Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

One step forward, two steps back

Posted by stevepog on 4 November, 2009

I’m reposting an article sent to me by the Americans for Medical Progress (AMP), who essentially fight for equal rights for scientists in the animal research debate (previously mentioned on our blog) which is often dominated by PETA  and headline-grabbing extremist groups. AMP, like their UK cousins Understanding Animal Research and Pro-Test, face difficulties even when a newspaper appears to support their cause, as this example showed:


The Minneapolis Star Tribune has just posted to its website a feature on animal research that ran in the paper’s lifestyle section last Sunday.  The piece notes an erosion of public opinion in support of research, and cites some of the several efforts by the research community to reverse the trend, including the Research Saves campaign.

“One of the problems we have nationally is that people don’t see the connection between science and biomedical research and progress,” said Mayo Clinic research dean Dr. Michael Joyner. “Things like heart valves and statins wouldn’t be here without animal research.”

In the article, AMP Director Dick Bianco, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota, discusses his own outreach:  “I realized PETA was effective in the high schools, so I bring high school students to my lab. I’ve had almost 10,000 high school students through to see what a medical laboratory really is. I let them see the animals. These aren’t dungeon chambers.”

The article is printed below and may be found at http://bit.ly/2zvo4O.

You’ll see that the piece is flawed in many ways, such as leaving the impression that PETA decries violence by animal extremists (unlike HSUS, PETA’s leaders have refused to condemn such), and that only animal rights groups care about alternatives.  Nevertheless, it does bring the issue to public attention.  The Star-Tribune seeks  readers’ comments, and it is a fair assumption that animal rights advocates will be vocal.  Please consider leaving your own comment in support of research.

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