Markets & Materials

Exploring the changing networks formed around the origins and fates of laboratory animals via in-depth interviews and ethnography.

There is increasing emphasis on the whole life of experimental animals, from new guidelines from funders and regulators on animal breeding and supply, to the encouragement of strain archiving and tissue sharing through biobanks, and to the rehoming of animals used in regulated procedures. At the same time, breeding has been a visible target for past anti-vivisectionist activity, with multiple attempts to disrupt and reduce the supply of experimental animals to the UK. This has not straightforwardly improved the life experiences of animals used in UK research, nor reduced numbers, instead often increasing imports of animals and overseas research. Altogether, these changes raise questions about the implications of these increasingly complex networks for efforts to protect animal welfare and for future scientific research.

This project therefore approaches the animal research nexus by exploring the changing networks formed around the origins and fates of laboratory animals through in-depth interviews and ethnographic methods.  We seek to map these evolving networks of animal breeding, supply, and rehoming and understand them within the cultural economies of doing different types of scientific research using animals. We will address questions about value, quality, assurance and welfare within animal supply chain practices.

This project is carried out by the team at the University of Southampton. If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact the Project Lead, Dr Emma Roe, or to direct specific questions about breeding, biobanking and supply to Dr Sara Peres or rehoming to Miss Tess Skidmore.

Relevant, tagged site content:

Announcements

This special issue aims to bring together work in the social science and humanities on the regulatory themes associated with animal research and knowledge production resulting from it, including but not limited to professionalisation, transparency

Publications

This poster introduces investigations into the implications of laboratory animal rehoming on stakeholders, ethical and regulatory issues, and the relations people have with animals both inside and outside of the laboratory space.

This poster discusses the management of animal numbers in our research examining the breeding, supply, and biobanking of lab animals within the economies of biomedical science.

Events

Where do lab mice come from? Where do they end up? Joins us for crafting felt mice to exchange or take home. You can also explore the history, practices, and ideas of care involved in making laboratory mice.

Where do lab mice come from? Where do they end up? Joins us for crafting felt mice to exchange or take home. You can also explore the history, practices, and ideas of care involved in making laboratory mice.

Join researchers from the University of Southampton for a family day suitable for all ages.

Project partners

Paul is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist, with an interest in nonhuman animals, performance and public engagement.

The Medical Research Council’s Mary Lyon Centre (MLC) is located on the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire.

Blog entry

Written by: Bentley Crudgington, Emma Roe, Sara Peres

There is no qualitative research into public understanding of the origins of research animals, which is a particular area of interest for the Markets and Materials strand.

Written by: Tess Skidmore

Understanding and examining the significance of the laboratory space physically, practically, emotionally and metaphorically, is opening up new lines of social scientific enquiry regarding the relations between health, science and welfare

Written by: Sara Peres

Our approach to research emphasises cross-project collaborations and transdisciplinary thinking. But what does this mean, in practical terms, for the work that we do and for our participants?