Author Archives: Editor

Help us to support the research community

The Speaking of Research committee spend hours every week supporting the research community by helping with outreach efforts, debunking common myths, networking key people, talking to the public and media, and much, much more.

Since October 2014, we have:

  • Written 97 articles for the website (and added many more permanent pages)
  • Been quoted at least 20 times in newspapers and news websites
  • Spoken and debated on radio four times
  • Spoken on Television News twiceBBC News and ITV News
  • Written one article for Huffington Post, which gained over 4,200 likes
  • Sent out one Press Release that was picked up by Science
  • Presented a poster at AALAS

While our committee does not ask for any money for their efforts, our web hosts do. In 2014/15 we spent around $150/yr on website related costs (and some more on our AALAS poster); this was provided by numerous small donations made by our supporters.

We are now asking for small individual contributions (up to $15/€10) so we can continue to grow in 2015/16. Any money we receive, above what is needed for the website costs, will go towards other online activities such as promoting posts on various social media platforms in order to boost our readership. Click the Donate button below. 

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Speaking of Research supported the Pro-Test for Science rallies in 2010. Now we need your help. Donate today. (click for original image)

We have also made a new page showing all the great work our committee have done in the media. The “SR in the Media” (under About) will be kept up to date with examples of Speaking of Research being quoted in newspapers, news websites, and when we appear on TV or radio. The page includes YouTube videos of our appearances, and radio shows can be listened too straight from our website. See the example below:

Many, many thanks for your ongoing support – we could not do it without you!

Speaking of Research

Animal Testing. Is it really a polarised debate?

I was recently contacted by a student who had an assignment to report both sides of a contentious issue, and she’d chosen animal research.

To her, there were two sides to the debate – a simple yes or no to research. Yet, as I explained to her, it is not a genuinely two-sided argument.

To understand why, we need to look at the basis of the hardline anti-vivisection viewpoint that no animal should be used in an experiment. This is the position taken by most animal rights groups around the world, from PETA and the National Antivivisection Society, to Cruelty Free International and Animal Aid. The polar opposite of this viewpoint is that animals should always be used in experiments, yet this is never what has been argued by those in favour of experiments in the UK.

Are debates like this really between polar opposites?

Are debates like this really between polar opposites?

To understand the history of the issue, animal research really kicked off in the mid to late 1800s. In 1875, there was a Royal Commission which examined the necessity of using animals, at which scientists including one Charles Darwin gave evidence.

In 1876, on the basis of the Royal Commission, Parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876, which demanded that all researchers using animals, as well as each experiment, must be licensed.. There were relatively few experiments even proposed at the time, so the President of the Royal Society was asked to justify the scientific validity of each one. Special protections were afforded to dogs, cats, primates and horses which ensured that they could not be used if another species would suffice.

As time has gone on, the law around animal research has been tightened and finessed. In 1986, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act made it explicit that animals could not be used if there was an alternative method and in 1998 it became illegal to test cosmetics or their ingredients.

Still, however, the principal of only allowing research conditionally remained at the heart of UK animal research. In order to conduct an animal experiment, researchers need a series of licenses from the Home Office. The experiment has to pass two tiers of ethical review and prove why there is no alternative to using an animal.

If we were to transpose this ethical review system for experimentsto using animals for food we would say ‘it can be ethical for a person to eat a chicken if, for instance, they are malnourished’. Each person who was hungry would have to apply to eat the chicken, explaining also why they couldn’t eat anything else, and their application would be considered by an ethics committee before being rubber-stamped by the Home Secretary.

The key thing here is that this system is different from saying ‘it is always acceptable to use an animal’, which is the polar opposite viewpoint of ‘it is never acceptable to use an animal’.

The ethical difficulty of saying that it is never acceptable to use an animal is that it underplays the value of human and animal medicines which have derived from animal experiments. Indeed, some campaigners wilfully attempt to rewrite medical history to remove the role of animals from key discoveries, but how could you remove dogs from the discovery of insulin? How do you make a drug based on a mouse hormone without a mouse?

Individuals can be against all animal experiments if they want, but they have to acknowledge the harms associated with their worldview. It is similar to anti-vaxxers: it’s your lookout if you don’t want to vaccinate your child, but let’s be clear that you are placing them and others at risk.

