Category Archives: SR News

Veterinarians Bringing Research to the Public

Scientist, technicians, animal care attendants and veterinarians all have different roles to play in explaining how and why animals are ethically used to advance scientific discoveries and improve therapeutic treatments of illness. Speaking of Research committee member Michael Brunt was asked to speak to laboratory animal veterinarians and LA veterinary residents from Canada and northeastern USA about the role of their profession in public outreach. The Mini-Laboratory Animal Symposium was hosted by the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

Michael Brunt talks Science

Michael Brunt talks Science

While scientists are the most appropriate group to explain the importance and relevance of their research, veterinarians are likewise the most appropriate group to explain to the public the aspects of medical care, husbandry and welfare of these animals. Pictures accessed through Freedom of Information requests or “under cover” videos are frequently taken out of context and presented in a way that misrepresents the accuracy of image to the public (here, here, here). Veterinarians have a vital role to explain the medical procedures depicted in many of these images. Many of these procedures, like TB testing, are part of a routine clinical care and diagnostic testing that ensures the health and welfare of the animals in their care.

It is imperative that misinformation be corrected to ensure that the public has an accurate understanding of what is occurring with animals used in science. All professionals working in this field have a role to play to bring research to the public.

Speaking of Research

Speaking of Research speak to future vets

The Ontario Veterinary College hosted the 3rd annual symposium of the University of Guelph Future Vets Club which explored topics related to the impacts of human-animal interactions. Speaking of Research committee member Michael Brunt was invited to speak about embracing the human-animal bond in research. The one day symposium offered a diverse selection of human –animal topics including medicine, parasitology, research, wildlife, epidemiology and animal welfare.

FVC Symposium 2015

Michael presented a lecture discussing the importance of the human-animal bond that develops with research animals. The 50 delegates in attendance were provided with background on why animal research is necessary as well as the debunking of several myths commonly perpetuated by animal rights groups. An extensive list of myths can be found on our “Animal Rights BINGO” post.  People that work with and care for research animals love animals. They treat them with the compassion and respect they deserve and provide them with the highest quality of life while they are with us. Further reading can be seen on our previous posts “Why I Became an Animal Technologist” and “Why I am a Laboratory Animal Veterinarian”.

The lecture offered an opportunity to present accurate information about the use of animals in research and further productive discussion surrounding this important issue. Many members of SR are involved in outreach. Please contact us if you are interested in having someone speak at your institution or conference.

Speaking of Research

Five Star review for Speaking of Research website

A few months after the Speaking of Research website got full marks in a recent review we’ve done it again. In Lab Animal Europe‘s Website of the Month, Speaking of Research got an overall score of five out of five and was considered ‘Excellent’ for Ease of Use, Content and Visual Impact.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

It concludes:

All, in all, this is an excellent and informative website. […] We highly recommend it.

A big thanks to Lab Animal Europe for the review and we’ll keep trying to add “more information, more updated news, and, actually, more of everything we loved about this website“.

Speaking of Research

We Need You – Help us keep SR running

Speaking of Research (SR) was founded in 2008 thanks to the support and generosity of American’s for Medical ProgressMichael D Hayre Fellowship in public outreach. SR’s ongoing website costs, then around $100/year were paid by AMP. In February 2011, the British advocacy group Pro-Test wrapped up their operations and left a small sum of money (~$300) to SR which has thus far funded our website costs. This money has now run out, and we would like to give our supporters an opportunity to help us continue our activities. We now require around $150/year for website costs.

We like to think we have used the little money we have effectively. From around 25,000 website views in 2008 we have grown to well over 500,000 views/year in the last 12 months. Does HSUS, with revenues over a million times ours, achieve a million times the web reach? We sincerely doubt it.

