Tag Archives: standing up for science

SR at UCLA – April 6th 2010

Two days before the upcoming Pro-Test for Science rally, Tom Holder will address members of the UCLA community about the importance of standing together in support of lifesaving medical research.

The presentation will be held in the Gonda 1st Floor Conference Room on the UCLA Campus starting at noon on Tuesday April 6th 2010. I encourage you to tell your friends and colleagues – this is a perfect opportunity to discover ways in which you can help improve the public understanding about the role of animals in research.

Standing up for Science

Animal research has been a divisive issue for many years, however much of the problem lies with the public’s general mistrust of science. This mistrust is a reflection of the average person’s lack of understanding about how science works and the animal research issue is no exception. Many people are unable to see the connection between the animal experiments and the huge array of medical drugs that they take for granted. If we are to convince people to support scientific activities such as animal research then we need to be more active in explaining how it affects the lives and welfare of the public.

The scientific community in California and beyond must be ready to meet the challenge of a growing animal rights movement. Despite isolated incidents of violent activity, researchers must realise that the only way to reverse this trend is to put their head above the parapet and provide the public with the scientific argument for biomedical research. The UK provides a clear example of how the scientific community can bring the public onside and combat the rise in animal rights extremism – and there are signs of a similar movement within the US. From the scientists doing the research to the animal care technicians whose sole priority is the welfare of the animals, we need people in the industry to become advocates for science.

Regards

Speaking of Research

SR to speak at SSR Conference in Pittsburgh on 20th

SSR Heading

On Monday July 20th, Tom Holder will address the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) at their 42nd Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. Holder will speak as part of the President’s Symposium on “Reproductive Policy and the Public Good” alongside Mary Wooley President of Research!America and John Peterson Myers founder of Environmental Health News.

No doubt Tom will report back on the conference next week. For the time being I leave some food for thought in the form of his abstract:

Animal research has been a divisive issue for many years, however much of the problem lies with a general mistrust of science by the public. This mistrust itself reflects the average person’s lack of understanding about how science works and the animal research issue is no exception. Many people are unable to see the connection between the animal experiments and the huge array of medical drugs that most people take for granted. If we are to convince people to support scientific activities such as animal research then we need to be more active in explaining how it affects the lives and welfare of the public. In order to improve public understanding on this issue we need those who are involved to speak up and become advocates for science. From the scientists doing the research to the animal care technicians whose sole priority is the welfare of the animals, we need people in the industry to explain the unspun truth of what goes on in research facilities and why it’s so important to all of us. Speaking of Research engages the scientific community in order to assist them in explaining animal research. The focus on “science for the non-scientist” aims to help researchers to find the best way to present the issue to those who may not find themselves directly immersed in it in everyday life. The public in Britain has united behind medical research and beaten animal rights extremism. If the US is to do the same then its scientists must stand up and publicly defend their research.

Regards

David

Are you Pro-Test? Sign the Petition!!

Join over the hundreds of people (1400+ at time of writing) who have signed The Pro-Test Petition! This is a petition of scientists, students and the general public aims to show the world that the majority do support animal research – and moreover they dare stand up and sign their name to it. On April 22nd around 800 people stood up at UCLA in support of lifesaving medical research – now it’s up to you. Tell your friends, family and colleagues to go to:

www.raisingvoices.net

We the undersigned believe:

  1. That animal research has contributed and continues to contribute to major advances in the length and quality of our lives.  It remains vital to understanding basic biological processes and for the development of new treatments and therapies such as antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and cancer medicines.
  2. That animal research is morally justifiable provided animal welfare remains a high priority and no valid non-animal alternatives are available.
  3. That violence, intimidation and harassment of scientists and others involved in animal research is neither a legitimate means of protest, nor morally justified.
They're Pro-Test, Are You?

They’re Pro-Test, Are You?

This petition is a joint effort between  Speaking of Research, Americans for Medical Progress, and UCLA Pro-Test. This project was also motivated by the successful People’s Petition in the UK, set up by Coalition for Medical Progress (now called Understanding Animal Research) which gathered well over 20,000 signatures – including then Prime Minister, Tony Blair. In Blair’s letter to the Sunday Telegraph he wrote:

Announcing that I am to add my name to the on-line petition in support of animal testing … is something of a break with tradition – and a sign of just how important I believe it is that as many people as possible stand up against the tiny group of extremists threatening medical research and advances in this country.

With Barack Obama’s desire to increase funding in science, there has never been a better time for politicians to add their name to the Pro-Test Petition. If you do hold a particularly public post, or you a particularly eminent scientist (Nobel Prizes etc.) and you are willing to have your name highlighted in the petition – please contact us after signing.

I’ll finish with a quote from Obama:

At such a difficult moment, there are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science. That support for research is somehow a luxury at a moment defined by necessities. I fundamentally disagree. Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been. And if there was ever a day that reminded us of our shared stake in science and research, it’s today.

Never a truer word was spoken.

Cheers

Tom Holder

Speaking to the West Coast: A Review

I have now finished a five day speaking tour of research institutions on the West Coast. Here’s what happened.

Monday April 20th – I headed out to the University of Washington. My first engagement was a speaking slot on the Dave Ross radio show about the importance of research (Listen to the interview here). At midday I give a talk on “Standing up for Science” to grad students, scientists and animal welfare technicians – with many people asking for further information on how to go about actively standing up for research. Finally I was invited to speak to a large class of high school students, and offer them an insight into what happens inside labs, using actual photos and video clips of the inside of biomedical facilities.

I attended your talk on Monday and wanted to thank you for speaking with my students. Your sense of humor and knowledge really seemed to engage my students and I (and they) appreciate it.” – Danielle Thompson, Teacher.

Tuesday April 21st – Having flown across to Oakland the previous night, I prepared myself for a day at University of California, Berkeley. My main event of the day was a discussion with graduate and post docs, lasting a couple of hours and ending with some encouraging suggestions of individuals wanting to start Speaking of Research chapters at Berkeley.

Wednesday April 22nd – Another day, another airplane trip (the first one without a delay), and I arrived in Los Angeles. Heading straight over to UCLA I was given the opportunity to speak with scientists and animal care technicians – many, fed up with the tactics of animal rights activists who have plagued institutions like UCLA, causing animal-rights-related violence to escalate in the US.

Thursday/Friday 22nd/23rd – I arrived at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) during an animal rights demonstration. A grand total of 7 activists gathered to demonstrate against vivisection, whatever OHSU had been doing to address the animal rights issue was clearly working. Soon I discovered what it was – public outreach! OHSU, which also has one of the eight national primate research centers in the country, was actively addressing the animal research issue in the public domain. This was the first place I had visited which was taking such a positive approach, and it seemed to be paying off nicely.

I gave a handful of talks at both OHSU and the ONPRC (Oregon National Primate Research Center), all of which went down excellently with the scientists and technicians who were fed up with being vilified by local animal rights groups. One talk was filmed, and I hope to have the video up soon.

Overall the experience was refreshing. Some institutions were doing more than others to ensure information on the importance of medical research was available to the public, and these institutions were repeating the rewards. Scientists and students were certainly supportive of the aims of Speaking of Research, as well as the past actions of Pro-Test. I am thoroughly looking forward to my next speaking engagements (I will mention these in an update soon).

Cheers

Tom