Researchers are motivated to act because the victims of disease are not hypothetical. They are the children on the wards of Great Ormond Street hospital, they are people dying in sub-Saharan Africa, they are wild animals, they are your pets, they are your family. The suffering is already happening. Standing idly by and watching them suffer is not a kindness, it’s a negligence.

There are other important subtleties which are lost with a simplistic yes/no approach to animal research. For instance, what do we mean when we say ‘research’? Are we talking about brain surgery, or a blood sample? We know, for example, that some 27% of experiments are below the threshold for suffering; so have suffered less than if they’d received an injection. The degree of suffering is essential to judging the value of an experiment as the costs relative to the benefits are essential to determining value. If I’m offered a ‘procedure’ by a doctor, I’m going to need to know if we’re talking about a blood test or an amputation before deciding whether to go ahead with it.

I think it was worth using animals to develop the badger TB vaccine and the vaccines I give my cat. I think it is worth using a mouse to make a breast cancer drug, because I think the tens of thousands of women who are diagnosed with the condition every year are capable of suffering in ways the mouse cannot. For example, they may be consumed by worry for their children, whereas mice are liable to consume their children. The woman and the mouse are not morally equal except by the most superficial of measures.

However, I want to know that each experiment has gone through rigorous ethical review. I want to know that it is worthwhile. If it is not, I, somebody who is notionally ‘for’ animal research, would agree with those opposed to it. This can only means one thing – the definition of ‘against’ animal research is correct, but the definition of someone ‘for’ it is lacking. Those who identify as being against animal research are generally against all animal experiments. Those who identify as supporting animal experiments are generally only supportive given strict conditions (based on regulation, purpose etc).

I also want to see alternatives to animals testing and research continue to be developed. Animals may well be the best model we have for many bits of research, but I want better. So should you. These would have the potential to be cheaper, and even more reliable.

It’s true that there’s little dialogue between the biomedical community and the now established anti-research lobby and this isn’t surprising since they are effectively having different conversations. The biomedical community is figuring out how to improve animal welfare and is engaged in an ongoing harm/benefit debate. The demands of those opposed to animal research are effectively too uncompromising, too unreasonable, too damaging to the public good to be accommodated.

Their policy asks are all about banning research, which merely sends it abroad (often to places with lower regulatory standards), rather than doubling down on developing alternatives to animal studies which will be the only realistic way to reduce the overall number of animals used in research.

So are pro-research and anti-vivisection viewpoints, polar opposites?

Animal Rights perspectivesNo. The research community is supportive of measures to improve animal welfare while recognising the importance of balancing it with the needs of those suffering from disease worldwide.

Indeed agreement between researchers and the animal rights movement can be found through investment and development of alternative technologies, while accepting that some animals will continue to be needed in the foreseeable future. If only we could focus on that, instead of engaging in a public bun fight between two sectors which aren’t even having the same conversation.


Things to see at the 66th AALAS National Meeting

Phoenix AALASThere’s plenty to see at the 66th AALAS National Meeting, which starts on Sunday. Here are a few sessions, booths and activities we think are worth your while during your stay in Phoenix, Arizona.

Speaking of Research Poster!

We have submitted a poster (P155) this year for AALAS. So make sure you come and check it out.

Speaking of Research (SR) aims to provide accurate information about the importance of animal research in medical and veterinary science. Informed discussion is imperative to understanding differing points of view, but all too often the voice advocating the value of ethically conducted scientific research involving animals is absent. Scientists and laboratory animal science professionals (LASP) each have a crucial role in educating the general public and policy makers regarding the importance of this work. Scientists are able to provide unique insights about how and why they use animal models. Why is it important? How will animals and humans benefit from the knowledge that is gained? LASP are able to communicate the conditions in which the animals in scientific studies live. How are they cared for? Who looks after them? Are they treated with compassion and respect? SR believes that animal research should be conducted with the utmost care, responsibility, and respect towards the animals. […] SR believes that accurate information is necessary to underpin honest discussion surrounding the role of animals in science.

Crisis Planning Seminar (Monday, 8am, Room 120BC)

Is your institution’s crisis plan gathering dust on the top of some bookshelf? When did you last rehearse how you would react in the event of an infiltration by animal rights activists, records being leaked to reporters, research animals being “liberated”, or protests at the home of a researcher?

Chck out the seminar on Preparing for an Animal Activism Crisis: Lessons Learned on Monday morningThe session will look at examples of good and bad crisis handling in other sectors before focusing on what we can learn from crisis situations faced by animal research organisations in Europe and the US.

