Tag Archives: speaking of research

Speaking of Research Leaflet

When Speaking of Research first started we had a wonderful leaflet which was produced for us by Americans for Medical Progress. In the following six years, Speaking of Research has changed and evolved and as such we have been long overdue for a new leaflet, which we can now unveil.

Download PDF here, or click pictures below.

Speaking of Research is a voluntary organization which relies on your support. We are always looking for new people to get involved in explaining the role of animals in research, and it’s up to you to help us find those people.

Speaking of Research Leaflet Page 1

Speaking of Research Leaflet Page 2

Speaking of Research continues to grow, with website traffic likely to double this year, and the information on the website continually updated.

Check out our Speaking of Your Research campaign to get more people discussing their own research.

Speaking of Research

Speaking of Research website continues to evolve

Much has changed in six years on the internet. In 2008, Twitter had only just launched, Facebook had under 100 million users, and Internet Explorer was the most popular browser (you know who you are!). Our website has also seen massive changes over the time period. We have posted almost 650 articles to our blog, and redesigned the website several times.


Many of you will have noted another raft of changes in the last week. Our banner image has changed for the first time ever and our front page now uses clickable buttons rather than long winding descriptions. I hope you find it an improvement.

We have also added more information about starting your own Pro-Test group, setting out a section of the website for information on regional Pro-Test groups such as Pro-Test Italia.

So the big question is what would you like to see on the Speaking of Research website? Please leave comments telling us what you think of the latest incarnation Speaking of Research website and what new pages or features you would like to see.

Thank you

Speaking of Research

Frequently Asked Questions up on Website

We have just put a new FAQ up on the website which covers five of the most frequently asked questions we get about animal research. They are:

  • Aren’t animals different than people?
  • Don’t we have alternatives to animal research?
  • Is all research on cats, dogs and primates?
  • Don’t the animals suffer in experiments?
  • Who cares for animals’ welfare in labs?

It is important that the scientific community deals with all types of queries from the public about animal testing. This FAQ aims to address some of the most basic questions that those interested about animal experiments may have, however it is also important to debunk many of the myths which are propagated by animal rights groups (e.g. Doesn’t aspirin kill cats).

Speaking of Research aims to provide clear and accurate information about the role of animals in research. If you feel there is more information that would be helpful then please let us know.

Speaking of Research: The Fifth Anniversary

If Speaking of Research was a person in the US, entering its sixth year of life, they should have received vaccines for the following: chickenpox, diphtheria, Hib, HepA, HepB, flu, measles, mumps, pertussis (Whooping Cough), polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus, rubella and tetanus (a similar schedule exists in the UK). All of these have depended on animal research (see previous links). If we were born prematurely we would have relied on incubators and corticosteroids, both products of animal research. Asthma is also common, affecting 1 in 10 children in Britain; once again, treatments are thanks to animal experiments.

Given the huge benefits of animal research, it is important that people continue to stand up and explain clearly and scientifically, the reason that animal research must continue. To celebrate our five year anniversary, some of our committee members came together to produce a number of pledges of what they would do to communicate the importance of this issue as SR enter its sixth year.

(YouTube link – please vote and leave a positive comment)

Speaking of Research have moved from strength to strength over the past 5 years. Our website readership in 2012 more than doubled from the year before, and we are now the most read pro-animal-research website on the web.

Please celebrate with us by posting a video, image or comment saying how you will help people understand the role of animals in research. Send them to us at contact@speakingofresearch.com

What will your pledge be?

Speaking of Research

Speaking of Research? Speak with Us

After a hugely successful 2012, Speaking of Research is setting its sights ever higher. Since it’s inception in 2008, Speaking of Research has grown into the largest trafficked website explaining the important role of animals in medical research (last year alone our traffic more than doubled). Indeed WordPress informs me that we get over five times more visits than Liechtenstein.

Now we need your help – we need more people to get involved in writing for us – this can be through guest posts or by joining the committee and writing from within. Articles are generally 400 – 1200 words in length and can be . We need help writing about:

Internet Writing Science BlogSo what are you waiting for, tear yourself away from your research paper and offer to spend an 30 minutes this year writing something in defence of lifesaving animal research.

Contact us via “contact@speakingofresearch.com”


Tom Holder

Speaking of 2012: A year in Summary

It has been a fantastic year for Speaking of Research, reflected in the fact that the website traffic has more than doubled (130% growth and still rising). Thus trying to summarise will be the 127th post of the year thanks to the commitment of our committee. An extra special thanks has to go to four of our most regular authors – Allyson Bennett, Dario Ringach, Paul Browne and Tom Holder.

This year has provided many posts on the ethics and welfare discussions surrounding animal research – starting with the very first post of 2012 on the meaning of “being humane”. We also discussed the ethics of negative results, why not doing research is morally wrong, why animal rights groups are wrong to use marginal case arguments (e.g. cognitively impaired people), the idea of graded moral status, and the relevance of moral intelligence. Another common theme was that of Free Speech and how it can be used to stifle the free speech of others. Parallels were made with how anti-abortion extremists create a climate of fear among their opposition.

