How do researchers feel about research using animals?

Posted on February 25, 2011 by

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Nature has a really interesting feature this week looking at research using animals and exploring how researchers feel about attitudes towards them doing such research. They surveyed 980 biomedical scientists across the world, 70% of whom conducted experiments using animals, and explored their thoughts about doing this research, percieved attitudes towards them and the environment in their country of work, concerns etc.

In particular it highlights how much researchers consider the ethical issues of what they are doing and how this effects them. There’s an interesting quote from one:

“I consider these issues virtually daily,” wrote a US neuroscientist. “The day I stop considering these issues is the day I quit. I know few scientists who don’t feel similarly.”

Background

Research using animals is part of medical research. By law, new drugs and treatments must be tested on animals before being tested on humans in clinical trials.

Research using animals is tightly regulated in the UK. The EU has recently revised its Directive governing animal research across the EU. All member states will have to ensure these regulations are in their own law by 2012. Because the UK already has very robust regulation of animal research, these changes are likely to be less dramatic than in some other EU member states. The Home Office is likely to hold a consultation very soon on how to do this. They will then draw up draft legislation, with an aim to introduce and complete the legislative process in parliament by the summer recess of 2012.

Posted in: Policy