Speaking of Research and Understanding Animal Research (UAR) are proud to announce a new joint initiative – the Science Action Network. We aim to enable scientists to network together to provide both authority and public weight on discussions surrounding animal research.
The Science Action Network
Brushing your teeth – 25 minutes per week.
Queuing – 75 minutes per week.
Blinking – 5 hours per week.
Time taken to play your part in defending biomedical research – just 5 minutes every week, less time than it takes to refuel your car
Understanding Animal Research is setting up a new Science Action Network to encourage you to respond to misinformation about animal research.
Animal research remains a hot topic, with many spurious and misinformed claims made by animal rights groups and frequent mistakes made by journalists- such as claiming that animal testing could currently be replaced by alternative methods.
We need your help to provide accurate information about animal research – commenting on news articles, emailing misinformed editors and voting on polls – we want to make sure that those speaking for research are those who understand the research.
So we are asking you for just 5 minutes of your time each week to respond to claims made by animal rights groups. By following us on Twitter (@animalevidence) and Facebook (Understanding Animal Research) you can be updated on the latest misinformation alerts, as well as submitting your own by using the #ARnonsense (Animal Rights nonsense) hashtag on Twitter.
We look forward to working together with you in this campaign.
It is particularly important that you share this campaign with as many people as you can. Keep checking the #ARnonsense hashtag regularly (If you copy the link it will work for people who aren’t signed up to Twitter – alternatively use http://tinyurl.com/ARnonsense) and remember to use the hashtag yourself to alert the community to the misrepresentation of animal research.
Together we can start to push back the tide of animal rights nonsense. We fully recommend people using the information on both the SR and UAR websites in their efforts to debunk spurious animal rights claims and remember to use the “bad science” section of our website.
Speaking of Research &
Understanding Animal Research
Understanding Animal Research has produced a fantastic video (below) showing Geoff Butcher, a Parkinson’s patient, going to a medical research laboratory to discuss some of the latest animal research models used to treat his disease. Parkinson’s affects over 120,000 people in the UK, and over 1 million people in the US, with many millions more touched by its effects through friends and family.
When some drug users in California taking a synthetic heroin they started to develop Parkinsonsonian-like symptoms. Further studies showed the chemical MPTP was responsible for this. This discovery has allowed scientists to use MPTP to create a better model for Parkinson’s. The added advantage of this model is that it is non-progressive, the animals’ Parkinsononian symptoms do not get worse over time. In the video it is remarked:
Geoff: They (the marmosets) actually seem quite happy
Scientist: They do. We think it’s a very good model because the animals are actually able to maintain themselves without any drug treatment
This allows the scientists to try and develop treatments for Parkinson’s disease without needing to recreate the full suffering that exists within human Parkinson’s patients.
You can check out more similar videos on UAR’s animal evidence Youtube page.
Back in February I wrote about the prominent role of Zebrafish in the British Heart Foundation’s Mending Broken Hearts campaign, an initiative that not only highlighted fascinating developments in regenerative medicine but also the degree to which the public attitude towards animal research has shifted in the past decade.
One reason for the change in attitudes towards animal research in the UK has been an increasing willingness on the part of scientists to discuss their work with the public. Today I learned from our friends Understanding Animal Research (UAR) of a great example of what public engagement is all about, and once again zebrafish are the stars of the show. UAR have awarded their very first Wednesday Winner award to the The MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics at the University of Sheffield for their new Fish for Science website.
The Fish for Scence website provides an excellent introduction to the role of zebrafish in biomedical research, including – amongst many topics discussed – why they’re used , what diseases are studied, and the techniques used to study them. They also have links to resources where more detailed information about the role of model organisms, and in particular zebrafish, in biomedical research.
It’s a website that should serve as an inspiration to any research laboratory that is considering how to develop its program of outreach activities and improve the public understanding of science, and a worthy Wednesday Winner!
Posted in Campus Activism, News, Science News
Tagged Medical Research Council, MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics, outreach, Public understanding of science, UAR, understanding animal research, University of Sheffield, Wednesday Winner, zebrafish
I would like to share an old news debate on animal research between Simon Festing (Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research) and Nicky Gordon (Dr. Hadwen Trust):
There is much that can be learned from Simon’s interview technique.
- Have information on the benefits of animal research readily to hand – Simon looked ready to list 100’s of examples, bolstering his argument
- Use recent examples – such as Herceptin – prevents others accusing scientists of only looking to decades gone
- Interject if necessary, but keep it short – Simon’s counter-point at 2:25 effectively destroys Vicky’s argument
- Although “millions of people can’t be wrong” is not a good argument, pointing to the weight of expert scientific opinion behind animal research is!
Scientists and other university officials around the world are going to need to become more confident with talking about the benefits of animal research rather than using their limited time in the news condemning extremists. Condemning extremists is important – but it is made more effective by pointing to the damage they do to lifesaving medical science.