Science has always been at the centre of the Speaking of Research website. Among many topics we have written about early successes with using stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue, how cooling the body could improve life chances of stroke victims, huge leaps forward in facial transplant surgery, using Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis to prevent genetic diseases in IVF embryos, several  different advances in paralysis treatment (in dogs as well), new treatments for TB, a new Meningitis B vaccine, and how human embryonic stem cells have helped gerbils’ hearing. Breath. Oh, and both the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to work requiring animal models.

GM mice have made crucial contributions to our understanding of Fragile X syndrome. Image courtesy of Understanding Animal Research.

We discussed how GM mice are helping research Fragile X Syndrome

Other than scientific advances, we also spend a fair amount of time debunking common animal rights crank myths such as surrounding Adverse Drug Reactions, that research is just about money and . SR has helped defend a number of organisations from animal rights misinformation, including Cardiff University’s research on kittens, UW Madison’s research on cats, and the University of British Columbia’s research on monkeys. We have called on people to build their own networks for science to counter the animal rights nonsense (#ARnonsense) they propagate online.

Speaking of Research has always taken a strong stance against animal rights extremism, posting about Camille Marino’s threats, arrest and prosecution as well as Stephen Best’s war against fellow activists, baseless legal threats against us, and why he may have breached ethical standards on academic conduct.

A number of outreach initiatives started this year including Speaking Honestly – Animal Research Education (SHARE), Brainfacts.org, and Keep Research Afloat. Many organisations could still do more as was shown by the statements about research from pharmaceuticals and charities. However, we must congratulate those institutions, like Leicester University, that did outreach right. Of course one of the biggest outreach stories of the year was one we covered only last week, the launch of Pro-Test Italia!

Our own outreach efforts have included a series of guest postings, starting with David Abbott’s post on polycystic ovary syndrome. This precipitated the “Many Voices Speaking of Research” series of guest posts [See post 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

So to finish our roundup with a bit of fun, go and play our hugely popular Animal Rights Bingo game.

Merry Christmas Mouse

So Happy Holidays, and have a great New Year!

Speaking of Research

Public Opinion and the Importance of Transparency in the UK

The UK has a long history of animal rights activism and many might expect the public to be a difficult crowd to win over. However over the years the British public have expressed overwhelming support for the use of animal experiments for medical purposes. In 2010 90% were conditional acceptors (that is agreeing with medical research provided suffering is minimised and there are no alternative methods – all of which must be true if a project is to be licensed in the UK) and 60% were unconditional accepts.

So it was with some disappointment that the release of the latest Ipsos MORI polls which show a 5% drop in conditional accepts to 85%, and a 5% drop in unconditional accepts to 55%. To put in perspective, the British public still firmly support the humane, regulated use of animal research in concordance with the use of the 3Rs. It was notable that the survey found that support for animal research and enthusiasm for science was highest among those with higher levels of educational attainment, which should noth be surprising as the Ipsos MORI report notes that “Greater knowledge of science tends to garner more favourability towards it – so ABs [a higher socioeconomic group] are more positive about science’s role (84%), just as they claim to be best informed about scientific developments”.

Nonetheless, David Willetts, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, attended a press conference on the release of the statistics stating that animal research forms a small but vital component of bio-medical research. He also offered examples of some of the UK Medical Research Council funded work in dementia that involved animal work.

So how have research institutions and advocacy groups responded to the (albeit small) drop in support by the public? With action!

Understanding Animal Research have organised the “Declaration on Openness on Animal Research,” signed by 41 institutions including medical research charities (inc. Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Research UK), Universities (inc. Oxford and Cambridge), Pharmaceuticals (inc. GSK and AstraZeneca) and other institutions. Those signatories have agreed:

The life sciences sector is at the forefront of developing ground breaking treatments and cures which transform the lives of humans and animals. To do this we need to increase understanding of normal biological functions and disease. Where possible, we use cells grown in a lab, computer models and human volunteers. When this isn’t possible, research may involve animals. When we need to use animals, we strive to reduce the number needed, and seek to develop viable alternatives.

Public acceptance of the use of animals in research has been strong over the last decade. Public scrutiny has also played an essential role in building the world-leading ethical framework that supports our research and ensures it meets the highest welfare standards, only using animals where no alternative exists.

Confidence in our research rests on the scientific community embracing an open approach and taking part in an ongoing conversation about why and how animals are used in research and the benefits of this. We need to continue to develop open dialogue between the research community and the public.

We, the undersigned, commit to work together to establish a Concordat that will develop principles of openness,

It is fantastic to see institutions agreeing to do more to explain to the public why and how animal research is carried out. We, at Speaking of Research, hope that many more institutions get on board with this Concordat. With almost two thirds of the general public claiming to be poorly informed about animal research, it is important that science institutions do more to fill these gaps in public understanding, let animal rights groups attempt to plug the gap themselves (leading to many of the common myths of research being propagated). After all, the Ipsos-MORI poll shows very clearly that the better informed people are about the role played by animal research in medical science, the more likely they are to support it.

In the meantime Speaking of Research continue to play their part in informing people around the world about animal research. A major campaign at the moment is the Science Action Network, which we urge you to get involved in.