiny-url:  http://tinyurl.com/saveresearch

Additional Information:
http://www.nature.com/news/activists-ground-primate-flights-1.10255
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/03/stena-lines-wont-ferry-animals.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/14/laboratories-animals-anti-vivisection-campaign
http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/economics-and-statistics/docs/10-541-bis-economics-paper-02.pdf

2 responses to “Keep Research Afloat

  1. Is this the sort of appalling standard of research at Imperial that you are campaigning to ‘keep afloat’? http://licensedtokill.buav.org/

    • The recent allegations are certainly concerning. However we should wait until the investigation is complete before jumping to too many conclusions. Last time only 4 of BUAV’s 8 allegations against Wickham were substantiated by the Home Office.

      It is important to find out if failings, if they exist, are down to one or two individuals or are systemic.

      The sad truth is that if you go into any industry and film for seven months (of which you publish about 6 minutes) you will find some errors made (certainly this is true of hospitals – but you don’t condemn the practise of all medicine because of it). Now animal research must hold itself to a higher level of accountability than most industries, and have the systems to match