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Science Action Network needs you!

Posted by on September 24, 2012

Mouse used in laboratory researchTom Holder works for Understanding Animal Research and is running a campaign to encourage scientists to respond to misinformation about animal research

Pop quiz:

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  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?

2 Responses to Science Action Network needs you!

  1. Wendi

    I commend you for standing up to fight against the humanity and the advancement of the human condition. A voice of reason must speak up in the see of superstition and emotional distortion of vital issues. Animal research is vital. The misinformation campaign must be addressed. I spent my morning responding to articles in favor of research testing.

  2. David Jentsch

    It’s important for scientists to realize that active engagement and advocacy must go beyond defending one’s latest hypothesis in front of other scientists and arguing for increased government investment in science. Animal rights activists and other science deniers are eroding the public fabric of support for science with nothing other than rumor, innuendo and blatantly untrue statements. It is worth a few minutes of all of our time to defend the scientific community against these assaults.