Longtime Animal Rights Target Advocates for Increased Transparency to Counter Misinformation and Threats

Speaking of Research readers might recognize the name Christine Lattin. She’s the Louisiana State University scientist (and former Yale post-doctoral researcher) who studies stress hormones and neurotransmitters in birds.  

Christine Lattin
Christine Lattin

We’ve written about her research in the past. In doing so, we’ve pointed out PETA’s many misleading claims about Dr. Lattin’s studies. We’re also pleased that many of you joined us  in condemning the repeated harassment of this well-regarded scientist.       

Dr. Lattin is back in the news this week – not because of an animal rights stunt aimed at generating headlines – but for the right reasons. She was one of three scientists profiled by Nature in a story on how researchers responded to online harassment. 

In the article, Lattin explains how PETA’s campaign resulted in hundreds of vicious email messages and even death threats. She also shared how some of the most threatening actions took place through social media, specifically on her personal Facebook page. However, despite months of harassment, Lattin opted to speak out.   

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“I was advised to let it blow over and not respond, but that didn’t seem to make things better, and it might have made them worse. I decided to defend myself and get different information out there regarding these claims. So I started talking to journalists about my work and speaking up on social media. Taking ownership of my own story made me feel like less of a victim. It’s crucial to be open and transparent about our work and advocate for its importance.”

“I address the false claims directly when possible. I make clear how and why I do this work and that those of us doing animal research receive a ton of oversight. I explain that a lot of people are in place to make sure the animals are taken care of, that suffering is minimized and that the research is justified. For example, every study I do is approved by a university Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and both universities I have worked for are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International. All my research complies with the Ornithological Council’s Guidelines for the Use of Wild Birds in Research.” 

The full Nature article can be found here. 

Speaking of Research applauds Dr. Lattin for her courage, her commitment to transparency and her recognition that scientists need to take a more active role in advocating for and defending their research.  

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