While there is very little we can do to anticipate how or when a crisis will arise, the fundamental principles of crisis management are the same. It is essential that we are prepared in an emergency, have clear guidelines as to how to operate during the crisis, and understand how to create a healthy operating environment afterwards.

For a topic as controversial and emotive as animal research, we also must plan in advance how we will reach out in a crisis to our various publics: the local community, reporters, elected officials, regulators, and others. This session will draw on first-hand experience of those working in research facilities in the United States and Europe that have faced such crises, and from experts in crisis communications for animal research. The session will outline the steps needed to prepare for a crisis, how to manage the crisis in the short term, and how to ensure that the reputations of institutions and researchers do not suffer long-term damage.

The seminar is chaired by Lynn Anderson (Covance) and facilitated by Jacquie Calnan of Americans for Medical Progress.The presenters are Wendy Jarrett, CEO of Understanding Animal Research; Kirk Leech of the European Animal Research Association; Friedhelm Vogel from Covance and Jim Newman of MD Anderson Cancer Center (who will speak about his experiences while at OHSU/ONPRC).

Openness and Animal Research: Making our Conversations Meaningful (Tuesday, 1pm, Room 131C, Workshop 17)

Bella Williams, supported by Wendy Jarrett, from Understanding Animal Research will be running an afternoon workshop to explore the issue of Openness around the use of animals in research. There has been a recent buzz about openness and transparency where animal research is concerned. But what does that mean, how does it work in practice, and will anyone believe that organisations are telling the truth? Both Bella and Wendy have been a key part of the development of the Concordat on Openness on Animals in Research, so if you want to learn more about it then book your place on this workshop now.

The 2014 Openness Awards celebrated efforts to encourage better communication about animal research

The 2014 Openness Awards celebrated efforts to encourage better communication about animal research

In the UK openness took a giant leap forward in 2014 with the launch of the Concordat on Openness in Animal Research. The Concordat had been developed over 18 months and included several rounds of consultation with public and stakeholders (including those opposed to animal research). Openness is something that everyone appears to want, no matter which side of the animal research “debate” they sit on. However, openness means different things to different people. So how do we define openness in a way that is meaningful? What do we need to tell people?

Booths – FBR (231) and AMP (232)

Two booths to check out of animal research advocacy groups which are working hard to support the research community in the US.

Foundation for Biomedical Research – Booth 231 in Exhibit Hall

Americans for Medical Progress – Booth 232 in the Exhibit Hall.

Both booths will be offering a variety of resources and educational materials to support researchers in their efforts to explain how and why they must conduct medical, veterinary and scientific research on animals. Take the opportunity to chat to staff there about how you can help.

So make sure you get the most out of your trip to the AALAS 66th National Meeting.

UK Government Minister says animal research is ‘vital tool’ for developing new treatments

Patrick Grady, the shadow Scottish National Party spokesman on International Development, recently asked the Government in parliamentary question, on 26th October 2015, if they would “issue a response to EDM 373, Applying Results of Experiments on Animals to Humans.”

Early Day Motion’s (EDMs) are regularly used by lobbyists to push their agenda, however their actual impact is minimal. EDM373 is the product of campaigning group, For Life on Earth which runs under a multitude of names including Patients Campaigning for Cures, NO to Animal Experiments, Oppose B&K Universal, Speaking of human based research and more. The group is inspired by the writing of Dr Ray Greek, and his Trans-Species Modeling Theory (a theory that few have heard of and even fewer subscribe to).

The EDM is the third time the motion has been made in three years (in 2014/15 it was EDM22, in 2013/14 it was EDM263) – with essentially the same message:

That this House notes the science-based campaign, For Life On Earth, which is critical of avoidable experiments on animals; further notes the new initiative, Patients Campaigning For Cures, which opposes animal models on medical grounds; is alarmed that scientific studies reveal that the widespread claimed ability of animals to predict human responses to drugs and disease is demonstrably false; acknowledges that over 90 per cent of drugs which test well in animals harm or otherwise fail humans, and that ignoring this has delayed cures including penicillin; notes that using animals to model humans contradicts currently accepted science, including evolutionary biology and genetics, which supports personalised medical care; further acknowledges the proclamation of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research to develop communications with the media and public; and calls for thorough, properly moderated public scientific debate on the misleading and costly practice of trying to apply results from animal experiments to human patients.

