Scientists affirm need to defend research

The recent commentary by Ringach and Jentsch (both Speaking of Research committee members) on need for scientists to defend biomedical research publicly is beginning to generate a consensus amongst top biomedical researchers around the world.

Their commentary is now the top rated Biology article in the Faculty of 1000 system.  The Faculty of 1000 is an information clearinghouse in which leading scientists identify crucial scientific perspectives for discussion and promulgation. The recognition of their comments by the Faculty of 1000 indicates the rise of a new tide of advocacy and determination amongst the scientific community to confront threats to research.

Among the various comments one can read:

This article, written by two scientists at UCLA who have been the victims of appalling terrorist attacks because of the research they carry out, provides a timely and much-needed attempt to galvanize the scientific community to speak out in support of the responsible use of animals in research.
Ringach and Jentsch persuasively argue that the scientific community must adopt a stronger, more proactive, and more united stance against the violence, intimidation, and misinformation programs of animal-rights extremists.
Ringach and Jentsch highlight in their article the continuing problems that researchers face from anti-vivisectionists. They have experienced at first-hand the intimidation, terrorism and violence that these groups inflict upon scientists in the name of animal welfare. This article states that the greatest benefit would come from educating the public of the need for animal research and the improvements in animal welfare already undertaken by researchers. The issues affect researchers everywhere; recent past experience in the UK, and ongoing problems in Germany and Switzerland, highlight the need for international efforts to better inform people about the benefits of animal research.

This commentary is important as it summarizes succinctly the harassment and other difficulties faced by animal researchers in the United States, particularly those working on non-human primates, and encourages all of us to face up to the threats to our work by proposing that the scientific community seek to better inform the public about their research.
Clearly, a rapidly increasing proportion of scientists agree that time has come to seek a broader dialogue with the public and voice our collective opinions, so that the public can reach an informed decision on the use of animals in biomedical research.