Tag Archives: school

Speaking out for Speaking of Research

Below is a report of a talk given by Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, a private practise vet who offered to give a talk about animal research at a school on behalf of Speaking of Research. SR regularly receives requests by students and teachers to talk to scientists, and we rely on the efforts of scientists to volunteer some of their time to give these talks. The US is a big place, and the more people offering to give talks, the better coverage we have. If you would be willing to be contacted in the future about giving a talk at a local school then please email tom@speakingofresearch.com, giving your contact details and your location.

On Thursday, April 8, 2010, the same day as the Pro-Test for Science rally at UCLA, Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, a veterinarian from Canton, CT, gave a presentation on behalf of Speaking of Research, to 75 high school seniors in North Stonington, CT. Dr. Goldman’s presentation was intended as a counterpoint to the anti-research stance of animal rights groups and was the concluding element of a senior project undertaken by senior Meredith Milligan of Wheeler High School in North Stonington.

Speaking after Ms. Stefanie Clark, a youth programs coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Dr. Goldman’s presentation successfully countered HSUS arguments against biomedical research in animals. While the HSUS presentation focused on covertly obtained video footage of primates in captivity obviously intended to shock the young audience, as well as failing to distinguish product safety testing from biomedical research, Dr. Goldman presented a balanced overview.

Dr. Arnold Goldman

Using information provided by Speaking of Research, Americans for Medical Progress and the American Physiological Society, as well as his own materials, Dr. Goldman detailed the facts about biomedical research in animals. His presentation included a discussion of the moral and ethical dilemmas that exist in animal research, the actual numbers of animals used, the efforts of scientists to reduce those numbers, the myth that animal research is currently replacable, and the myth that animal data is not relevant to humans.

Dr. Goldman also went into detail about a personal experience with development of a vaccine for canine melanoma, a deadly and previously untreatable cancer, which involved one of his patients. This vaccine, originally developed using mouse DNA, eventually underwent successful clinical trials in dogs, including Dr. Goldman’s patient. The dog lived almost 2000 days beyond the expected and died from an unrelated problem. Thereafter, the vaccine’s amazing success led to clinical trials in people with melanoma, where similar success has also been achieved. The students appeared to grasp the truth that while animals used in research should be treated with respect, there is a duty to society to strive to cure disease and that these cures may help animals as well as people.

Dr. Goldman is in private practice and is also a director of Americans For Medical Progress, pro-research educational non-profit.

Speaking of Research thank Dr. Goldman for putting his time into this important cause, and urge more scientists to contact us offering to help (it is luck of the draw when we are invited to speak in schools, and where those schools will be).

Three Challenges for the coming months

I recently gave a speech at the International Conference for Animal Research Policy, in it I laid out three challenges for the upcoming months. We’ve all heard of the 3R’s, so this is the 3ES’s:

Enabling Scientists

Encouraging Students

Educating Schoolchildren

We must enable scientists by providing them with an outlet to talk about their work. In Britain animals used in medical breakthroughs are prominently mentioned in news articles (indeed a frontpage headline “The Mouse than Sniffled” in The Independent (UK National Newspaper) shows how far the UK has come in talking openly about animal research, and its contribution to medical progress). A quick search on the BBC Health or science web pages will often bring up recent medical research, with the animals used mentioned openly in the 3rd or 4th paragraph. However the same is not true in the US, with scientists and institutions often hesitant to mention the use of animals in any press releases. The SR blog is just one small area where scientists can talk about the animals behind the medicine. Any scientists interested in writing a guest entry (or two) on their own research, or the research of others, should e-mail tom [at] speakingofresearch.org.

We must encourage students to speak up about animal research. Students today are the scientists of tomorrow – they are also in an environment which is condusive to academic debate on controversial issues. Students across the UK debated the issue of animal research when it stood in the public eye in 2006, and with students talking among themselves, blogging across the internet, preparing themselevs for careers in medicine, science, journalism and politics, they have the power to change public opinion. With the raw facts so convincingly on the side of animal research we must simply encourage students to talk about it in order to bring them onside.

Finally, we must educate schoolchildren. PeTA are in schools across the length and breadth of the country indoctrinating children into believing that animal testing is unnecessary, or cruel. They give presentations to classes of all ages, and offer teachers with one-stop lesson plans on the use of animals in medicine. Thus we too must be getting into schools, giving talks on the contribution of animals in medical research. If you are a scientist willing to give a talk at a local school then go and offer your services, most teachers would be glad to have a lesson off while someone else educates the kids.  Alternatively contact us and we will contact you at a later date if we are invited to speak at a school but are unable to make it. For you teachers out there, contact us to see if we can provide a speaker at your school, or check out these resources for teachers of elementary, middle and high school kids provided by Massachusetts Society for Medical Research.

So with these challenges in mind SR continues to press on.

Cheers

Tom