Speaking of Research Funding

HSUS – The Humane Society of the United States – 2012 Annual Report
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – 2013 Financial Statement
AAVS – American Anti-Vivisection Society – 2012 Annual Report
NAVS – National Anti-Vivisection Society – Animal Action Report 2013

We are asking for any small, individual donations, up to $15 (£10/€10), which would put towards our website costs. Any excess that we receive will go towards other online activities such as promoting posts on various social media platforms in order to boost our readership. Please use the donate button below. We thank you in advance for your kind support.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Please do not give larger donations. We would like to have a large base of small supporters donating. Any donations are accepted on a no strings attached basis. This donate button also exists permanently at the bottom of our “About” page.

Some people have had problems making donations by debit/credit card. If you find changing the country from UK does not change the British “provinces” (to, say, US “states”), try picking a random country first, wait for it to change the menu options, then change to your chosen country (and wait a few seconds). This should work.

Remember that donating is not the only way of supporting SR. We need your help to share and like our posts on social media on Facebook and Twitter (and Reddit and Google+ and every other social media platform). We need your help to link to our website. We need your help telling your friends and colleagues about the role of animals in medical research. And, perhaps most of all, we need your help writing for Speaking of Research – either as guest posters or as part of the committee – so please get more involved today.

Speaking of Research

Tweet for Science!

We have written thousands of tweets about animal research since we opened our accounts a little over five years ago. Now we want you to help us spread our Twitter messages.

We have created a list of short, tweet-able, facts on our new “Arguments For Animal Research” page. Each fact is followed by a “Tweet This” button which will automatically open your Twitter status page, with the tweet ready to go – all you have to do is press Tweet.

Clicking the Tweet this button will bring in up page like this

Clicking the Tweet this button will bring in up page like this

These short facts were inspired by Understanding Animal Research’s successful page entitled “40 reasons why we need animals for research”. While our list is currently limited to 29 facts, we hope to continue to add to our list until we surpass even UAR’s impressive list.

Have you got ideas for some more tweetable facts? Tell us in the comments below. They need to be 102 characters (including spaces) so that we can fit a link back to the page and our Twitter after it.

Remember to shout "For Science!" when clicking the Tweet this button. Cartoon by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Remember to shout “For Science!” when clicking the Tweet this button. Cartoon by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

 

So, for science, it is time to get tweeting and make sure those around you know the important role that animals play in medical research. Perhaps try to post a pro-research message each week on Twitter.

Speaking of Research

Background Briefing on Animal Research in the UK

In February we launched our US briefing. In April we launched our Canadian briefing. Now, we’re launching our UK background briefing on animal research (all of these can be found on the resources page). We hope this will offer journalists, editors, broadcasters and interested members of the public who may wish to discuss this issue, a handy overview of the facts. Our two-page summary provides key information including the number of animals used for research purposes, the laws and regulations surrounding animal research, and some key questions people have.

Download the briefing here.

UK animal research media briefing

We permit anyone to redistribute this briefing providing it remain unchanged, and in whole, with credit to Speaking of Research.

Our briefings are based on the Science Media Centre’s “Briefing Notes on the Use of Animals in Research”. We thank the Science Media Centre for offering their support.

Speaking of Research

To learn more about the role of animal research in advancing human and veterinary medicine, and the threat posed to this progress by the animal rights lobby, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Top marks for Speaking of Research website

The industry magazine Lab Animal occasionally reviews websites applicable to it’s readers. Earlier this year, they reviewed the Speaking of Research website. The article does a good job of relaying the history behind how Speaking of Research began and some background on the people involved. They also note that SR does a lot of reporting on situations with animal extremists in Europe and North America.

The reviewer goes through each section of the website giving their readership the basic idea behind each of the sections and points out a few of the more interesting items beyond just news items, including games, quizzes and an article on Gorgon aliens.

In reviewing our “AR Undone” section (now called “Animal Rights Pseudoscience”), which responds to 19 common myths used by animal rights groups, the reviewer described SR’s responses as “authoritative, heavily references and, in some cases, linked to other websites and documents.”

“This is an excellent, informative site … It’s a must read for any animal researcher.”

The Speaking of Research website is then graded on content, appearance and usability, receiving the maximum of five out of five paws in each category.

Speaking of Research website rating

Read the full article

We are very pleased to have received such high marks from Lab Animal and truly appreciate the review.

Pamela