Speaking of Research is an advocacy group that provides accurate information about the importance of animal research in medical and veterinary science.
Speaking of Research aims to challenge animal rights dominance of the issue by participating in talks and debates on campuses across the country and by utilizing web-based communications tools to organize a network that can provide encouragement, information and support to all who care about medical progress. SR is run by a committee of people who believe that animal research remains crucial to the future of medicine.
One of the core goals of Speaking of Research’s news blog is to share news and information about animal-based research, but also to create and promote opportunities for dynamic exchanges between people who hold a wide-range of views about the topic. Accessible forums dedicated to this kind of discussion are few and far between. SR, along with many educators and research advocates, believe that this gap has served as an obstacle to improving public discussion and understanding of animal experimentation. The SR news blog represents one avenue for contributing to the discussion and one venue in which individuals with different viewpoints can interact in public space.
Among its aims, SR reaches across geographic, institutional, and disciplinary boundaries to provide the research community with relevant news, shared ideas for outreach and education efforts, and discussion of recent findings from animal-based research. At the same time, the blog serves as an accessible resource for students and other members of the public who are looking for accurate information about how animal research is conducted and how it contributes to scientific and medical progress.
The Speaking of Research news blog is a relatively unique approach, particularly in the U.S., where up until now the majority of public outreach about animal research has been undertaken at the local level or by national advocacy organizations and scientific societies. These local and national programs are both important and effective avenues for reaching out to share information and education about animal research, yet they often cannot offer an accessible and dynamic forum where a wide-range of individuals can share ideas and discussion. We hope that providing a forum for discussion and for sharing news ultimately serves to improve understanding of animal research, but also encourages members of the scientific community in national efforts to continue their contributions to outreach, education, and public engagement.
Founded in 2008 by Tom Holder and inspired by the successful British student movement “Pro-test” (www.pro-test.org.uk), Speaking of Research (SR) aims to change the tide of the controversial animal rights debate in the United States by encouraging students and scientists to speak out in favor of the lifesaving medical research developed with animals.
Pro-Test’s experiences have shown that an informed public will rally together against animal rights extremism and come out to support scientists in their use of animals in lifesaving biomedical research. Recent polls in the UK suggest that public support for animal research for medical purposes has reached nearly 90%. Consequently animal rights groups have seen a decline in support, leading to a decline in extremist actions. Speaking of Research seeks to mobilize American universities to make the same stand against animal rights extremists and the misinformation they spread. We aim to encourage students and scientists to raise their heads above the parapet in open support of scientists and their research.
Speaking of Research exists on a very small budget (all costs are associated with the website and total less than $120/year). This year (2012-2013) the money was kindly donated by our UK sister-group, Pro-Test, who received their money from small private donations by scientists and other supporters. The travel costs and associated expenses of giving talks around the US and beyond have been generously met by the relevant host organizations.