I would like to share an old news debate on animal research between Simon Festing (Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research) and Nicky Gordon (Dr. Hadwen Trust):
There is much that can be learned from Simon’s interview technique.
- Have information on the benefits of animal research readily to hand – Simon looked ready to list 100’s of examples, bolstering his argument
- Use recent examples – such as Herceptin – prevents others accusing scientists of only looking to decades gone
- Interject if necessary, but keep it short – Simon’s counter-point at 2:25 effectively destroys Vicky’s argument
- Although “millions of people can’t be wrong” is not a good argument, pointing to the weight of expert scientific opinion behind animal research is!
Scientists and other university officials around the world are going to need to become more confident with talking about the benefits of animal research rather than using their limited time in the news condemning extremists. Condemning extremists is important – but it is made more effective by pointing to the damage they do to lifesaving medical science.