July 19, 2022
Speaking of Research, founded in 2008, encourages everyone to play a role in communication, dialogue, and education about animal research. For some, public outreach and advocacy are a natural extension of their work. For others, time and energy can be a barrier. The questions might be:
- Where do I start?
- Are there materials available to help?
- How do I reach out to people who are interested?
- My institution/employer is reluctant to speak out, how do I encourage them to do so?
Recognizing that time and energy can be barriers for those with other full-time jobs, Speaking of Research has a long history and trove of resources to help.
- Where do I find basic Facts about animal research?
- What is the answer to Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about animal research?
- How does animal research and testing lead to medical advances? Medical benefits
- How does animal research and testing benefit other animals? Veterinary benefits
- How are different species of animals used in research? Research indexed by species
- Is there a place to find animal research indexed by disease?
- What is the short story on research regulations for animal research?
- What is speciesism and why should I know about it?
- Quick way to learn about debate tactics: Animal rights bingo
Are you wondering about some of the main themes that come up in outreach, education, and dialogue about animal research? There are several core and evergreen themes worth knowing about whether you are new to speaking about animal research or are looking for a shortlist of reading to help others. Of the 500+ posts on the Speaking of Research site, we’ve selected a few that address some of the common topics, including the basic issues, ethics and philosophy, the role of basic science, debate tactics, misrepresentation, regulation, animal welfare, and others. See the list at the end of the post.
What can you, your institution, or your scientific society do?
Speaking of Research has many posts and resources to answer questions, encourage outreach, and provide advice on launching (or refining) communication. On occasion we hear from people who want to engage in public outreach about animal research but encounter barriers at their institution or company. Speaking of Research believes that institutions, organizations, and individuals involved in animal research and testing have obligations to support the research and public engagement. This graphic provides a simple illustration of our view of best practices and why they should be a common approach.
Here are a few of our recommendations.
- University leadership and animal research: A Dean’s perspective (2009)
- Basic Science is Fundamental Science (2009)
- Speaking Up – who does “no comment” work for? (2010)
- Outreach, not out of reach (2012)
- Open letter to the laboratory animal veterinary community and research institution administration (2012)
- Raising the bar: What makes an effective public response in the face of animal rights campaigns (2013)
- Charities doing animal research right (2013)
- What makes a good animal research statement (2014)
- A New Year resolution for the new academic year (2015)
- Research institutions’ moral responsibility (2017)
- Cameras in Labs: Animal research visualized (2017)
- SFN Attendees: Does your research depend on animal models? (2017)
- Debunking the Absurd “Taxpayer Waste” Argument (2018)
- #FactCheckNeeded: How are mice and rats accounted for in the balance of science, medicine, and animal welfare? (2021)
- World week to speak up about animal research (2022)
Media briefings and photos
Are you speaking with a journalist? Need a concise backgrounder to provide to your communications office? Speaking of Research has posted media briefings for the US, UK, Germany and Canada for many years. We update these annually with current statistics for each of the countries. The briefings are concise– 2 pages – and offer basic information about animal research. We encourage you to share these with your media, communications, or PR department and use them yourselves as a resource you can offer journalists and others who are interested. If your country isn’t included and you’d like to help us create one, please reach out to us. SR also provides photographs that you can share with others and use in your own presentations. https://speakingofresearch.com/links/media-downloads/#1
Are you looking to improve your institution’s website? Or to create one? Since 2014, Speaking of Research has searched, found, analyzed, listed, and rated nearly 400 institutional websites using a rating system developed by SR’s founder, Tom Holder. Find models and advice here: Statements of animal research
Talks about animal research
Speaking of Research committee members regularly give talks about animal research to a variety of audiences. Find a few of those that are publicly posted here:
- Speaking of Research founder, Tom Holder: “Why we use animals in research”
- Speaking of Research senior editor, Prof. Allyson Bennett webinar: “Balancing Public Interests, Benefits, and Risks in Animal Research” (June 2016) and public talk: “Animal Research: Why We Need It and Who It Helps” (October 2021)
- Speaking of Research founder, Tom Holder: Imperial College’s Big Animal Research Debat
Worldwide animal numbers
For over a decade, Speaking of Research has tracked, analyzed, and posted publicly-available statistics on the number of animals in research and testing. Our worldwide animal numbers page is a popular resource. To our knowledge, it is the first and only source that collects and posts animal numbers reports from countries around the globe. Find those here: Animal research statistics
Many hands, many voices
Speaking of Research believes that the community involved in animal research, public outreach, and advocacy should work together to maximize their reach and impact for common goals. We often feature the efforts of other organizations, individuals, and institutions and we appreciate those who help amplify and disseminate our work. We encourage you to go over, take a look, and make use of the resources offered by the many individuals and groups who are working hard on sharing news, views, and ideas about animal research. You can find those here: https://speakingofresearch.com/links/
Would you like to write a guest post or get involved?
Over the years Speaking of Research has hosted many guest posts by writers ranging from scientists to public outreach directors, members of other advocacy organizations, veterinarians, university administrators, animal caretakers, and others. You can find those here.
Speaking of Research is a committee of volunteers donating their time and energy to run the website and blog, answer questions, talk to members of the media, help scientists and institutions under attack, and create materials anyone can use.
If you’d like to join us, please reach out. Learn more here: Get Involved – Speaking of Research.
- Basic issues
- Ethics, philosophy, and starting assumptions
- The human or the mouse, would you flip a coin? (2011)
- The moral relevance of human intelligence (2012)
- Saving life on Earth (2014)
- The ethics and value of responsible animal research (2016
- Not just intelligence, why humans deserve to be treated better than animals (2016)
- Why testing on prisoners is a bad idea (2016)
- A roadmap for a public discussion of the ethics of animal research (2019)
- Connecting action to consequence, should those opposed to animal research and testing follow the Catholics’ model? (2021)
- Value of basic science and how basic discoveries lead to medical advances
- Should medicines have labels that include animal research and testing?
- Bans and other legislative campaigns against animal research
- November 2019, what’s happening with campaigns and legislation aimed at US animal research and testing? (2019)
- Strategy by the numbers, how to ban dog research and testing in the US and why it would be pad for public health (2020)
- The UK is hoping to pass an animal sentience bill again (2021)
- Performative politics and animal research, when is a ban not a ban? (2022)
- Openness and transparency
- Animal welfare
- Animal rights vs. Animal welfare 101, a crash course for legislators (2012)
- Sanctuary, Zoo, Lab: name games or core differences? (2016)
- When are rats, mice, birds, and fish protected by US federal laws? (2016)
- Can we agree? On ongoing dialogue about where retired research chimpanzees should live (2016)
- The difference between pain and suffering (2018)
- International collaborations can both maintain animal welfare standards & advance science (2021)
- Common tactics of anti-animal research campaigns
- Speaking up, confronting misrepresentation (2010)
- Gish gallop (2012)
- Speaking of Research calls for support of global science stand against international bias and reject PETAs ethics dumping accusations to scientists leaving Europe (2020)
- Statistics out of context, predictability, and utility of animal models (2013, 2022)
- Common debate tactics and misrepresentations of animal research
- Animal rights bingo (2011)
- Lori Gruen on the ethical justification of animal research experiments (2012)
- Speaking of research debate at Imperial College London (2013)
- Ignorance or deception? (2013)
- A public conversation on animal ethics: The good, the bad, and the ugly (2013)
- Animal testing: Is it really a polarized debate? (2015)