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.
I visited the Craft and Graft exhibition at the Crick Institute before its closure in early February. It was an interesting and well thought out exhibition, but here I don't intend to review it. Instead, below I share some thoughts on how technicians’ work is represented in the exhibition, and reflect on what is foregrounded - and what is not - when representing animal care as a form of craft.
The Animal Research Nexus team would like to recognise the ongoing work and care of everyone across the biomedical research, animal research, and health and public engagement communities today.
We are posting this statement to let people know we will be pausing all of our face-to-face research activities for the foreseeable future, including meetings, workshops, interviews, patient involvement, and public engagement activities. We will be reviewing this in the summer.
Over 175,000 rats are used in research and testing in the UK every year, with millions more used worldwide. Many of these are housed in cages that do not allow them to stand upright as adults. For example, the current Code of Practice to the UK 1986 Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act stipulates a minimum height of 20cm, but adult rats can rear to 30cm (see above).