On Wednesday I travelled in Dublin to participate in a debate on animal research at the Historical Society (debating union) at Trinity College Dublin.
The motion debated was “This house believes Trinity has too little respect for nature” – with a strong focus on animal research reinforced by the two guest speakers, myself and Yvonne Smalley of the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society. Sadly, only a few hours before the debate was due to begin, Smalley pulled out from the debate.
With five speakers per side debate was lively. Approaches from the anti-vivs focused on animal rights, with much of the floor adding their points for and against the concept. See our section on AR beliefs for a deconstruction of the “Animals have Rights” argument. Some common misconceptions on animal welfare were also used – certain people were not aware of strict regulations surrounding animal research, and others believed that cosmetic testing was carried out at Trinity (this is not the case, and further more all cosmetic testing will be banned in Europe from March 2009).
My own speech covered the many and varied benefits of animal research, the regulations involved in ensuring animal welfare standards, and some of the crucial research going on at Trinity College Dublin, such as their development of a mouse model for Retinal Pigmentosa (a form of Blindness) which looks promising for the development of a future treatment.
Finally the debate came to vote – with a convincing victory for the “nays” over the “ayes”, with a belief that trinity college is committed to crucial medical research carried out in a considerate and respectful manner.