In my PhD work on societal views towards animal research, I’ve found that the area of cosmetics is often held up as an unambiguous example of the ethical limits of using animals in science, with cosmetic products and procedures providing an easy marker of where animal research is unnecessary and unjustifiable. Indeed, the use of animals for ‘cosmetic purposes’ is banned at both national and EU level (Directive 2010).
As part of a Wellcome Trust Secondment Fellowship with the RSPCA's Research Animals Department Dr Rich Gorman has spent the first half of 2020 exploring what a social science perspective might add to understanding the debates surrounding the biomedical use of horseshoe crabs. Read on to find out a little more about the results of this exciting research...
Plans to restart research in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing extraordinary attention to the intimate arrangements of indoor space. Geographer Gail Davies reflects on the changes being implemented to balance infection control with collaboration, drawing on her earlier work with artist Helen Scalway in making visible the qualities of space in science and the different values of those who inhabit them.
We are delighted to publish this guest blog as part of our Coronavirus Connections series. Bentley Crudgington invited Named Veterinary Surgeon, Lucy Whitfield, to share some reflections on caring at a distance as COVID changed the way staff work across Animal Research Facilities.
Vector is an interactive experience, which uses elements of performance, game, and integrated technology to open up dialogue about the ethical dilemmas of using animals as part of medical research. It was devised by the Animal Research Nexus creative facilitator Bentley Crudgington and the performance team at the Lab Collective. At its core is a story of developing a vaccine for an unfolding pandemic, in which members of the public weigh up the issues around using animals in research.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought everyone’s attention to the simple practice of hand-washing - when to do it, and how to do it well. Here are the NHS Guidelines and the advice to sing for two rounds of “Happy Birthday”. At this time, whether you are working from home, a laboratory, hospital or office, the current importance and relevance of this advice should escape no one.
Novel and innovative approaches for achieving good animal welfare are increasingly considered. The rehoming of laboratory animals represents one way in which attempts could be realised, as the registers of ethical concern about practising good animal welfare shift towards the case for rehoming. This blog discusses the findings of a paper which answers the call for research that explores the extent of laboratory animal rehoming practices at a national level.
The Covid-19 crisis has clearly had significant effects on animal research, including research in the field.
The report on the US Pharmacopeia’s decision to continue relying on the blood of wild-caught horseshoe crabs for safety testing pharmaceuticals (Crab blood to remain big pharma's standard as industry group rejects substitute) will come as a disappointment to many of those concerned about animal welfare and environmental sustainability. However, there is more hope to be found than The Guardian’s article might initially suggest.
This is one of a series of Animal Research Nexus blogs drawing on our current and past work to explore the human-animal and science-society entanglements in the Covid-19 pandemic. You can explore more using the tag #coronavirusconnections on our website and twitter.