So we have the usual myths about 90% failure rates, penicillin, and delays in other treatments. There is also typical Ray Greek-inspired fluff about “currently accepted science”. Their demands for a debate might be reasonable (though debating and science are very different kettles of fish), though the conditions being set on the terms for this debate are not (see the last response from Understanding Animal Research on this subject).

Thankfully, the UK Government wasn’t falling for it. Jo Johnson MP, British Minister of State for Universities and Science, gave a strong response to the parliamentary question.

The Government considers that the carefully regulated use of animals in scientific research remains a vital tool in improving the understanding of how biological systems work and in the development of safe new medicines, treatments and technologies.

At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs), in particular through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, and also through ongoing UK-led efforts to encourage greater global uptake of the 3Rs.

Advances in biomedical science and technologies – including stem cell research, in vitro systems that mimic the function of human organs, imaging and new computer modelling techniques – are all providing new opportunities to reduce reliance on the use of animals in research. As part of this, Innovate UK is awarding £4m this year to fund collaborative projects with industry to support the development and application of new non-animal technologies.

EU and UK law requires safety testing on animals before human trials for new medicines can begin and animal research still plays an important role in providing vital safety information for potential new medicines.

The Early Day Motion (EDM 373) rightly draws attention to the UK life science sector’s Concordat on openness in animal research which was launched last year, and provides new opportunities for transparency and debate in this area.

Jo Johnson MP tours Cardiff University

Jo Johnson MP tours Cardiff University

Importance of animal research, use and development of alternatives and strict regulations are all mentioned in the response.

This question comes days after the UK Government released the annual statistics on animal research showing a slight dip in the number of procedures carried out.

Speaking of Research

Guest Post: Sex, Drugs and the Validity of the Animal Model

Dr. Swapna Mohan is a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. She is a veterinarian and recently completed her PhD in Molecular Physiology from Cornell University, NY. She is interested in maximizing the use of animals in research and agriculture, while keeping with humane and ethical standards.

The FDA has approved “female Viagra” flibanserin (a drug not without its controversies), for treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women. The drug, marketed as Addyi was initially tested as an anti-depressant. Clinical trials however, showed a statistically significant rise in satisfying sexual events reported by pre-menopausal women. A pre-clinical study on Long-Evans rats reports an increase in sexual behavior in females who have had their ovaries removed. Similar studies have been conducted on marmoset monkeys.

This inevitably leads to the question- how good are animal models at predicting human sexual behaviors? For this, we need to define sexual behavior. In animals this is easily described as manifested pre-copulatory behaviors, such as solicitation and copulatory behaviors, such as lordosis (arching of back). In humans this is a decidedly more complex phenomenon involving motivation and desire. Add to that societally influenced behaviors such as propriety (inhibitions against seeming overeager, showing desire to only specific people), thoughtfulness and affection and you get a whole grid of reactions constituting human sexual behavior.

Leopard Geckos mating

So how useful is it to use animals in pre-clinical studies of sexual dysfunction and drug response? For this, we need to first assess human sexual dysfunction and the criteria for evaluating drug response. Sexual dysfunction, especially female sexual dysfunction, is a group of symptoms with unclear causes- they maybe physical (failure of genital response, pain), chemical (fluctuation of serotonin and dopamine), psychological (anxiety, depression) in nature or a combination of all three. While most of the neurochemical changes might produce similar effects in animals and humans, the same cannot be said for hormonal changes. For instance, it is well known that ovariectomized (ovaries removed) female animals and females not in estrus (the period in which animals are in heat) show no response to males, whereas in women there is limited effect of ovarian hormones on sexual behavior as evidenced by sexual activity at different times of the menstrual cycle, and in post-menopausal women. Moreover, the manifestation of effects in humans and animals is also different. While a female animal may show avoidant behavior and defensiveness towards males, humans are known to engage in sexual relations despite having low desire for other reasons such as to maintain the relationship and as part of a transaction.

Similarly, there are fundamental differences in the act of copulation itself among species. For example, in rats copulatory sessions consist of alternating elements of approach and avoidance, mainly paced by the female. The female approaches the male, and moves away after an act of sexual stimulation has taken place. In humans it is a continuous session generally, with no avoidance or breaks in between. However, approach behaviors and more importantly, motivation for these approach behaviors might be similar in humans and animals.

