Archive for the ‘animal research’ Category

Animal research on BBC Radio 5 Live

December 4, 2012
Mice at a research facility

Mice at a research facility (credit: UAR)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I found out BBC Radio 5 Live were doing a 2-hour programme from an animal research facility in Oxford – they love a bit of controversy. I certainly didn’t think they’d feature a mouse being humanely killed live on air. Presenter Victoria Derbyshire got some great interviews with researchers and lab technicians, but some tired old cliches lived on, courtesy of Animal Aid. (more…)


Dave the Worm – getting creative with basic research

November 22, 2012

C. elegans – a worm like Dave

Have you met Dave the Worm? He’s the star of Parkinson’s UK‘s latest fundraising campaign, and I LOVE him. He’s cute and funny, but he also comes with a serious message about so-called ‘basic’ medical research and why it’s so important.

It’s quite hard to make basic research sound sexy, and even harder to be open and honest about animal research – but little Dave manages to do both. He’s a nematode worm – C. elegans to be precise – and researchers are using worms like him to understand more about Parkinson’s disease. (more…)

Time to shout about animal research?

October 2, 2012
Lab rat

Lab rat (credit: Understanding Animal Research)

Last week, the University of Leicester announced the opening of its new Central Research Facility. If you think this sounds like one of those rather boring press occasions with a ribbon to cut, then you’d be half right. But look closer – a surprise is lurking in the second paragraph of the press release. The Central Research Facility is actually a new building for animal research.

And amazingly, the University press office are shouting about it – good on them! Paragraph three gets straight to the point: ‘Medical research done at the University of Leicester involving animals has a direct relationship with the treatment of patients in hospitals locally and beyond.’ Yes, that’s right. Animal research saves lives. It shouldn’t be a newsflash, but for too many people this still isn’t common knowledge. And without more bold steps like this publicity, this fact will carry on being ignored. (more…)

Blocking the transport of research animals helps no-one

March 14, 2012
Lab mouse

A lab mouse (image by Rama)

Once again it looks like misinformation about the use of animals in research is triumphing over the facts. Otherwise it’s hard to explain why ferry companies and most airlines are refusing to bring lab animals into the UK for use in research. They’re under pressure from animal rights campaigners and I’m willing to bet they haven’t heard both sides of the story.

So I’m relieved some scientists and people who have benefited from animal research are speaking out. Blocking research in the UK, where legal protection for lab animals is the toughest in the world, will only move it overseas where regulations are less stringent. This approach could actually increase animal suffering rather than reducing it. (more…)

Drug companies are bad – especially when it fits the news agenda

December 5, 2011
NHS logo

NHS - powering research

As the Leveson inquiry into media ethics rumbles on, I have struck my own blow against made-up rubbish. Yes, I just about managed to avoid reading my friend’s copy of Closer magazine at the weekend – it’s one small step for Nell. I reckon Hello might still be allowed because they actually seem to interview celebrities rather than just make up quotes.

But on a more serious note, it will be very interesting to hear evidence at the inquiry about how shoddy reporting affects science. There was a great example of a health story being twisted to fit a particular agenda this weekend in the Telegraph, with the ever so balanced headline ‘Animal test firms given your NHS data’. (more…)