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Scientists share thoughts on animal research
An anonymous online poll of nearly 1700 researchers has revealed intriguing insights into scientists’ views on the use of animals in research.
The results of the poll, conducted by Nature, and published online this week, suggest that biomedical researchers have a range of opinions regarding the use of animals, but feel that pressure from the animal rights movement makes it hard to voice such opinions in public.
Researchers report an overall feeling that they do not receive encouragement or support from universities or institutions to talk about their animal research work with the public. Most said they had no ethical misgivings about the role of animals in their work but this was only as long as their work conformed to high ethical and welfare standards and where there was no alternative. But the fifth of researchers with misgivings spoke of conflicting feelings – for example while feeling uncomfortable with primate research also realizing that without it HIV vaccine candidates would be rarely brought to human trial.
This internet poll was not a rigorously defined survey, but an attempt to gauge opinion among Nature readers in the biosciences. The full text is available at www.nature.com/news
Contact for background information:
Claire Ainsworth (Journalist, Nature)
E-mail: [email protected]
Ruth Francis, Nature London
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