Ideally animal models should respond to the same causative factors as humans with altered sexual activity. But it is very hard to assess something like the quality of a relationship in laboratory animals, despite it being one of the main reasons for lowered sexual activity in women. So does this mean that animals are useless as models of sexual function? Not at all. It just means that the questions we ask should be much more specific and our studies should be designed to reflect species similarities rather than differences. For instance, instead of focusing on copulatory behaviors such penile movements and lordosis, recent studies have shifted their attention to behavioral manifestations of desire and excitement such as increased locomotion and time spent near individuals of opposite gender. Such behaviors by themselves have not been used as indicatives of sexual activity in the past, but are now being considered anticipatory sexual behaviors. Reduced pacing was tested for being indicative of sexually anticipatory behavior in female rats, and in one study on the effect of the drug bremelanotide this behavior was significantly altered. And sure enough, when the drug moved onto Phase II clinical trials it produced the expected increase in arousal in women viewing erotic films.

But there is a potential for bias when using animal models. Care should be taken when interpreting an animal’s responses and correlating it to human response. It is very easy to anthropomorphize an animal and its responses. To prevent this, a thorough understanding of the social and behavioral processes of the species is essential. An oft cited example of anthropomorphism bias is the courtship behavior study of the fruit fly, Drosophila. Males communicate to females with wing flapping and researchers predicted that wing-clipped males would be less successful in mating because of the inability to produce flapping sounds. When the experiment was carried out however, wing-clipped males performed better than control males! The authors go on to explain that because they did not understand the fly’s ability to sense vibrations in addition to hearing sounds, it escaped their notice that the wing-clipped males could now produce faster vibrations (wing-beats).

Grouses Humoncomics

Image courtesy of Humoncomics

So validation is required not only for the experiments and the animal model used, but also for the way data is interpreted from these animal studies. While outwardly the causes of lowered sexual desire in humans maybe many (workplace stress, relationship issues) the underlying neural mechanisms of most are analogous to that of animals (anxiety, depression, addiction). Ultimately, humans and animals are biological entities. Animal studies have been invaluable in providing data for pre-clinical research of a wide range of diseases and disorders. Especially in the case of therapeutics, an understanding of the basic underlying physiology makes it easier to predict mechanisms of action and possible side effects.

However, it’s useful to keep in mind that not every disorder can be treated with just pharmacological intervention. And because of various root causes that are not physiological in nature, sexual dysfunction falls into this category. So in such cases it’s especially important to have valid animal models that provide consistent information that can be extrapolated to humans. Of course, a lot of gaps exist in our understanding of behavioral processes. So animal models can only be used by carefully defining criteria for evaluation, and by constant assessment and evaluation.

Swapna Mohan, BVSC (DVM), MS, PhD

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Animal Experiments in the UK: Government releases 2014 statistics

The UK Home Office has published its annual statistics showing the number of procedures carried out on animals covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986; this covers all vertebrate species. It shows that in 2014 there was a 6% fall in the number of procedures, from 4.12 million down to 3.87 million.

Click to Enlarge

Overall, 96.5% of animals used in scientific studies were mice, rats, fish or birds. Cats, dogs and primates (which are offered special protections under UK law) together accounted for less than 0.2% of the total (similar to in previous years). The statistics also reveal that half of all experiments were the breeding of GM animals which were not used in further experiments. Overall, 2/3 of all experiments involved genetically modified animals.

Number of Animals Used For Research in the UK 1945 - 2014

Last year’s plateau, and this year’s fall are likely to reflect the economic conditions for biomedical research (though the number of procedures is likely to lag R&D spending as research funding can last several years. Below we see the R&D expenditure of pharmaceutical companies in the UK over the last decade (note that this does not include R&D by universities, who conduct almost twice as much animal research in the UK as pharmaceutical companies). Spending slowed in 2012, which may be reflected in the animal numbers for 2014.

Pharmaceutical R&D in the UK

The fall in numbers may also be in influenced by further adoption of the 3Rs – Replacement, Refinement and Reduction. Home Office Minister, Lord Bates noted:

Today’s figures indicate the science community continues to respond to the Government’s firm commitment to adopting measures to replace, reduce and refine animal use.

Procedures on non-human primates stayed almost constant going from 3,236 procedures in 2013, to 3,246 in 2014. The number of procedures on cats fell 22% to 210 procedures and on dogs fell 14% to 4,107.

