School visits about animal research have usually been the domain of animal rights groups like HSUS and PETA, however a new program is set to challenge that. Scott Dobrin and Elizabeth Burnett, with the support of Americans for Medical Progress’ Michael D. Hayre Fellowship, have built a program for schools which aims to address the misinformation put about by animal rights organisations. Welcome to SHARE – Speaking Honestly – Animal Research Education. When I asked them about their program they had this to say.
SHARE helps students form their own opinions on the use of animals in research though a simulated classroom discussion. It is a teacher-led experience that can be easily carried out in any educational setting with the tools and resources we provide. SHARE is designed for young adults who are still in the process of forming their own morals and values, many of which will stay with them the rest of their lives. Initially developed for both science majors and other college students, SHARE is readily adapted for secondary school audiences.
Through SHARE, students are introduced to animal rights, animal welfare, and animal exploitist points of view. First in small groups, and later as a whole class, students discuss the issues surrounding the use of animals in research by evaluating a sample research proposal. They are asked for their own opinions as well as the concerns they believe a scientist, a veterinarian, and a member of the public would hold, all the while unknowingly acting much like an IACUC. While creating a list of approved guidelines, students see their diverse attitudes revealed in their choices of acceptable animal research rules and regulations. They then are introduced to the concept of an IACUC and come to understand the value that the research community places on animal welfare.
On our website, http://sharehappens.org , you can find all the information you need to facilitate SHARE in the classroom. In addition to logistical tips for organizing the class and teaching tips useful for engaging students, you will find an interactive and detailed lesson plan complete with keys to success, talking points, time checkpoints, and references to the appropriate slides of the included powerpoint presentation. If you need more information on the topic of animals in research, the links page has a listing of several resources, both in support of and opposed to animal research, to read more. It is a one stop shop for facilitating SHARE in the classroom.
We, at Speaking of Research, wish Scott and Elizabeth all the continued success with their program.