Putting Public Polls in Perspective

Research!America, a not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance, has been polling the public on their views on animal research for the last decade. In 2011, when asking whether people “believe the use of animals in medical research is necessary for progress in human health”, found:

At first, these results may seem positive – twice as many people believe that animal research is necessary as do not. It should be  noted that the question asks for a belief about the efficacy of animal research rather than a moral position on it, but it is likely that the results would be close either way. Nonetheless, these seemingly positive results hide a downward trend over the past decade.

The first point of interest is that in 2008, when Research!America stopped providing a “don’t know” option, those who would otherwise claim ignorance have sided against animal research. However, even with the “don’t knows” added to the “no” vote, there has still been a definite rise in those who do not believe that animals are necessary to medical research. With support now dipping below 70% it would seem that it is now more important than ever to ensure that the public is aware about the links between animal research and the medical benefits that they help to develop It is up to scientists, universities and other research institutions to ensure that the media is provided with the information to allow them to include animal research in their stories.


Tom Holder