A ban on cosmetic testing on animals (1998) and of using great apes (gorillas, orang-utans and chimpanzees) in research (1986) meant both had zero procedures in 2014. There were 138 household product tests, all on rainbow trout for EU regulatory purposes. This comes after 2 years where no such tests have been done – household product testing on animals will be banned in November 2015.

For the first time the UK statistics include retrospective reporting of suffering. Rather than just submitting licence proposals to the Home Office that include estimated levels of suffering, the researchers now have to report on what was actually seen (using a variety of measures). Unfortunately the statistics put these in two separate tables (Table 3 and 8). So we have combined them to get severity for all procedures in 2014. We can see most experiments are sub threshold (28%; less than the introduction of a hypodermic needle) or mild (50%), with remainder as moderate (14%), severe (5%) or non-recovery (3.5%; the animal never awakes from anaesthesia).

Severity of procedures 2014 UK

It is important to note that in line with new EU requirements, the UK now reports animals used in studies completed, not started in the given year. The statistical release says:

As a result of the change to counting procedures completed as opposed to procedures started, all procedures started before 2014 but completed in 2014 should be in both the pre-2014 and 2014 figures. Any procedures started in 2014 but completed after 2014 will not be included in the 2014 figures. It is expected that these opposing effects will partly cancel each other out. Any impact of the change from counting procedures started to counting procedures completed will be temporary and will disappear from future years’ data collections.

Finally noting:

As a result, the 2014 data and comparisons with previous years’ data should be interpreted with some caution.

Speaking of Research congratulate the UK government on continuing to produce the most comprehensive statistics on animal experiments worldwide. It is also important to note that these statistics are released as a press conference each year where representatives from the scientific community speak about the importance of animals in research.

Speaking of Research

Find more on the stats here:

Read last year’s release here:

Animal Research Statements – Doing it Right

We recently updated our Animal Research Statements page. Now, not only can you find whether your institution has a statement on animal research (and where to find it), you can also see some information about what an institution’s animal research pages contain.

We now have a list of 177 position statements and web pages on animal research, of which 11 (including us) should be considered outstanding. These are the Max Planck Institutes for Biological Cybernetics Tüebingen (DE) and Neurology München (DE), Understanding Animal Research (UK), the Universities of Cambridge (UK), Oxford (UK), Imperial College London (UK), University College London UK), Michigan (US), Wisconsin-Madison (US), the National Primate Research Centers (US) and Speaking of Research.

A good statement should clearly lay out why an institution conducts, funds or supports the use of animals in research. Better information, case studies, facts, figures, images and video can help show the public why such research is crucial.

Michigan animal research

The University of Michigan website shows images of animals, provides information on their research, their animal welfare and much more

Our grading system gives institutions up to four ticks. These are awarded for:

  • More Information: Does the website contain additional information on a number of aspects its animal research, such as animal welfare, regulations, types of research etc.? (✓)
  • Extensive Information: Does the website provide extensive additional information, addressing commonly asked questions and specific information about the institution’s animal research programmes? (✓)
  • Case Studies: Does the institution have at least two case studies which explain how their researchers use, or have used, animals for scientific, medical or veterinary purposes? Case studies should be easily accessible from the animal research page(s). (✓)
  • Images / Videos: Does the website contain at least two images of animals from its own facilities, or any videos showing animals in its research?  (✓)

While it may seem that those institutions without any/many ticks are not doing a good job discussing their animal research online, they are doing infinitely better than the hundreds of institutions which do not discuss their animal research on their website at all. We congratulate each and every institution that puts up any statement which clearly explains why they conduct animal studies.

UK institutions are doing particularly well, both in terms of the proportion of institutions with statements, and the quality of web pages. Some of the credit for this should be attributed to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, led by Understanding Animal Research. So far in the UK, almost 100 organisations “involved with life science in the UK” have become signatories to the Concordat which commits them to:

Commitment 2:

We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals

  • Within one year of signing up to the Concordat we will make a policy statement about the use of animals in research available via our websites, to provide clear information about the nature of our own involvement with animal research and its role in the wider context of our research aims…


The UCL website provides images, statistics, facts, regulation information and much, much more

There are still many institutions which do not have any public facing information about their animal research. We need your help urging these institutions to put up information, as well as finding existing statements that we have missed on our list.


Speaking of Research is making a big push for institutions to be more open in their animal research. We believe outreach is an essential, not optional, part of research.