Firstly, two of our committee members, David Jentsch and Dario Ringach, published pieces in the Journal for Neuroscience and Journal for Neurophysiology. Both pieces leave the research community with much to think about:
We must now face the many threats to animal research in general and to neuroscience in particular. We must prove that “scientific community” means something more than the mere fact that we publish in the same journals and attend the same conferences. We must stand together to defend those colleagues under attack and defend the research we believe to be ethical and critical for our understanding of the brain in health and disease. The public is ready to listen.
The Journal of Neuroscience, September 16, 2009, 29(37):11417-11418
Their second article urged scientists back the Pro-Test Petition (now at 10,000 signatures), as well as calling for unity among the research community.
We ask that you join us in mobilizing the entire scientific community to defend biomedical research. You can start with the easy step of signing the petition at www.raisingvoices.net, which already counts with nearly 10,000 signatories [now over 10,000 since publish date]. Write to your representatives explaining the dangers of the escalating animal rights extremism for basic and translational research and urge your colleagues to do the same. Reach out to your students and local communities to explain the value of research; no one has a greater responsibility for explaining and defending your research than you do. If you teach medical students, make sure they understand the contribution of animal research to the material they are learning. Come up with your own ideas about how to make a difference and share them with us.
Together we can have a profound impact on what is growing into an important public debate. If we stand together as a community, we will be heard.
The Journal of Neurophysiology 102(3): 2009
Finally Jeffrey Kordower, made a particularly poignant point about how people must speak up.
In summary, as individual scientists I urge you to be proactive, be concerned, and be a loud voice for the responsible use of animals in research and be completely intolerant of criminals’ intent on preventing the honest performance of our important work.
The Journal of Neuroscience, September 16, 2009, 29(37):11419-1142
Every scientist who speaks up, be it on a journal, in a newspaper, or in their classroom, helps to inspire the next advocate for lifesaving research. What will you do to get involved?