Tom Holder works for Understanding Animal Research and is running a campaign to encourage scientists to respond to misinformation about animal research
Question: An animal rights group accuses researchers of cruel practises in animal labs, further pointing out that it could all be done on computers anyway. Is this True or False? The correct response is:
(a) “ … *remains quiet* …”
(b) “no comment”
(c) “In line with the 3Rs, researchers must and do use alternative methods wherever they exist, however limits to technology mean that a small amount of vital research can only be done through the careful use of animals. Computers are used to complement this process, but without fully understanding the biological processes at work we cannot hope to replicate them outside of a complex living system. Thanks to animal research life expectancy continues to rise with developments including Herceptin (breast cancer), HPV vaccine (cervical cancer) and Deep Brain Stimulation (Parkinson’s) to name just a few.”
Spurious claims by animal rights groups are scattered widely across the internet, and yet researchers often respond with answer (a) instead of (c). We challenge scientists and researchers to spend just 5 minutes per week to respond to such animal rights propaganda.
Using the hashtag #ARnonsense in conjunction with our Twitter (@animalevidence) and Facebook (Understanding Animal Research) accounts we will provide regular updates linking scientists to internet and newspaper articles where comments from researchers would help to combat misinformation by opponents of animal research. We feel it is vital that those who are speaking for animal research are those who best understand it.
Not a twitter user, you can still find things to debunk by checking www.tinyurl.com/ARnonsense and then following the links.
Can we make a difference?
Already we’ve swung polls from 50% to 85% in favour. We’ve helped to direct extra comments about the benefits of animal research on to dozens of news articles and letters which were previously only being commented on by animal rights activists. We are starting to change the dynamic of the internet debate on animal research.
Our friends at Speaking of Research wrote an article on why we must respond to this internet activism that is definitely worth reading – they have also been tweeting #ARnonsense from their account @SpeakofResearch.
So I leave you with one question. What have you done this week to challenge the misinformation about animal research?